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The Islander Reviewed



Dave Dobbyn
Released August 7, 1998

A review for The Belltower and "Umm mailing list"
by Jon-Paul Hansen.

It has been four long years since the release of Twist, with nothing but the two ENZSO songs and constant rumours of a new album in the interim. After days of listening to nothing else, The Islander is continuing to reveal its layers and intricacies. At times it is small and intimate, at others it is open and expansive. Like Twist and Lament for the Numb, it carves out its own unique sound and sense of place, yet is obviously created from the same inspirational seeds as its two predecessors.

The Islander kicks off with the catchy "Waiting", which is fighting hard to be heard on local radio above the endless stream of singles culled from big-budget movie soundtracks and remakes which leave only the chorus of the old hit intact. Waiting skips along with a rhythm which nestles itself deep within your brain and settles in for the afternoon.

"Mobile Home" begins, "You drive through the rainstorm". No Dobbyn album would be complete without at least one of those rain songs. The song is an inspired simile comparing one's roaming live and loves to the freedom of smokin' up the highway in a mobile home.

The poppy "Hanging in the Wire" gives way to the album's standout track, "Be Set Free". The song was first played at a woefully under-attended benefit concert in Auckland, back around Christmas 1996. It was performed charmingly on acoustic guitar sans band. This version however is pushed along by a fat bassy chug, and is reminiscent of a military march. It is "stop dead in your tracks to listen" stunning. The hellish references to chaos, demons and burning houses are balanced superbly by the truly liberating chorus.

Before you can recover from the breathtaking intensity of "Be Set Free", Dobbyn mercilessly hits you in the heart with the intimate and uplifting balladry of "Beside You".

A chiming guitar riff drives "Blindmans Bend" along the twisty roads of Auckland's west-coast beaches in the rain (naturally). The song grows into a full-on freak-out at the end due to the pairing of Dobbyn's demented ranting about "robots on the hills" with Neil Finn's manic screeching fretwork, which is not a million miles removed from his electric-drill guitar at the end of Twist's "Naked Flame".

"Standing Outside", is loose country sounding ditty. It seems to be a bit of a put down, not unlike DD Smash's "I met a Loser" in its sentiment.

"What have I Fallen For" seems to be one of those love songs which remains ambiguous, a la "Belltower". Is the love of the narrator unreturned?

"I Never Left You" begins with John Lennon's "Imagine" piano line. The opening verse gives way to a Dobbyn's most overtly Beatley chorus to date, with vocals reminiscent of McCartney's soaring "You Never Give Me Your Money" section of the Abbey Road B-side. The bridge does more than simply span two choruses, it is a whole journey within itself. Eat your heart out Noel Gallagher.

"Keep a Light On" is a simple honest number. It is hard to imagine it's original full on rock-n-roll song beginnings, due to its delicate, intimate reading accompanied by piano & Ian Morris's warbly lesley strings.

"Hands" is The Islanders protest song. It is not as obvious as Maybe the Rain and not as vicious as P.C.. It's more a warning of comeuppance ("if the rocks don't get you then the surf will, and the ocean will swallow you up"). It could be interpreted as a thinly-veiled swipe at New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jenny Shipley. "It's time to overhaul the Mother-ship... There's a lot of work to be done yeah- Mother-ship down".

"One Proud Minute" becomes five outstanding ones. Beautiful, and haunting. "All the poems melted...", slow, lilting, reflective, with a tangible sense of loss, this is the albums Gin & Tonic song. It is yet another cloud-scraping peak in the Islander's range.

Like "Be Set Free", the album's closer has been kicking around for a couple of years. "Hallelujah Song" starts off like an Atlantic soul tune from the 50's, just as the first verse kicks in the piano line nods towards Curtis Mayfield's spiritual "People Get Ready". As Dave has said about the song, "It's just a story". The Dylanesque style of the lyrics is not lessened by Dave's tight harmonica soloing. "Hallelujah Song" is an exorcism of Catholicism, telling the tale of a sniper (improbably named Jesus!) who attempts to assassinate the Pope. The song is laced with irony and cynicism, and yet still manages to remain spiritually ambiguous at its conclusion.

The Islander is purely and simply another Dobbyn masterpiece.


An essay for The Belltower and "Umm mailing list"
By Helena de Bres

I've been thinking about how much I love "Blindman's Bend" on The Islander.

I've been programming 6, 6, 6, (ooh, scary) on my CD player continuously over the past couple of days, as "Blindman's Bend" has slowly but surely eased it's way into the no.1 spot. There is the fact that it lends itself extremely well to listening while leaning up against window panes in the dark. However I put its huge appeal initially down to the effect of three lines in particular :

'this'll make you weep and then you're gone',

'rocks of all ages strewn toward a heaven',

and the gorgeously wrenching

'and there's no name for this kind of lonesome..'

I was reflecting this afternoon over why these were especially touching and came to a semi-revelation. (That 'semi' is there to deflect any hoots of derision if no one appreciates my astonishing insight. Personally, I really think I'm hinging on divine omniscience with this one).

Those of you who haven't heard the album (I'm weeping for you) are going to have to trust me on this one for now, but they all move toward a crescendo and then tumble down to a lower pitch at the end. I've christened it the Wave Effect, due to lack of snooty musical terminology, cos it brings to mind a swell building up, turning and breaking. Dave tells us "Blindman's Bend" is about driving to the West Coast beaches and finding something beautiful there, but even if I didn't know this I think visions of KareKare would spring to mind - KareKare is gorgeous for a start, and brings with it that same bleak, dark, breathtaking melancholy, the consciousness of the force of the elements - and those huge endless waves. If I was having an extended metaphor type of day (which I am), I could compare the whole of The Islander to one big wave actually - it takes a while to get into the rhythm, then you feel yourself pulled along irresistibly.

After noticing this up-then-down-at-the-end, suspense-release, gently-breaking wave thing all through "Blindman's Bend", I then found I could locate it in each one of my other four favourites, by just picking my fave lines. Spooky. There it was tumbling away in "Mobile Home", (a more cheerful little number than the somewhat dark 'n' sinister "Blindman's Bend"), in 'over the east of the ranges, surely', and that particularly lovable little line 'everyone is asleep with their demons dreaming'; in "Be Set Free": 'there's a light that lets you know' and 'never want to capture you'; 'across chasms and bridges, as if shouts could be solid in air now' in "One Proud Minute", and all the way through "Beside You", especially in that gorgeous 'and now I'm running here beside you' after the third chorus.

I'm not suggesting this is particularly unique: Dave's buddy Neil is not averse to this kind of thing either, I note - 'you can talk till your face don't shine (?)'/'it's a danger to forget' in "808 Song", and 'you can be certain'/'my light-fingered foe, my life filled below' in  "Identical Twin" spring immediately to mind. Nor is it consistent everywhere, of course. However it must be said that that great lyrical, drawly quality of Dave's voice we all know 'n' love does seem to lend itself particularly well to this kind of thing, and it seems more than a coincidence that it's the lines that come out this way that are the main cause of me really falling in love with some of these songs. In "Mobile Home", "Be Set Free", "Blindman's Bend" and One Proud Minute the Wave Effect tends to come as a lead up to the chorus, which makes the whole song ride along as if pushed by some internal rolling burst of energy. And although "Waiting" doesn't do my trendy up 'n' down thing, it's definitely also a spilling over wavy type song - (with that no-pauses-for-oxygen thing maybe "One Big Cheery Tsunami" would be a more appropriate title.)
(No, hang on. That's one heck of an awful title..)

What really has been a breakthrough for me is that a few of these Wave Effects have been the cause over the past couple of days of what I had previously thought was a uniquely Neil Finn-inspired phenomenon - The De Bres Sly Look™, or The Sly for short. My twinnie Julia and I had both experienced it independently for a few years and only a few months ago broached the topic with each other and found we were not alone. Could be a congenital eye-defect for all I know, but I'm hoping, for fear of being judged utterly insane, that it's a little more widespread.

For the unenlightened, The Sly typically occurs while one is sitting in the back seat of a car, especially while driving through the New Zealand countryside at dawn, dusk or late afternoon, and listening to a damn good song. You're looking out the window and suddenly on the advent of a particularly beautiful line, or just a particularly beautiful inflection of a particularly beautiful voice, the overwhelming greatness of the world tumbles in with a crash and you have a "Moment" - the lines of the landscape seem immediately clearer, stiller, both more firm and more ethereal at once, and in the darkness of the hills and the lightness of the skies, 'all the poems melt', as one might say. In response my sister and I find ourselves involuntarily performing the humble Sly - a blissful glance up and down to the left side (if one must cheapen the experience by using such base physiological terms) accompanied by a secret little grin. Astonishingly, my dear friends, this graceful facial contortion is analogous to a visual form of the Wave Effect (up. down. big happy feeling.)

Warning: You gotta be really careful not to be observed in the process of emitting a Sly, by the way, especially if driving through the countryside. You don't want to be mistakenly seen as throwing coy glances at a sheep. Or, (worse) a fence post.

Anyway, The Sly is usually reserved for Neil, as I said, and much as I love Twist in particular, Dave just hadn't previously reached this ultimate threshold. Throw tomatoes etc. and call me a heretic if y'all like, but you can't force these things. The Sly (unlike some other expressions of intense hear..) cannot be faked.

So what I wanted to say was that the discovery of the Wave and the inducement of the Sly point undeniably to the overall magnificence of The Islander. It's been sending me off on happy little tangents all week, and I can't wait till the tour.

'Swell' album Dave, ya sly joker, you.


A review of The Islander
For The Belltower and "Umm mailing list"
by Tim Williams

Wow, I got my package from New Zealand in the mail a couple of days ago with Phil Judd's Private Lives, Hunters and Collectors "The Way to Go Out" and "Fireman's Curse" (That is a wierd album, I like Mark Seymour better when he actually is singing) and....Dave Dobbyn's new album.

The Islander was WELL worth the wait! In my humble opinion, this is the best Dave Dobbyn album to date (of course I think I'm still missing a couple). I loved it first listen (only a few albums I've been able to say that about.Try Whistling This was another despite almost everyone else in the world needing it to grow on them). "Waiting" grabbed me right from the start. The whole chorus really seems like it could be directed at his numerous fans "If you've been waiting, you've been waiting too long". It's a really catchy single to lead off the album with.

I should point out at this time, is this album made by an Australiasian supergroup or what? You've got Dave, Neil Finn, Alan Gregg and Ross Burge from the Mutton Birds, Michael Barker (Neil Finn's touring band), 2 guys from Paul Kelly's band, and Ian Morris!

"Mobile Home" is a good second track as it kinda just flows from the first, grab your attention song, into a beautiful song in general.

"Hanging in the Wire" reminds me of something...I'm not quite sure what though. I think it's either something from Tim Finn's album that he did with Anna Paquin, or "Jacqui" by Andy's late OK? Anyways, I love this song.

"Be Set Free". I was looking forward to hearing this one ever since I heard the live version of it and it did NOT disappoint. JP, you hit it dead on in your review when you said something to the effect that it starts off kinda strange and then the vocals kick in and it just stuns you. After that song fades out it leads to my current favorite track on the album...

"Beside You". I'm a sucker for love songs either dealing with wanting a friendship to become more or ones that just repeat the first couple words numerous times during the song. "This is for...." "And now...." (Also kinda like the song off Andy White's Teenage called something like "Anything I can Bring I will Bring to You"). This is a beautiful song and I think once I hear it a few more times it could knock Don't Hold Your Breath and Naked Flame off the top of my Dobbyn favorites chart (Dave, Neil Finn, Alan Gregg and Ross Burge on one track...what could be better without involving a Seymour or a second Finn?).

The start of "Blindman's Bend" reminds me QUITE a bit of the opening to Naked Flame. This strikes me as a really good song that I probably will never fully appreciate because it comes right after "Be Set Free" and "Beside You".

I was suprised to see that neither of the Mutton Birds guys were playing on "Standing Outside" because the first few notes remind me of "Like This Train" off "Envy of Angels". This track doesn't stand out a whole lot to me.

"What Have I Fallen For"...another of those songs that just catches me. "I wanted you to fall for me- What have you fallen for" is one of my favorite lines on the album. This is one of my top 5 songs on the album for sure. I really really like this one.

"I Never Left You" is another song that on my first couple listens was overshadowed. I didn't really notice it but as I'm listening to it as I'm typing this, I really like the way it starts off with just the piano mainly for the first verse, then gradually more instruments are added until it reaches the chorus.

"Keep a Light On" is a nice track. Not many instruments, just Dave's signing with the piano and... whatever the heck that wobbley sound in the background is it's REALLY really cool! It'd be interesting to see how this song would be done live. I think it'd have to be one (similar to how Try Whistling This is performed at the Neil shows) with just Dave at the piano. I think this could be a really great one in concert...

Back from the quiet "Keep a Light On" it moves back to the faster paced "Hands". The track order on this album adds a lot to it I think and I feel that'd you lose something by shuffling this album. This is a good song, but it doesn't really stand out much to me, though I do like the line "If the rocks don't get you then the surf will".

Back down to the slower "One Proud Minute" which I absolutely LOVE...another top 5 song.

Right now for me it'd have to be;
1. Beside You
2. Be Set Free
3. Hallelujah Song
4. One Proud Minute
5. (tie) What Have I Fallen For / Blindman's Bend

Then we get to the unbelievable "Hallelujah Song". Another one that I looked forward to since hearing the live version. I never really tried to make out the lyrics on the live version and I was just amazed when I read them for the first time. Dave made a point of saying that it was just a story. It's a heckuva story that makes for one helluva song. Wow!

The more I hear this album the more I love it. I keep thinking that Blindman's Bend can only get better as I do like it, but it just seems buried to me, but I have a feeling it'll be one of my favorites before too long.

Dave, absolutely AWESOME album. Four years seems worth it (which is easy for me to say since I only discovered Dave Dobbyn about two years ago) for an album as stunning as this one. With the quality of the Neil Finn, Dave Dobbyn, and Mark Seymour solo albums this year (or late last year) it makes me wonder why the heck these guys have bands to begin with anyways! They've all been SO awesome. I shouldn't really say that because Try Whistling This was so different from Crowded House and King Without a Clue was so different from Hunters & Collectors, but the solo works just come off so differently from what I expected. Though not so much with The Islander because I didn't hear of Th' Dudes or DD Smash before I started on Dave's solo stuff (and there have already been four solo albums prior to this one), but I'm glad this album is in my collection. I for one cannot wait for the collaboration with Ian Morris to come out!

A review of The Islander
For The Belltower and "Umm mailing list"
by Dyane Leshin

My Disclaimer / Intro to Dave Dobbyn's The Islander;

Throughout my 28 years on this orb, when listening to a song, I have been afflicted with the curse of misunderstanding the subtle or obvious lyrical messages the song has to offer. I hear the melodies more than I hear what the songs actually say. This flaw causes me great frustration and sadness really - if I could have three wishes granted by a genie, one of them would be for world peace, and another would be for total instant comprehension of lyrics in all songs.

That admission aside, I aimed to write this "review" without referring to Dave's The Islander press release put out by Sony, but in the end temptation won out. I went ahead and compared what I wrote with Dave's track-by-track comments, inserting some of his comments into my writing. I have no regrets now - & I hope you all don't mind. Interestingly, Dobbyn emphasized the difficulty he had with writing the lyrics for The Islander and said, "...since Twist I've been concentrating on becoming a better musician: inventing chords, looking around, listening more than I ever have. What was agonizing about this record were the lyrics. I had a lot hanging around, but they didn't feel right." Well, lyrics can be hard to crack, whether you are creating them like Dave, or interpreting them like yours truly! Luckily for us, Dave did have a writing breakthrough on this album, and related, "Now, I feel a lot fresher about the whole approach of writing songs."

The reason why I think I prefer this album somewhat over "Twist" (gasp!) is that it is less produced sounding and really pure. Dobbyn said that his band of musicians were as thrilled about this pure, "natural" quality as he. He said "they were chuffed the way it came out: that the sound coming off the tape was the same as went on." And that's primarily why I love it so much! So now, without further delay, while downing a fine cup of organic Breakfast Blend coffee I will go over my humble impressions of Dave's magnificent songs.

Waiting is an exuberant song that sweeps us into this album with the pull of a Bethells Beach undertow. Dave Dobbyn is back to tell us "the world's unkind" but don't despair, in later tracks he gives us hope so we all don't jump the ship! A particularly striking line is "in the twilight of a postcard island lie little ashtrays of industrial dreams" - it depicts one of the prominent themes for this album: the interplay between the beauty of nature with the ravaging effects of thoughtless industrialism. Just when I think I need to give my ears a wait from Waiting, I go to work and upon my return I want to hear it again. After countless listens I still get a thrill during certain moments in the song. Perhaps it's also a glimpse into the constant rattle of a songwriter's brain, whose mind perpetually "keeps spinning out a line" and that a songline has been sung "in blood and tattooed to your heart." Pretty strong stuff here, eh? It's a bonus to listen for Dave's passionate choppy piano in the background along with his sweeping glissandos. Dave said of this song: "It'll be a great one live, but a tough one to sing. I forgot to write the breaths in, as I did with 'Whaling'." Be sure to brush up on your CPR skills before requesting him to sing this at the shows!

Mobile Home
The gentle guitar strains at the opening remind me of a lullaby and are peaceably comforting. Perhaps it's that electric mandolin. A car & nature serve as metaphors here, with the mobile home of the heart cruising through some awfully rough terrain. Will this vehicle come down the highway into sparkling clear skies, or down a rocky cliff and burst into flames? An intriguing line: "The sky will speak if you pay for your life with your life" - I'd love to hear others' interpretations on that one! Anyway, this is a lovely song - the shortest one on the album at two minutes, thirteen seconds,but it's so good that I'd consider it "concentrated." In the end, I think our hearts, our compact, self-sufficient Mobile Homes, become authentic once they've driven down the well-traveled, treacherous road of heartbreak.

Hanging in the Wire
This is one of my favorite tunes, although I love them all! Hey, I have no shame when it comes to this musician. It's hard to miss Neil Finn's stamp on it, with his bass and piano contributing to the high energy. The lively rhythm (for some reason I want to call it syncopated rhythm - what do you music buffs think? Syncopation is, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, "a shift in accent when a normally weak beat is stressed.") The rises and falls of each stanza are alluring - I felt this song was a unique departure in style for Dave - any takers? Dobbyn said he's singing about buddies and war, (maybe it should have gone on the Saving Private Ryan soundtrack - no offense! I should admit right now that I'm a movie buff.) Vibe-wise to me it seems precarious and a bit melodramatic, but due to the subject mater that makes sense.

Be Set Free
When I first heard a live 1996 version of Be Set Free it was an  intimate arrangement featuring just Dave & his acoustic. It was sung in a much quieter fashion than The Islander track. So yes, it was a bit of a shock to hear this dramatically different version, but it has been a delightful listen as well. I really enjoy (to borrow a phrase) the "fat bassy chug" that underlies the song. This is a strong and empowering piece. It's full of the speaker's bumbling, ("I'm a soul in chaos -I muddied up the river didn't i") who often runs away from dealing with shitty situations. He expresses his romantic tendencies, ("I studied up the poets just to hold a mirror to you") and implies that it is his love who helps him make sense of life ("you describe a line thru everything - you throw open doors & windows") There's a sense of optimism that runs through Be Set Free: love allows us to set ourselves free from our pesky, parasitical demons. As Dave puts it: "It's a song about liberation- being set free through some kind of honesty." That comes through loud and clear.

Beside You
Beside You is a straightforward beauty that reminds me of an Irish ballad in tone. (Well, Neil Finn does provide the backing vocals and he is of Irish heritage!) From Dave: "I wanted it to sound Celtic." It certainly does! The speaker sounds like he emerged from a history of screw-ups to be truly contrite and loving. He's come a long way, baby, and he's here now for the long-haul. Little tidbit: Dobbyn lifts a line from this song: "may love be your only load" & we find it under "extra-special thanks" in the liner  notes directed at Neil Finn. Dave thanks him for priceless advice and friendship. Sweet, isn't it?

Blindman's Bend
Dave begins with "four stone people in the rain" - This ominous track possesses a cool driving beat, and ethereal harmonies. Ideally, for full effect, I'd listen to it driving over the snaky, woodsy Highway 17 (a.k.a. the Death Highway) or Highway One in the fog down to Big Sur where many cars have gone off the cliffside. I'd probably drive more safely and slowly too! My pick here for extra-cool lines: "the milkstars between the rainclouds," "the torch songs on the radio made the rain dance with the windshield wipers" and "drive to the coast - uncover ghosts dreaming for you..." It's eerie at the end when Dave cries out "That's my headstone!" Be sure to play this one on the eve of Halloween!

Standing Outside
I live in Santa Cruz, an hour away from Neil Young's home in La Honda. As you can imagine, there are some serious Neil Young fans who live near me. Thus, I couldn't help but think of Neil Young's free n' easy style when I heard Standing Outside because there are some musical similarities between Dave and Neil Young, namely the country-flavoured vocals, the chiming of the slide guitar, the gutsy headstrong harmonies. Dobbyn has mentioned listening to Neil Young's Harvest in relation to this song.

The clompy percussion evokes riding bareback across some dusty, light-dappled trail, or maybe gliding on one's beloved Harley over mountainous curves. Once again Dave speaks of worlds crumbling apart right in front of us, but his delivery carries us through to the other side where there's beauty and wonder. Standing outside of all the crap gives us huge perspective, and our rage is blasted away. It's good to be reminded, for those of us who think that we must have it all and we'll be happy, "everything can have you". There's a recurring Dobbyn theme of light and darkness here, but the emphasis is on the light, being outside, hey man, lighten up!

Imagine my chagrin when I eyed the following on the p.r. from Dobbyn: "It'll be interesting to see what kind of fan (this song) attracts. Probably people staring at the bottom of their glasses. It's a parody really." Talk about misinterpreting lyrics! Guess I'm a loser!

What Have I Fallen For?
Isn't this is gorgeous, bittersweet song? It has a deeply moving quality to it. I better not listen to it when I have PMS. Even more than usual, Dave's voice is going all-out - I expect him to break down into tears - his vocals' loud and soft tones work together and really depict the speaker's feelings. Huge images express how strong his (idealistic?) love is for her: "everytime I walk the plank & out the door , i walk a million more for you - anytime you walk in thru any door, you'd grace a billion more for me" - I thought this song described the Petrarchan love syndrome. After reading the press release I find that Dave and I had fairly different opinions! Some poignant moments on this track are Dave's haunting whispers of "it's alright, alright..." - is it ever really alright?

I Never Left You
This song is a "wine" song - it'll get better & better with age for me, I think. Truthfully, I feel like I need to listen to it more because I've gravitated to the other tracks. At first it glides over the ears innocuously - but it's written from the mobile home and that is vital for a good song. I'd love to hear this one live. Dave said it's demanding to sing - aren't they all for you, Dave??? Maybe I'll send you some "Singer's Secret" lozenges as a treat! JP was on target as usual in his call that I Never Left You would be an ideal wedding dance song. Hmmm, JP, it really would, wouldn't it? Nudge nudge, wink, wink. Say no more, say no more.

Keep A Light On
This song is another example of the power of a simply arranged song. There are some unique touches over Dave's ardent vocals; according to the liner notes it must be the "doom gong" (what a cool name for an instrument) the lesley strings and the slide les paul. An extraordinary line for us cynics: "no guardian angel - I fired him way back." Dave noted in the p.r. "I first played it as a full-on rock 'n' roll song like the Exponents, and that's pretty amazing, we'll release that at some stage." - woah - I can't imagine that right now, but I'm sure it kicks ass!

This song has a great beat - Hands is one of the snappiest (no pun intended) songs on the album. There's a nice "dropping down" of the guitar chords during the chorus. Not to mention the bee-boppy singalong banter at the end. (Yes, Mr. Dobbyn, you definitely do an excellent Phil Judd-ism with that touch!) The bright tone seems deceptive as this song discusses the darkness that comes from chronic constipation - oops - I mean colonization... (yep, it happens everywhere - even on isolated beautiful shaky islands!)

One Proud Minute
An anthemy song, I think that the line "all the poems melted" is a standout; it's one of my favorite songlines that I've ever heard - also, "people don't know how to get along ...with the way the land relaxes" is thought-provoking. (Dave, if you haven't already done so, read Robinson Jeffers' poetry! You'll relate.) It made me ponder how we are always controlling nature and the land, but nature has something to teach us about living and letting go. There's a nice & fuzzy bass element which provides a strength underneath Dave's soaring vocals. Dave said this one's about loss and also resolution and it does bring that up for me. I like the title of this song, but I am glad it wasn't used for the album title because I think The Islander is way more appropriate. I can visualize One Proud Minute being sung during a graduation, recollection or resolution scene in a movie. (But not a revolution! ) I could imagine seeing one's entire life go by in one proud minute, and I apologize for getting carried away here, but just visualize a hazy close-up of tears falling down a smiling face. I must agree (as usual) with JP, One Proud Minute is "another cloud-scraping peak in the Islander's range."

Hallelujah Song
Bold and true. Crystal clean, no caffeine. Pure Dobbynesque style in the tickling of the ivories and the frank style of his storyteller delivery. I like how he smacks his lips after he says "found the bullet" - do you hear it? Well, for myself, the lyrics on this one are pretty clear, thank God. Bizarre tale, isn't it? "It's just a story." says DD. It's just a story that belongs on the cover of the Weekly World News perhaps. Maybe it did secretly happen (sans pope) at Lourdes. Whatever the exact inspiration was for this song, it's awesome and different than the usual. I could see Dave performing it with a full gospel choir in the background during the chorus, can't you? I need to road-test it with a few true Catholics and get their reactions - on the other hand, maybe not.

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