Saturday, 13 April 2013

David Munyon - Big Shoes

Covers Celebration

David Munyon is a truly great American singer/songwriter I am slowly discovering, acquiring and listening to his work which is unfailingly idiosyncratic – essentially his gravelly and emotively charged vocal - and consistently perfect in performance. He would seem to be relatively unknown for someone of such notable talent: his Wikipedia page is in German [or Dutch?], and an allmusic bio reads simply David is a hard-driving guitarist and blues-based singer/songwriter. The exemplification of litotes and a clear refutation of the notion that less is more.

The album I am listening to as I write is his 2009 Big Shoes, a set of sixteen covers. Each track is a beautiful interpretation and rendition of a well-known song – an astonishing album of sustained excellence. He achieves what Jimmy Lafave has singing Dylan, and Munyon includes two Dylan covers on this album. The most surprising success on Big Shoes is perhaps Price’s Purple Rain, but when one realises how much he moulds every song to his distinctive style/sound, it isn’t then really that unusual. The same could be observed with Cat Steven’s Father and Son. I’ll pick three favourites for further illustration of the range, but it is a nuanced choice from sixteen redefined hits: Ol’ 55 [Tom Waits]; Who’ll Stop The Rain [John Fogerty]; Sugar Mountain [Neil Young].

Hell, make that four: Atlantic City [Bruce Springsteen]. This album is a celebration in so many ways.

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