Marshall Chapman runs hot, cold on 'Blaze of Glory'
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Marshall Chapman, "Blaze of Glory" (TallGirl Records)
An opening duet cooks to a Bo Diddley beat. Next comes a searing Rolling Stones-style rocker, and then Marshall Chapman does a slow burn on Hoagy Carmichael's "Nearness of You."
After that, Marshall Chapman loses steam on new album "Blaze of Glory."
The 6-foot singer nicknamed the Goddess of Tall has been rocking out for a loyal following since the mid-1970s, but the new album suffers from too many plodding tempos and not enough strong material. Sequencing and jarring mood swings are a problem, too: Chapman sings mostly about affairs of the heart before offering up a lame novelty number ("Call the Lamas"), and then closes with back-to-back tunes that contemplate death, which leads to buzz kill.
The best songs here are very good, however, and at age 64 Chapman's still in fine voice. Her soft South Carolina accent drops to a near whisper on the Carmichael tune, and she nails the other cover, too, with a jazzy approach on the Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me."
"Love in the Wind" is an exuberant duet with Todd Snider, and "I Don't Want Nobody" benefits from her Mick Jagger swagger. But elsewhere the Goddess of Tall comes up short.
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