# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Amy Allison - No Frills Friend

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 3 / 9 / 2003

Amy Allison - No Frills Friend
Label: Spit And Polish
Format: CD


Versatile genre-hopping third album from Amy Allison, daughter of jazz/blues legend Mose Allison

Being the daughter of jazz/blues legend Mose Allison one could be forgiven for thinking that Amy Allison would naturally make music which could also be loosely grouped into that genre. It couldn’t be further from the truth. This is the Long Island raised singer/songwriter's third solo release following on from 1996’s ‘The Maudlin Years’ and ‘Sad Girl’ from 2001. There have also been two releases as a member of Parlor James with Lone Justice member Ryan Hedgecock but it is still just as difficult to pin Amy’s music down into a particular genre. To many the easy way out is to put Amy in the classic country bracket. Laura Cantrell covered Amy’s ‘The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter’ on her debut ‘Not The Tremblin’ Kind’, which bears this out. Then there are the vocals she contributed to Neal Casal’s ‘Basement Dreams’ (along with the aforementioned Ryan Hedgecock) which also reinforce the country connection. And, yes, her voice is an acquired taste; much in the same way Victoria Williams and Iris DeMent are. So the country tag would seem to suit the music of Amy Allison. But then we would miss out on the Spectorish girl group sound of the third track on this album, ‘Baby, You’re The One’ or the pure pop sound she makes on ‘Hell To Pay’ and that’s without mentioning the 60's soul feel of ‘Don’t String Me Along’. No, the music of Amy Allison can’t be easily defined. This collection was produced at East Kilbride Arts Centre in Scotland by the Pearlfishers' David Scott who also sings a duet with Amy on the last track on the album, ’Moonlight On The Mountains’. Together they have produced an album that doesn’t have a dud track on it. All 13 originals are strong. All have gorgeous memorable melodies coupled with Amy’s sharp and often witty lyrics. Some could be from some long forgotten country classic; "Thank God for the wine that loosened up his tongue so he could say the words I longed to hear" from ‘Thank God For The Wine’ for example. Then there’s ‘Completely Yours’ a heartbreaking plea to a lover letting him know that she has finally found the courage to walk out on her partner so she can spend more than "a few stolen moments, an hour or two" with the one she really loves. Everyone can relate to Amy’s lyrics. That’s the appeal of them. She has the talent to load simple lines like “Baby, you’re the one I’m thinking of’ with a mixture of soul and passion much like Ronnie Spector used to. “It’s a myth that love is all around, heaven knows it’s easier lost than found” sings Amy on ‘Dreaming’s Killing Me’, another stunning melody and another song recalling the classic girl group sound of past times. It’s good to read the lyrics to these songs. There is nothing particularly clever about them, but anyone who has loved, lost but still has hope for the future will find much to appreciate here. Elvis Costello listed one of Amy’s previous albums as “one of the top 500 records of all time”. With this latest release Amy must have made it into the first 100.

Track Listing:-
1 What's the Deal?
2 No Frills Friend
3 Baby, You're the One
4 Hell to Pay
5 Pretty Things to Buy
6 Don't String Me Along
7 Say It Isn't So
8 Dreaming's Killing Me
9 Thank God for the Wine
10 Beautiful Night
11 Completely Yours
12 Hanging On a Moment
13 Moonlight On the Mountains

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