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The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
It's a challenge to summarize Mary Chapin Carpenter's deep catalogue on one disc, but this Essential release does a fine job of surveying the impressive range and sophistication of the singer-songwriter's music over the past decade-plus. Oddly, the disc bypasses Carpenter's debut album, Hometown Girl, and includes only one song from her stunning sophomore effort, State of the Heart -- a jangly cover of "Quittin' Time," which for emotional insight, brutal honesty, and tunefulness is of a piece with her own work anyway. Otherwise, Essential offers one formidable performance, one penetrating lyric after another, mostly dealing with the yin-yang of relationships. Highlights ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
It's a challenge to summarize Mary Chapin Carpenter's deep catalogue on one disc, but this Essential release does a fine job of surveying the impressive range and sophistication of the singer-songwriter's music over the past decade-plus. Oddly, the disc bypasses Carpenter's debut album, Hometown Girl, and includes only one song from her stunning sophomore effort, State of the Heart -- a jangly cover of "Quittin' Time," which for emotional insight, brutal honesty, and tunefulness is of a piece with her own work anyway. Otherwise, Essential offers one formidable performance, one penetrating lyric after another, mostly dealing with the yin-yang of relationships. Highlights are many, due to Carpenter's stylistic diversity. The scabrous rocker "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" delineates a woman's spirit being snuffed out in a stifling marriage to a doltish hubby, while the steady, mid-tempo "The Hard Way" is an impassioned plea to a lover to stay connected through the tough times. Also of note is Carpenter's classic, driving take on Lucinda Williams's "Passionate Kisses," as well as saucy good-time numbers, such as "I Feel Lucky" and the Cajun-flavored workout "Down at the Twist and Shout," enlivened by the contributions of BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet. And bringing us to the present are two gems from Carpenter's most recent album, Time*Sex*Love: "The Long Way Home," a brutal screed detailing lives trapped in a limbo of predictability, and "Late for Your Life," a quiet, largely acoustic meditation on believing in chance and faith. Essential provides meaty texts and great music, though it's but a taste of this impressive artist's ongoing work.
All Music Guide - Campbell
The Essential Mary Chapin Carpenter takes hits from six albums she recorded for Columbia, omitting material from her first album, Hometown Girl. Since the majority of these songs appealed to both pop and country audiences, they achieved wide crossover popularity. The 16 cuts include the original versions of Carpenter's Top Ten hits "I Feel Lucky," "Passionate Kisses," "Down at the Twist and Shout," "Quittin' Time," and her first number one hit, "He Thinks He'll Keep Her." While the majority of these tracks are also included on Party Doll and Other Favorites, the difference is Essential contains the radio versions, not alternate takes or live tracks. Both discs are recommended to fans of Carpenter's modern folk/country hybrid.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/4/2003
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969077221
  • Catalog Number: 90772
  • Sales rank: 12,158

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mary Chapin Carpenter Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals
Michael Doucet Fiddle, Yells
Beth Nielsen Chapman Background Vocals
Lee Roy Parnell Slide Guitar
Trisha Yearwood Background Vocals
Edgar Meyer Double Bass
Shawn Colvin Background Vocals
Don Dixon Bass
John Jorgenson Guitar
Matt Rollings Organ, Piano
Bob Sheppard Soprano Saxophone, Soloist
Cindy Walker Background Vocals
Duke Levine Electric Guitar
John McCutcheon Hammered Dulcimer
Jimmy Breaux Accordion, Yells
Ava Aldridge Background Vocals
Kenny Aronoff Drums
Benmont Tench Piano, Hammond Organ
Peter Bonta Acoustic Guitar, Piano
J.T. Brown Bass, Background Vocals
Pat Buchanan Electric Guitar
Denny Dadmun-Bixby Bass
Bob Glaub Bass
John Jarvis Piano
John Jennings Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Electric Guitar, Tambourine, Background Vocals, cowbell, Yells, Guitar (Baritone)
Robbie Magruder Percussion, Drums
Dave Mattacks Percussion, Drums
Mike McAdam Electric Guitar
Greg Morrow Drums
Steve Nathan Piano, Hammond Organ
Andy Newmark Drums
Mark O'Connor Fiddle
Herb Pedersen Background Vocals
Rico Petrucelli Bass
Amy Ray Background Vocals
Michael Rhodes Bass
Tom Roady Percussion
Emily Saliers Background Vocals
Steuart Smith Electric Guitar
Glenn Worf Bass, Clevenger Bass
Jon Carroll Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Hammond Organ, Background Vocals
Annie Roboff Background Vocals
Garrison Starr Background Vocals
John Carroll Piano
Kenneth Kugler Conductor
Technical Credits
Beth Nielsen Chapman Composer
Mark Isham Arranger, Producer, Orchestration, Orchestra Production
Lucinda Williams Composer
Mary Chapin Carpenter Composer, Producer
Blake Chancey Producer
John Jennings Producer, Vocal Producer
Roger Linn Composer
Robb Royer Composer
Jay Orr Liner Notes
Annie Roboff Composer
Vic Anesini Mastering
Tracy Baskette-Fleaner Art Direction
Don Schlitz Composer
Andy Spooner Composer
Traditional Composer
Kenneth Kugler Orchestration
William Lehner Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Mary Chapin Carpenter

    My wife really likes this c.d.; she listens in her car regularly and seems to never tire of hearing these great songs.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews