Come Along Carmelita
Cris Cuddy (Independent)
   Meet the other Cuddy.
   Cris Cuddy (no apparent relation to Blue Rodeo's Jim) is a refreshing reminder of the fact that mature, intelligent singer-songwriters do still exist.

   The Ontario musician's new CD, Come Along Carmelita, is a fine collection of songs, primarily in the folk-pop vein, that speak with warmth and honesty about love and longing, pride and avarice.

   He can be a pretty witty guy, too.
   What If Frankie Doesn't Like It? is a mock-tragic morality tale. Cuddy pens a delightful picture of two goombahs who've been spending far too much of the organization's money. They fear an impending visit from the boss, who will likely cement their relationship with a deep body of water.

   The opening lines are delicious: "They were sitting in a restaurant, acting like two debutantes/ Two big and swarthy guys with evil little eyes/ Staring down their chins."

   Adults yet children. Nervous as hell, awaiting their
punishment.
   Cuddy takes a poke at corporate greed in Henry Morgan the Pirate. Before handing his business over to his son, Henry sends the lad off to earn an MBA. "And Henry's son became a toff, a veritable tycoon/ And he learned to work in a business suit instead of pantaloons."

   Way Out West (which could easily be Way Out East) speaks of those who are still rooted in traditional lifestyles. A lesson, perhaps, for those who choose to set up camp in suburbia, only to abandon their homes every day for the commute to serve captains of industry.

   Instrumentally, this is also a strong album. In particular, violinist Fats Kaplin, guitarist Don Rooke, Victor Bateman on bass and cellist George Meanwell add warmth and texture, and create thoughtful frontispieces for both Frankie and the title track.

   To find Come Along Carmelita, go to www.criscuddy.com.
(Reviewed by Derrick Toth, CP)  -- -- --