By the time this CD reached my desk, Molly And Tenbrooks were no more. Two of the members had departed, and the remnants reconstituted themselves as the Brown’s Mountain Boys. Let this, then, be a review-in-memorium.
Molly And Tenbrooks came from Spokane, Wash., and featured vocalist/banjoist/guitarist Kelly Bogan, mandolinist/guitarist/vocalist Dan Gore, bassist Mark Harding, guitarist Bret Emry, and vocalist/guitarist Dannie Lynn Plummer. For this project, Bogan, Plummer, and Gore wrote all the material; 12 songs and one instrumental. That’s always a tall order for any band and, in this case, the results were mixed.
Mostly, where this comes up a bit short is on the faster numbers. None of that is attributable to the instrumental work, lead, or backing. That holds up well throughout the record in general. Drive, bounce, lilt, melody—they achieve all of that pretty well. It’s the writing, specifically the way the lyrics scan, that fails them at times. On Dan Gore’s title opener, for example, you can hear occasional lapses in the way the syllables are jammed in or stretched. That makes for awkward listening.
On the slower tunes, that doesn’t happen and, among them, you find some really good songs. “Juney Whank” is a medium fiddle tune reminiscent to “Old Man At The Mill.” The beautiful, slow country of Bogan’s “Some Kind Of Fool” captivates with a wistful, sentimental quality, and he gives it a smooth lead recalling Eddy Arnold. The Civil War tune “In April Of Sixty-Five” is also good, mixing in period lyricism, a slight martial feel, and even snaredrum. “Mama Hung The Moon” and “The Loyal Rebel Rose” with its hints at “Red River Valley” are also very good. All of these, along with a couple others are well-presented and tautly-written, making this a good final testament to the band Molly And Tenbrooks. (Woodsong Records, 1301 W. 14th Ave., Spokane, WA 99204.)BW