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David Wolfenberger | World Of The Satisfy'n Place (Blue Jordan)
Despite possessing the sartorial suss of Hawkwind and face furniture to give Skip Battin nightmares, David Wolfenberger does have other things going for him. His voice, for example. Equal parts Neil Young, Todd Rundgren and Boz Scaggs, it is expressive, and exhibits subtle rasp or trill wherever necessary. Also, though related in simple language, the lyrics are drawn from areas of experience and concern not often encountered, even in the deliciously misery drenched world of country. I can't recall, for example, too many songs about the premature birth and subsequent early death of a baby girl, as in Fairfax Girl (The Price of Life). Although written as third party, the sleevenotes hint that this is of personal history, making this particular song a pretty disquieting listen. And it's not too often that you hear a song about the treatment by their own government of the survivors of the Bataan Death March. Unless recorded by Rick Wakeman, I'm a sucker for songs based on historical events, so the musically dreamy Halfway 'Round The World pulled me straight in. Even Jeffrey Dahmer's crimes and violent demise are addressed in the stunning what-goes-around-comes-around morality tale of The Blade It Cuts Both Ways. A wonderful country-rock ensemble piece, it's reminiscent of the finest moments of Poco or The Pure Prairie League. 'Til April's Gone and Bury Me At Ivesdale round off the best of this collection of pleasant American country-pop noise, perhaps best appreciated by those that enjoy the ilk of Map Of Wyoming. The former - another anti-war ditty - has a wondrous vocal of understated emotional punch, and the lively opening latter - a contemplation on childhood - manages to include the word sewage three times. So, top marks for that. Most satisfy'n.

Tom Sheriff
May-June 2002