128. Kate Campbell – “Visions Of Plenty”

My struggle with the previous Campbell album arose from the mundane nature of the songwriting, leaving her without a distinctive voice.

Kate Campbell Visions of Plenty album coverThis album is a much better effort. She still produces a few too many bland, adult-contemporary-by-numbers tunes, but when she takes a gamble, it tends to play out very well.

Campbell’s nifty little niche is her childhood experiences growing up in the desegregating Deep South. She chronicles this in two standout tracks – Crazy in Alabama and Bus 109. The former, perhaps inexplicably, has the capacity to get me a little choked up if I’m in the right mood. I’ve managed to find a vid of Kate performing this tune live (sorry, the volume level is poor – you’ll have to crank it up to 11):

Not only can she tug on the heartstrings a little, she can also tell an amusing small-town homily.  She weaves the tale of the failed ten-pin bowler who only ever scores a 299 (before having a heart attack and having to retire) on Bowl-A-Rama.  More perverse (only in a nice, soccer mom type way), is her upbeat track Funeral Food, which notes the curiosity that  “we sure eat good when someone dies”.

File under: Enough to justifying a viewing

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