I’m sure I’m on record, probably in triplicate, as having maintained that what I think of as “sing-speaking” works well for a certain kind of singer…and particularly well when that singer is delivering saga songs. By “sing-speaking” I mean sounding a pitch on a word with minimal or no effort to sustain the note. Jerry Bell uses the technique. His title track on his new CD “Idaho Ed” is helped out by it as is his “Devil’s Rope.” But Bell’s spoken delivery on the poems remains the highpoint of his releases. Here he offers convincing renditions of Larry McWhorter’s tall tale “8 Ball & High Ball,” Bruce Kiskaddon’s “How A Cowpuncher Rode” and “Winter Horses,” Pat Richardson’s “Bad Habits,” S. Omar Barker’s “Hosses vs Horses” and Jesse Smith’s “The 3-Wheeler.”
Of the songs I most like Bell’s take of Stan Jones’ “Cowpoke,” Carson Robison’s (not “Robinson” as credited) “Carry Me Back To The Lone Prairie” and I would include his performance of Dave Stamey’s “Campfire Waltz” but I’m not sold on the drum work behind it. Fourteen tracks total.
CD: $15 + $2.50 s/h through JerryBellPoetry.com, CowboyPoetBell@wyoming.com or from J.R. Bell, 20 Foxtail Lane, Riverton, WY 82501
- by Rick Huff