THE OX THAT PULLS THE CART L J Booth
This is nothing but buried treasure. L J released two highly regarded CDs in '87 and '93 and then largely disappeared from view for a decade. He was working on his expansive Wisconsin house and raising his daughter Tamyka. Now she's a radiant and level headed eighteen, and he's back on the road. David Wilcox, one of his biggest supporters and friends, suggested he open up his next tour. At the first date in Minneapolis, L J sold a hundred CDs.
This CD was my introduction to L J Booth's recordings. I first heard his music in the song circle at Camp Nashville at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and he knocked me right out. He's a great guitarist and a moving singer, but it was the depth of the songwriting that kept my interest piqued for the next L J song to come around.
The title song of the CD first harkens back to the author's childhood in India, being humbled by the poverty stricken generosity of village people, and how such a nation could have overthrown a superpower.
it's been my fate, to underestimate
That scenario is brilliantly juxtaposed with succeeding verses about Vietnamese farmers in the American Midwest, asking around in the hardware store about a piece of land to clear. Peterson, a local that recognizes their sound and dialect from his war experience, comes over to assist. The singer drives by their fields, and their gardens and straw hats in the sun flash his childhood before him, and he's touched by Peterson's act of kindness.
This kind of songwriting is hard to find. I was listening to it for the first time at the gym in the early morning. When I got where the song was going, it hit me so hard on the Stairmaster that it took all I had to keep it together and not go to pieces in front of a dozen treadmills...
There are a number of tunes on this disc that are that profound, that provocative. The opener, "Restless Field," or "Ebba" about his mother, they're some of the best tunes I've heard in a long time. There are a number of fine players on this recording, but I found Jennifer Kimball's background vocals to be particularly stellar, in their arrangement and execution.
This cat's amazing, we're lucky to have him around. Just buy this record.