Any CD whose two opening lines are – I wanna take you away from all this madness, I wanna take you away from all this crap – has to be a fun feast. And Malcolm McKinney’s BALANCING THE WEIGHT OF LIFE is an egg breaking romp through the kitchen of life. Now some of you know I already reviewed Malcolm a few weeks back, but his GHOSTS OF FLAGLER’S TRAIN and my review were so laden with Florida history that I felt obliged to give him a second go around. And this 2010 release is yet another musical banquet by a master singer/songwriter.
Like any good connoisseur, Malcolm’s musical pantry covers a wide array of subjects and styles. The spicy danger that Tex Ritter simmered slowly in the 1952 Tiomkin/Washington classic tune High Noon (which won the 1953 Academy Award for Best Song) is ever present throughout Malcolm’s STEEL MY HEART where you can hear her talking and it sounds like broken glass. Malcolm’s Mexican bio-epic PLAY THAT SONG AGAIN is a cultural-cuisine cousin to Bruce Cogburn’s Nicaraguan ode titled Dust and Diesel (Stealing Fire, 1984, A&M Records).
State-side, Malcolm’s whips up a hard-luck song of our times in EVERYTHING MUST GO where I paid ten dollars and its yours for a dime. Continuing on that menu, the harshness of street life is dutifully portrayed in MUNICIPAL BLUES as clearly as Tom Wait’s did it in Gun Street Girl (Rain Dogs, 1985, Island Records). Yet by contrast, the lovely HEART NOT BIG ENOUGH is sprinkled with beautiful sprigs of Loggins and Messina like harmonies (think House at Pooh Corner – On Stage, 1974, Columbia Records), while the incredibly-edibley humorous PLANE DON’T LET ME DOWN is where every mile means I’ve lived a little longer.
So if you’re tired of that same old ho-hum, go ahead and break a few eggs, then break out Malcolm McKinney’s BALANCING THE WEIGHT OF LIFE. Don’t worry, he’s scrambled up some great tunes for you.