Able Baker Charlie and Dog..went straight to #1 on the US Acoustic/Folk Dj Charts- March 2008 There is no question, this is a classic acoustic recording.
A powerful, sonically beautiful follow up to his 2004 release, “Fall Down as the Rain.”
Joe Crookston, chosen as a 2008 Most-Wanted Artist by the audience at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, continues to take his songwriting and musical skills to new levels..This is the kind of CD that you'll listen to over and over and continue to discover nuances and meaning throughout…
produced by a master songwriter.
A great cover of Supertramp's "The Logical Song" starts off the CD..an amazing rendition that'll surprise you..
Many of the songs on "Able Baker Charlie & Dog" were inspired by true stories, people, places and events.
After receiving a year-long grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, Joe Crookston set off traveling the rural hills of New York State in search of stories…Stories that became songs…songs that became
Able Baker Charlie and Dog.
Songs about: an escaped slave named John Jones, a conversation between "Dina", a Polish immigrant and her 4-year-old daughter, and a rollicking number about a drunken red rooster eating mash from a whiskey still during prohibition... ...true stories.
The musicianship, his voice, and the overall sound of this recording is First Rate…
“I haven't taken your CD out of my player yet. What an important CD!”
“I am sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. I just finished listening to "Able Baker Charlie & Dog and returned to the beginning for an additional listen.”
"The title track was inspired by Joe's grandfather who was based on Tinian Island during WWII. He and 4000 other Navy Seabees built 4 runways,one of which was used by "The Enola Gay" to fly over Japan."
Joining Joe on this CD is: Richie Stearns and Judy Hyman from the Horseflies, Pianist Molly Macmillan, Pat Wictor, Cary Black, Mike Levy, Kathryn Caldwell and more...
HERE IS A REVIEW OF ABLE BAKER CHARLIE & DOG March 2008
Joe Crookston Able Baker Charlie & Dog (2008)
CD Review by Ceci Gilson MaineFolkMusic.com
It seems Ithaca, NY-based Joe Crookston can hardly set a foot wrong these days. Several of his songs have made it into the final smackdowns of some of the more prestigious national songwriting competitions; John Lennon, Mountain Stage, Great American Song Contest, Performing Songwriter, etc. The audience at the 2007 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival named him one of the Top 3 “Most Wanted” Emerging Artists. This honor landed him a spot on the 2008 Falcon Ridge Preview Tour, commencing this spring.
The title song from his 2005 release, “Fall Down as the Rain,” took me back to the sound of some of Tom Rush’s best work circa 1970 – rich, laid back, and super-melodic. His new disc, Able, Baker, Charlie & Dog features eloquently finger-picked guitar and great arrangements utilizing accordion, piano, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, etc.
Crookston has a wonderfully supple and highly personable voice. He puts across light-hearted songs with spirit and charisma. On the flip side, he delivers heart-breaking lyrics with sensitivity and poignancy. He manages to take the horridly over-played pop hit “The Logical Song” (Supertramp) and give it some some life with great acoustic guitar and fresh vocal phrasing.
In 2006, Joe won a Rockefeller Foundation grant to travel around the Finger Lakes area of New York, interviewing local residents, collecting stories and writing songs based on his experiences. The project was inspired by Woody Guthrie’s work in 1941, collecting stories and writing songs in Washington state on a federal grant. Four of the songs appear on Able, Baker, Charlie & Dog.
The disc has an almost vaudevillian feel to it - it’s highly entertaining and chockfull of variety. There’s something new at every turn; character sketches, stories, stomps, a churchy ballad, some madcap piano, a rousing sing-along concerning a drunken rooster, and another about sports involving rutabagas (you heard me right). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have some fun. Definitely worth the price of admission!
“John Jones” comes from the Finger Lakes collection. An escaped slave lands in Elmira, NY, where he longs for his mother whom he had to leave behind. Judy Hyman of the Horseflies lends some spare beautiful fiddle playing that underscores the poignancy of the situation.
Crookston’s cover of Dan Fogelberg’s “Wandering Shepherd” easily rivals the original. The vocal harmonies of Joe and Jen Middaugh are beautifully supported by the melodic interplay of Crookston’s guitar and Pat Wictor’s slide guitar.
The rollicking “Red Rooster in the Mash Pile” gives us the very fine image of a Prohibition-era rooster drunk on fermented mash (“The boys are making whiskey and the rooster’s drinking too”), crowing til all hours of the night and sleeping through his wake-up call. It’s likely you’ll catch yourself singing this one in the aisles of Hannaford’s….
Another song from the Finger Lakes collection, “Blue Tattoo” finds an Auschwitz survivor trying to answer her young daughter’s curious questions about the war and their life before coming to America. Crookston’s gift for stepping into another person’s skin and telling their story comes through here. In a recent interview on the Me & Thee Coffeehouse blog, he calls himself a “social archeologist” who “unearths the stories buried beneath the clutter of the daily modern world.” He dips into the pasts of everyday people and finds some amazing stories of unsung heroes and forgotten outsiders.
Joe Crookston’s star is rising. Versatile songwriting, excellent musicianship and a charismatic stage presence should earn him a permanent place on the national folk scene. We hope to see him in Maine soon! Catch him in concert – the Falcon Ridge Spring Preview Concert will announce their May dates soon. Joe plays the Falcon Ridge Festival again this year in Hillsdale, NY July 24 – 27, 2008. More info available at www.joecrookston.com.