Frank Morey,
Made in USA
(independent, 2006)

We are off to the gin-soaked, smoke-curtained clubs with the atmospheric opening track on Made in USA, the new album from Frank Morey in association with Scott Pittman and Andrew Bergmann. The track is "Must Be Hard."

Then they pick up the pace to have us careering along the line aboard a wonderful "Freight Train." This is not the regular scheduled service but a totally new vehicle from Morey's pen. Hop aboard and be transported.

Looking at the titles on offer, I am struck by the proximity in name or phrase to well-known tracks, but I would point out that any similarity is coincidental. "Standing on the Corner" reminds me of "Down on the Corner," but this is a wonderful new descriptive song that will have the foot tapping and the ear listening closely.

Now what other song name does the title track remind you of? "Made in USA" is a favourite song here with the laidback delivery and strong lyrics. Morey's voice is ideally suited to the song and it must sound great in live performance.

He picks up the pace on "This Ol' Life," a lovely narrative song. "I Stopped Believing in You Today" has a grand old country feel that could be a hit with airplay. There is very distinct early Kristofferson sound on songs and sentiments like "You're My Jesus" plus "Lord Have Mercy," and I say that as a compliment.

My favourite songs from Morey are the slower ones, and I was mesmerized by "North Atlantic Line." There is that wonderful authentic sound and you can almost live the life. The addition of the sweet voice of Eileen Rose to counterpoint Frank's gruff delivery is inspired. This song alone is worth the price of the album.

The CD closes with "No Evil," an inventive song taking most of the lyrics from the psalms. Morey is an artist to be reckoned with as both writer and performer.

Incidentally, the CD is manufactured to feel like a miniature of an old vinyl record -- a nice touch.

by Nicky Rossiter
9 December 2006

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