Ray Naylor,
Slow Cooker
(Polar Bear, 2002)

This guy deserves success if only for the opening track on this album.

"Please Buy My CD" is a beautifully written, humorous song about the life of so many songwriters. It recounts that familiar idea of cashing in your pension to record a CD of your compositions. He sings of the boxes of CDs under the bed and wondering if he could use them to tile walls. If he gets airplay there will not be enough to tile a dollhouse.

Naylor is in the mold of Shel Silverstein. He uses a set of witty lyrics to tell some home truths and is more effective for this method.

"Old Man Playing Guitar" is another self-deprecating track recounting the despairing days of life on the road. It is not melancholy but it has a distinctive ring of truth. Perhaps it was written on a down day but now it is performed as the writer re-emerges.

Folk music gets a shot from his wit on the excellent "C-D-G." Yes, you folkies, that is his chord formula for composition. "I like the way they sound when they go around" and so do we. He sings, "Who wants to win a Grammy anyway?" but on this outing he deserves consideration.

"I Might Just Stay in Texas" sounds like a love song that could cover at least one of the episodes of most listeners' lives. That is one of the strengths of Naylor's music. He is a sort of everyman of folk music. He seems to capture and write -- very well -- about the ordinary events of our simple lives.

"You're The Only Reason" is a beautiful song about a very real aspect of life. He sings about growing old and falling in love with a younger person. He says in the notes that it is embarrassing but the track comes across with a very real if sad feeling. Well done, Ray. Many people will respond with "finally come to grips with the greying of my hair, my belly that has grown to make my body now a pear" and the fact that "you're the only reason that I'd be young again."

"Willie the Bi-Polar Polar Bear" is one of those songs that you will love or hate. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The vision of that big white bear acting strange on the ice floes is both funny and sad. That's what good lyrics are all about.

This CD has 13 tracks, 12 written by Naylor; the other, by his inspiration Phil Ochs, is "Pleasures of the Harbour."

Slow Cooker is one of the most interesting, heartwarming and original albums I have heard this year. With air play or someone picking up some of the tracks Ray Naylor could be the star that he deserves to be and that investment in boxes of CDs would be vindicated.

Help him get there -- buy the album, you won't be disappointed.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 12 July 2003