Best Of: Songs from the Street

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Murray McLauchlan is a Canadian songwriter who has been recording since 1971, and is a contemporary of Bruce Cockburn's without the Christian or political trappings. That's not a knock on Cockburn, it's just that the two have been labelmates since the beginning (True North), and Cockburn has gotten the lion's share of attention by far. This double-disc, 36-cut retrospective reveals the truth of the matter: Murray McLauchlan is a genius, a treasure, a writer of such uncommon wealth and literacy, bare bones life experience, and storyteller's drama, that he is in the class that belongs to Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cisco Houston, or Tom T. Hall -- though he doesn't ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Murray McLauchlan is a Canadian songwriter who has been recording since 1971, and is a contemporary of Bruce Cockburn's without the Christian or political trappings. That's not a knock on Cockburn, it's just that the two have been labelmates since the beginning (True North), and Cockburn has gotten the lion's share of attention by far. This double-disc, 36-cut retrospective reveals the truth of the matter: Murray McLauchlan is a genius, a treasure, a writer of such uncommon wealth and literacy, bare bones life experience, and storyteller's drama, that he is in the class that belongs to Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cisco Houston, or Tom T. Hall -- though he doesn't sound remotely like any of them, and doesn't even play country music. McLauchlan is more of an acquired taste, but he's also far more diverse. He has been able to do it all, as evidenced by this excellent collection of tracks issued between 1971-2005. McLauchlan is his own hybrid of the very best: Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon, and a young and angry Billy Joel who has Loudon Wainwright's wit. Add to this the droll cool of Paul Simon and you begin to get the picture, but it's a shifting one, mercurial, because McLauchlan is his own guy, and the referents used here are merely for the purpose of illuminating a potential listener: check the song samples! The bottom line is that McLauchlan never spent a ton of money on the production of his records. They are all immediate, full of the ambience of the studio, and they communicate very directly. His reedy voice is obsessed with the tunes he writes and he writes about it all: living on the street, desolation, drunken joy, money, class, travel, rather quirky love songs, the whole bit. But the bottom line is this: he is one of those guys who is so utterly deserving of being noticed he needs his very own Devendra Banhart persona to hold his records up to the crowds of kids and say, "Hey, check this guy out; he's awesome!" It worked for Vashti Bunyan, but McLauchlan may be a little closer to the street in his language and attitude, not so hippy-dippy and more a harsh reality. But he's not dour, not even desolate when the songs are; in fact, his music, as this amazing collection suggests, is so full of the absolute marrow of life that it's impossible not to be completely taken with his work once you encounter it. There is no point going into any of the individual tracks on this collection because they're all good, and his cover version of "Carmelita" by Zevon is the best version on the shelf. Period. Anybody who appreciates great songwriters needs to dig into this man's work -- and if you like vinyl, head to your local dirty hands budget bin because most of his '70s albums can be found there on wax. If anyone is due for rediscovery it's Murray McLauchlan, and this collection, if anyone ever gets to hear it, is the evidence.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/16/2007
  • Label: True North
  • UPC: 620638050026
  • Catalog Number: 500
  • Sales rank: 80,187

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Murray McLauchlan Primary Artist, Organ, Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Electric Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Bottleneck Guitar
Bruce Cockburn Guitar, Background Vocals
The Jordanaires Background Vocals
Warren Bernhardt Keyboards
Bill Champlin Vocals
Lloyd Green Pedal Steel Guitar
Eric Weissberg Mandolin
Patrick Godfrey Piano
Barney Bentall Background Vocals
Jorn Andersen Percussion, Drums, Vocals
Adele Armin Strings
Paul Armin Strings
Richard Armin Strings
Al Cross Drums
Ron Dann Dobro, Pedal Steel Guitar
Bob Disalle Drums
Maxine Dixon Vocals
Bob Ezrin Percussion, Conductor, Keyboards, Vocals
Bernie Finkelstein Background Vocals
Barry Flast Piano
Peter Follet Guitar, Electric Guitar
Danny Greenspoon Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals, 6-string bass
Allan "Jake" Jacobs Background Vocals
Neil Jason Bass, Vocals
Kit Johnson Bass, 6-string bass, 5-string Bass
Barry Keane Percussion, Drums
Raun MacKinnon Background Vocals
Gene Martynec Guitar
Mike McKenna Guitar, Slide Guitar
Ben Mink Fiddle, Mandolin, Violin, Viola, Background Vocals, Mandola
Andy Newmark Percussion, Drums
Chris Parker Drums
Dennis Pendrith Bass, Harmony
Colina Phillips Background Vocals
Carole Pope Vocals
Paul Prestopino Dobro
Catherine Smith Harmony
Ollie Strong Pedal Steel Guitar
Jay Telfer Drums
Terry Wilkins Bass, Background Vocals
William Richards Strings
Cameron Wilson Violin
Richard Kollgore Drums
Larry Kraman Synthesizer
Jaak Liivoja Strings
Finn Manniche Cello
Harry Skura Strings
Charlie Hayward Bass
Chris Skene Background Vocals
Shawne Jackson Vocals, Background Vocals
Angelique Toews Violin
Bucky Berger Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Sharon Lee Williams Vocals, Background Vocals
Kathleen Whelan Background Vocals
Eric Robertson Organ, Piano
Tom Wilson Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Murray McLauchlan Arranger, Composer, Producer
Barney Bentall Producer
Rick Hart Engineer, Remixing
Roy Cicala Engineer
Frank Davies Executive Producer
Jack Douglas Engineer
Bob Ezrin Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Remixing
Dennis Ferrante Engineer
Bernie Finkelstein Producer
Tom Flye Engineer
Ed Freeman Producer
Ken Friesen Engineer
Allan MacMillan Arranger, Orchestration
Gene Martynec Producer
Rick McCollister Engineer
David McKinley Engineer
Jay Messina Engineer
Colin Nairne Producer
John Naslen Engineer
Bill Seddon Engineer
Warren Zevon Composer
Ron Hynes Composer
Finn Manniche Arranger, String Conductor
John Rosenthal Engineer, Remixing
Henry Saskowski Engineer
Nicholas Jennings Liner Notes
Vezi Tayyeb Engineer
Chris Skene Engineer
Pete Wonsiak Engineer
Alan Rhody Composer
Eric Robertson String Arrangements
Tom Wilson Composer
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