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The Bramble & the Rose

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Album Review

The only duet album by McCaslin and Ringer (who were married to each other at the time) doesn't click too well, and indeed for McCaslin fans especially might be a disappointment. Their voices and musical persona's — McCaslin's high, sweet and vulnerable, Ringer's earthy and gruff — weren't well-suited for a collaboration. Stated more harshly, McCaslin was a greater talent than Ringer, and the combination of the two does more to lower McCaslin than it does to elevate Ringer. Beyond that, the material and arrangements are ordinary, all coming from outside sources, whether the traditional folk tune "Oh Death" or compositions from country-rockers like Herb Pedersen and Larry Murray. The low point is certainly the cover of "Hit the Road, Jack." Probably McCaslin was trying to do for it what she did for the rock songs "Things We Said Today," "Pinball Wizard," and "Blackbird," but it's leaden, and the dual vocals by McCaslin and Ringer don't possess chemistry. It's not a terrible album, just unmemorable and, probably, unnecessary.

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