Carolyn Mark, The Queen of Vancouver Island – If you don’t know Ms. Mark’s music, you really should. She’s a charismatic Canadian country artist with an obvious sense of humor, as shown in such titles as “The Cereal Is the Prize” and “You’re Not a Whore (If No One’s Paying).” And yes, the song do live up to their titles, the former being (in Mark’s own words) a “philosophical swing tune,” while the latter features a gargling solo. That’s not to say that the whole album is jokey, but the humor does stand out for me. In addition, the title track is really catchy with its “sha-la-la” backing vocals and harmonica, while “Nobody(‘s Perfect)” uses the old trick of treating Nobody as an individual. I like the guitar on “Baby Goats” and the spoken bit in “Not Talk.” Also worthy of note is the Elvis cover “Flaming Star,” which Beth says makes sense as she always heard an Elvis quality in Carolyn’s voice.
Another album I picked up recently is Robyn Hitchcock’s Love from London, which I have to admit hasn’t really grabbed me yet. It’s not bad, and there are some clever lyrics I quite like, but it’s not instantly engaging like some of Robyn’s other work. I guess when you’re as prolific as he is, not everything is going to be a winner. Still, this album does seem to be growing on me. The second song, “Be Still,” is easily my favorite, and I like the cello part on it.