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Mockingbird
     

Mockingbird

4.2 5
by Allison Moorer
 

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On this tribute to female songwriters, Allison Moorer's self-penned title song, rich in strings, southern soul, and a sultry Jim Hoke sax solo, is arguably the best song of all. Singing in her most provocative, smoky southern drawl, Moorer knocks it out of the park. Produced by Buddy Miller, Mockingbird has atmosphere to burn, with shifting, swirling

Overview

On this tribute to female songwriters, Allison Moorer's self-penned title song, rich in strings, southern soul, and a sultry Jim Hoke sax solo, is arguably the best song of all. Singing in her most provocative, smoky southern drawl, Moorer knocks it out of the park. Produced by Buddy Miller, Mockingbird has atmosphere to burn, with shifting, swirling instrumental textures, discreet electronics, and an admirably judicious use of strings to wring that extra bit of smoldering sensuality out of, say, "Ring of Fire" or to enhance the winsome mood Moorer adopts in reinvigorating Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now." Other tunes demand a tougher approach, and the surefire band stomps out a gripping rendition of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot," as Moorer digs into the lyrics. Hubby Steve Earle, on electric guitar, leads a low-down, gutbucket foray into the raw blues of Ma Rainey's brutal kiss-off tune "Daddy, Goodbye Blues," on which Moorer delivers a swaggering, blustery vocal incantation summoning the spirit of a woman scorned but hanging on to a thread of hope. Another blues, Nina Simone's "A Little Sugar in My Bowl," which appropriates the melody and lyrical contours of a like-titled Bessie Smith number, is dressed up in the rich colors emanating from a small electric combo featuring a B3 organ. And how not to take note of Moorer's moody, hesitant reading of a stark, acoustic-based take on big sister Shelby Lynne's devastating chronicle of an inert life, "She Knows Where She Goes"? Less in the way of Moorer originals has not produced lesser Moorer. Mockingbird is a winner.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Allison Moorer's Mockingbird was released a mere two weeks after her sister Shelby Lynne's Just a Little Lovin', a Dusty Springfield covers tribute. Moorer's album is a natural sounding set of covers that runs the gamut from rock and barrelhouse blues, to jazz, country, and traditional and indie folk. Mockingbird was produced by Buddy Miller and includes a stellar cast of players including husband Steve Earle, Richard Bennett, Julie Miller, Darrell Scott, Tammy Rogers, Tim O'Brien, and Phil Madeira. It feels organic. The set opens with the title cut, the only original. It's a breezy acoustic ballad with warmly layered guitars, a brushed snare, a hi-hat, a B-3, and the Nashville String Machine ensemble. The cut shifts midway and becomes a graceful pop tune kissed by R&B, courtesy of Jim Hoke's tough tenor sax solo. June Carter's "Ring of Fire" is in a very slow 4/4 with violin, viola, and B-3 walking alongside the singer as she lets her voice just ring out over the top. The reading of Patti Smith's "Dancin' Barefoot" has to be heard to be believed. It's a contender for best track on the set. Moorer's enunciation captures what is at the heart of Smith's song, expressing a powerful desire as it surrenders to raw need. The lyrics walk a knife's edge as the singer observes herself in both first and third person. It's awash in blazing electric guitars, tambourines, cymbals, popping drums and organ; they wash through it all violently, yet reflect the lyrics perfectly. Moorer's take on Nina Simone's "Sugar in My Bowl" is a bluesier one. She can sing anything; her voice sways, swings, and swoops through acoustic guitars, bluesed out keyboards, and whispering drums. It's wonderful to hear Kate McGarrigle's "Go Leave" again, especially given this spare, reverential treatment. It will hopefully create in listeners the desire to investigate the McGarrigle Sisters' own records. Moorer's voice simply allows the song to have its way; she follows its turns with rapt attention. A New Orleans style bass drum, mandolin, Earle's nasty guitar, and a vintage microphone displace time on Ma Rainey's "Daddy Goodbye Blues." Of the remaining tracks, Moorer's interpretation of Julie Miller's "Orphan Train" takes us down a moving path: her father killed Moorer's mother and himself, in front of her and Lynne. Lynne's stirring "She Knows Where She Goes," precedes it. Together they reflect the deliberately forgotten, topically tragic side of the American country tradition -- Nashville is just plain afraid of songs like this. The album nears its end with Chan Marshall's simple yet deeply moving "Where Is My Love," especially as a follow-up to the aforementioned cuts. It feels as if it's sung by a survivor; an empty handed, full-hearted hero who paid the price and has little but loneliness to show for it. When Moorer, Buddy Miller, and company bring it to close with Jessi Colter's lusty "I'm Looking for Blue Eyes," it's as if the circle that began with "Mockingbird" is complete. Moorer, who has followed a restless career path through the wiles of Nashville's machine and lived to tell about it, ups her own ante here both creatively and emotionally. It is her warmest, most ambitious, and gutsy record yet.
Harp Magazine
In almost every case Moorer manages to bring something to the song (her stunning, soulful voice, to start with) while serving the spirit of the original.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/19/2008
Label:
Watertower Music
UPC:
0794043910623
catalogNumber:
39106

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Allison Moorer   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Steve Earle   Electric Guitar
Phil Madeira   Accordion,Keyboards
Mike Compton   Mandolin
Richard Rodney Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Julie Miller   Vocals
Richard Bennett   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Connie Ellisor   Violin
Jim Grosjean   Viola
Jim Hoke   Saxophone
Kenny Malone   Percussion,Drums
Ann McCrary   Vocals
Buddy Miller   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Glockenspiel,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Nashville String Machine   Track Performer
Tim O'Brien   Banjo
Russ Pahl   Steel Guitar
Tammy Rogers   Fiddle
Darrell Scott   Bouzouki,Bazouki
Pamela Sixfin   Violin
Chris Donohue   Bass,Bass Guitar
Chris Carmichael   Strings
Bryan Owings   Drums
John Deaderick   Keyboards
Carole Rabinowitz-Neuen   Cello
Regina McCrary   Vocals
Neil Rosengarden   Trumpet

Technical Credits

Shelby Lynne   Composer
Nina Simone   Composer
Joni Mitchell   Composer
Jessi Colter   Composer
Julie Miller   Composer
Bill Bottrell   Composer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Jay Dee Daugherty   Composer
Danny Goldberg   Management
Tom Howard   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Ivan Král   Composer
Buddy Miller   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production,Master Chorister
Mike Poole   Engineer
Patti Smith   Composer
Gillian Welch   Composer
Kate McGarrigle   Composer
Chris Carmichael   String Arrangements
Merle Kilgore   Composer
Cole Gerst   Artwork
David Rawlings   Composer
Chan Marshall   Composer
Allison Moorer   Composer,Programming
Jesse Bauer   Management
Frank Riley   Booking

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Mockingbird 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a surprising mix of songs new to me and some old favorites (Both Sides Now). Her voice is smooth and velvety, and the album is very intimate. It's a bit bluesy and a bit folksy. Good listening! You can also preview songs on her website.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great voice. Sings with conviction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Allison Moorer proves on "Mockingbird" that she is every woman. With a voice that has the unusual ability to mix powerhouse voice, with soulful stirrings and sweet melodies, she collaborates with other superstar females to cover a multitude of musical genres. Whether it be soul, folk, punk, country or rock, Allison Moorer sings it beautifully. Listening to this album, you understand that the female experience, just like women themselves, are multifaceted, deep and resounding. Amazingly, Allison Moorer has been able to represent all facets of being female in a way that is universal to all people: men and women, young and old, rockers and country fans. Her critically acclaimed talent is evident on each and every song on this album. She does an amazing cover of "Ring of Fire" by Merle Kilgore and June Carter Cash, to a lovely rendition of Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell. Each and every song will leave you with wanting Moorer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Allison Moorer is no stranger to the country scene, but this is the first album I've picked up of hers. MOCKINGBIRD is one impulse purchase I'm highly satisfied with! The tracks on this album are more than country - displaying a wide range of vocals and more than a little soul. Allison's voice is soothing, sultry, and mesmerizing... and now a new fav of mine. "Mockingbird" (Allison's original) and "Both Sides Now" (a cover remake) are my choice selections, but the album in it's entirity makes for a great listen. "Ring of Fire" (a cover remake) takes a little getting used to if you are a Johnny Cash/June Carter fan (as I am)but with the powerful and refreshing vocals Allison lends to the song, you'll easily be won over. I have Allison's back albums on order and I'm looking forward to her next release. This is country as it should be!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago