SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN
Review by Jason Knorr
Artist: Ed Randazzo & Bret Alexander
Album: See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Rating: 5 out of 5 Tombstones
Remember this name – Ed Randazzo. When the name Bret Alexander appears on the cover of a CD slated for review, you immediately pay attention. That is exactly what happened when I was given “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” by Ed Randazzo and Bret Alexander. This is Ed’s first full length release. As I am sure many of you know, Bret has been featured on many releases, from his bands The Badlees and The Cellarbirds, to the plethora of albums he has recorded, produced and played on in the past years. “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” is comprised of 10 tracks, six obscure covers reinterpreted from the traditional folk music catalogue, and 4 originals works crafted by Randazzo.
I have to say, this is the most honest record I have heard in a long time. You can tell that Ed & Bret made this release for themselves, and in doing so, they have created something that reaches deep inside you and touches your soul. It is raw mix of dark folk and blues with a yesteryear sound. With minimal instruments and Ed’s deep voice carrying a majority of the rhythm, this is an album unlike many others that you will hear released nowadays.
This folk / blues masterpiece was produced by Bret Alexander and recorded at Saturation Acres. It was given its raw and organic feel by Ed & Bret recording themselves as a live duo, rather then recording instruments and then going back and recording vocals. After the rhythm and vocals were recorded live, other instruments were gently sprinkled on top to add some subtle nuances.
While the covers that were selected for this release are great songs crafted from the likes of Bill Withers & Blind Lemon Jefferson, Mr. Randazzo proves he can certainly hold his own with his original works. In fact, my favorite song, and I think the standout track on this album is Randazzo’s own “Three Ravens”. It is a heart wrenching tale of three hungry ravens looking for their next meal, and they spy upon a young soldier lying dead in a field. As they prepare to feast on his remains, the soldier’s love appears and takes him away and buries him. The ravens enraged by the loss of their dinner plot revenge on the maiden who snagged it from them. This is a tale you would expect to read in the works of Edgar Allen Poe, not on a music release in the year 2010.
In closing, this CD is definitely a welcome addition to anyone’s music collection. Not the type of music you would play while hanging out with friends, but a more serious work that you would listen to while reflecting on your life. You won’t hear any of these songs being played on terrestrial radio anytime soon because it doesn’t meet the criteria of being a mindless watered down release with no depth. Although if more music like this was played on radio stations, maybe the music business wouldn’t be in the predicament that it is in now. This is a songwriters’ record that tells a story, accented with musicianship, deep feelings, and truth. “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” is a great album, and I hope that Ed & Bret decide to follow it up with more of Ed’s original material.
Vocals & Lyrics
Guitars, Mandolin, Percussion, Vocals, Dobro, Keys, B3, Banjo, Accordion, Harmonica & Dulcimer
Fiddle on “House Carpenter”
Vocals & additional percussion on “Graveyard Boogie”
Produced By: Bret Alexander
Recorded At: Saturation Acres (www.saturationacres.com)
Artwork & Design by: Anthony Narrow (www.myspace.com/anthonynarrow)
- Wayfaring Stranger
- Grandma’s Hands
- Devil Gonna Come
- Three Ravens
- Graveyard Boogie
- Only A Miner
- House Carpenter
- The Unquiet Grave
- See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
- Ring Them Bells