Robin & Linda Williams,
Visions of Love
(Sugar Hill, 2002)

Recent trends in folk and country music have resulted in some wonderful CDs from artists exploring their musical roots. One good example is Visions of Love from Robin and Linda Williams. Based in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the couple's beautiful vocal harmonies have been a regular feature on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion radio show since the mid '70s. He approached them with the idea of producing a CD of old songs that they have loved, but never recorded. The result is a delightful collection of 13 old-time country, folk and gospel tunes.

Visions of Love opens with "I'll Twine Mid The Ringlets," which is better known as "Wildwood Flower " by the Carter Family. The CD's title comes from the last verse of the song. "After the Fire Is Gone" is a nice remake of the classic Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn duet. The Louvin Brothers' "You're Running Wild" is from the country tradition of songs about love gone wrong. Hank Williams "Ramblin' Man" and "The Blues Come Around" and Jimmie Rogers "Mississippi Delta Blues" are from the more traditional side of country music.

Merle Haggard's "Hungry Eyes," a song about hard life, and "Keep The Home Fires Burning" feature some especially beautiful vocals by Linda. "Wash Me In Thy Precious Blood" is a nice arraignment of the traditional bluegrass gospel song. The CD closes with Bruce Springsteen's "If I Should Fall Behind," a beautiful love song that fits in nicely with the rest if the songs even though it is much newer than the other selections.

The sparse arrangements and acoustic music featuring guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, piano and bass, along with strong vocal harmonies, give this CD a nice, traditional sound.

Robin and Linda perform a wonderful live show. Their love of country music is very evident on this CD as well.

[ by Dave Townsend ]
Rambles: 11 May 2002

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