CD Legibly Speaking (CD 898110),
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Legibly Speaking

  • 1. Angles, Oblongs, Lines, and Points
    2. Single
    3. Fine Print
    4. Another Bruno
    5. Hoe Handle
    6. How Whivet Got Her Name
    7. Two Strokes
    8. Thank You
    9. Home Alone
    10. Condition of the Heart, A
    11. Leaving Portand
    12. Perpetual Motion
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 3

  • Credits
    EngineerDave Friedlander

    David Greenberger: Bela Belogh (mandolin, violin, trumpet); Gary Irvine (vibraphone, marimba, drum set, percussion); Michael Papillo (double bass); Craig Martin (drum set); Courtney Von Drehle.
    Personnel: David Greenberger (spoken vocals); Courtney Von Drehle (bouzouki, accordion, soprano saxophone); Bla Balogh (mandolin, violin, trumpet); Craig Martin (vibraphone, marimba, drums, percussion).
    Audio Mixer: Bill Scheniman.
    Recording information: Kung Fu Bakery, Portland, OR; Power Station New England, Waterford, CT.
    Photographer: Henry Ham.
    Arrangers: Courtney Von Drehle; Craig Martin; Bla Balogh; 3 Leg Torso.
    As the publisher of The Duplex Planet, David Greenberger has collected stories from the elderly since the late '70s. On the unusual release Legibly Speaking, Greenberger sets about a dozen of these tales to music, sort of. Greenberger himself voices the stories -- drawn from elderly residents of Portland, OR -- as spoken word monologues, backed by music from the impossible to categorize six-person musical ensemble 3 Leg Torso. The stories are funny, sad, and moving, in an earthy and unpretentious way that's much more straightforward and plain-spoken, and less sentimental, than the usual such skits and anecdotes you'll hear dramatized on radio specials. Often they deal with the pain, physical illnesses, and loneliness of aging, without playing it for pathos, even when the circumstances are fairly grim (as in "Two Strokes," in which strokes of both husband and wife are depicted in detail). Yet there are also light moments mixed in, and occasional striking lines that professional writers would envy, like "Anybody who thinks they can get away without having bad times is not reading the fine print." 3 Leg Torso's musical backing combines jazz, European chamber music, and touches of gypsy, lounge, and Latin without intruding on the stories. The arrangements are both whimsical and melancholy, at times obviously specifically tailored to complement the stories, as on "How Whivet Got Her Name," where the tempo accelerates dizzily in tandem with the shaggy-dog tale. ~ Richie Unterberger

  • Critic Reviews
    The Wire (pp.59-60) - "Greenberger's purpose is straightforward, to give voice to these people, complete with the attendant humour and tragedy."
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