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For the Mission Baby

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Editors’ Notes

Over the years, Malcolm Holcombe has forged his own rugged path as a folk-based singer/songwriter, releasing albums that oscillate between the baffling and the mesmerizing. For the Mission Baby inches still deeper into the dense thickets of his oddly compelling imagination. Holcombe’s sometimes impenetrable vocal gargle is complimented by his spiky acoustic guitar style and a penchant for fragmented yet lucid imagery. Producer Ray Kennedy is wise enough not to smooth out all of his quirks, though Tim O’Brien’s fiddle and David Roe’s upright bass help anchor the tracks in country traditions. As ever, Holcombe is a story-teller at heart — this time, he offers tales of lonesome mining camps (“Hannah’s Tradin’ Post”), scruffy neighborhoods (“Short Street Blues”) and disrupted families (the title tune). His gospel leanings show through in “Whenever I Pray” and “Doncha Miss That Water.” “Bigtime Blues” and “Leonard’s Pigpen” twang and stomp hellaciously, while “Straight and Tall” has an unexpectedly mellow jazz feel. A bracing slice of rootsy surrealism by a genuine American original.

Customer Reviews

Through the eyes of a man

This is something special. The songs are literate, down to earth, snappy and soulful...all in good taste with an eye to living in the moment but forgetting nothing learned on the way. There is a wry poetry here, as sharp as the picking. Yes, I hear Tim Obrien working discreetly behind ol' Malcolm...but I hear the respect in Obrien's picking and I hear the truth in Holcombe's words. Toe-tapping and thought provoking, there isn't a false note in the music or the message. Favorites of my own are "Short Street Blues", "You Have it All", "For the Mission Baby", they stick in my head. The real show-stoppers are songs so deep and so painfully beautiful you marvel at the craft on display...."Someone Left Behind" nailed me to the spot. something special.


Another excellent release from the man whose music is as pure as the mountains he came from.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s

Malcolm Holcombe is an acclaimed singer/songwriter in the insurgent country/folk vein who grew up in Weaverville, N.C. The release of his debut album, 1996's A Hundred Lies -- which featured his moody poetry, country blues guitar, and rumbling baritone -- was met with acclaim from USA Today and Rolling Stone's David Fricke, among others, and garnered comparisons to folks such as John Prine and Tom Waits. (The album was originally recorded for Geffen and then re-released on Hip-O). He has also earned...
Full Bio
For the Mission Baby, Malcolm Holcombe
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Customer Ratings