Joe Dolce,
The Wind Cries Mary
(independent, 2006)

Mention Joe Dolce to anyone over the age of 30, and you might hear a "shaddap you face" in reply. No, they are not being insulting; they are reminding us of a major hit dating back almost three decades. Like the overnight success who has spent years honing his craft, the so-called "one-hit wonder" also has a successful life away from the spotlight, and it was a joy for me to discover Dolce still producing music.

The Wind Cries Mary is an eclectic mix of styles, tunes and moods that is impossible to classify.

"Lynetta" opens like a traditional Irish tune, then becomes an upbeat song in French (I think -- languages are not my forte) about his partner. Dolce lists "Cocaine Lil" as a folk lyric from the 19th century, showing there is nothing new under the sun.

He rewards those looking for Irish folk with a marvelous rendition of "Rocks of Bawn." He is not afraid to experiment with the traditional canon, and on this track it works wonders, giving the old classic a new sheen and opening it up to potential new generations.

"It Was Only a Dream" evokes the era of peace and love and the Lennon/Ono "bed in" using snatches of familiar riffs. My favorite track here has to the powerful "Hill of Death." Using a poem from Australia's Louisa Lawson as the lyrics, Dolce gives us a gently passionate song.

"September 11th" is an unusual song in that it looks at that fateful day from the perspective of the terrorist. Against all odds, it works. And yet, one of the most unusual tracks on offer has to be "Death of Bach." Dolce closes proceedings with the underrated Paul McCartney song, "For No One."

It was fascinating to hear Dolce again after all these years and to realize how he is still experimenting with the music to reach as wide an audience as possible -- and succeeding about 99 percent of the time.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Nicky Rossiter

24 May 2008

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