Greatest Story Never Told

Greatest Story Never Told

by John McCutcheon


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On his 26th album in a career 30 years long, John McCutcheon (who is "pushin' 50," as he notes in "When I Grow Up") devotes many of his reflections to the passage of time. "The Greatest Story Never Told" is a history lesson devoted to the masses of people who actually make history, but whose names never turn up in the history book. "Ghosts of the Good Old Days" is set in coal-mining country, now abandoned by a younger generation. "Last First Kiss" is a love song that both recalls the beginnings of a romance and celebrates its longevity. McCutcheon often expresses concern that as time passes, he and his characters are being passed by. In "Barbershop," he pays tribute to small-town tradition and criticizes contemporary mall culture, asking, "Here in the 21st century, is there any place left for a man like me?" "Dancing in the Street" is another song with harsh words for malls, as a character declines from five-and-ten employee to derelict. McCutcheon takes comfort in religion ("Children of Abraham") and family ("One in a Million"), and, as usual, he devotes songs to several political causes, among them the Reconciliation Movement for Aboriginal rights in Australia ("Extend a Hand") and a campaign to preserve a lake in Dallas, TX ("Walk on Water"). Two songs comment on the 9/11 terrorist attacks: "Follow the Light" offers hope and comfort, while "Not in My Name" is sung in the voice of God, who denies responsibility for terrorism and, for good measure, the death penalty. McCutcheon matches his music to the subject matter. "Ghosts of the Good Old Days" has a mountain flavor in an arrangement featuring fiddle and mandolin, while "Not in My Name" is the closest thing to rock & roll on the record. Generally, he favors melodic folk-rock, his songs carefully constructed with two or three verses, a bridge, and a catchy chorus that is sung several times. As a songwriter, he is a craftsman, and as he sings the songs in his slightly husky voice, he savors his words. Toward the end of the album, on "Used to Be," he resolves to put his faith in the future, deciding that "the best years are still ahead," and, anyway, "there's no future in how it used to be."

Product Details

Release Date: 09/10/2002
Label: Red House
UPC: 0033651016328
catalogNumber: 163
Rank: 32796

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John McCutcheon   Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Vocals,Hammered Dulcimer
Tom Chapin   Vocals
Pete Barrenbregge   Clarinet,Saxophone
Robert Jospé   Percussion,Drums
Pete Kennedy   Electric Guitar,Vocal Harmony
Michael Mark   Vocals
Tim O'Brien   Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocal Harmony
Jon Carroll   Organ,Piano,Accordion,Electric Piano
Maura Kennedy   Vocal Harmony
Kerrianne Cox   Chant,Vocal Harmony
Stiff Gins   Vocal Harmony
Bob Dawson   Percussion

Technical Credits

John McCutcheon   Producer
Mark Howard   Engineer
Paul Bryer   Engineer
Jon Cobert   Engineer
Gordon Gano   Composer
Billy Oskay   Engineer
Jon Carroll   Vocal Arrangements
Carla Leighton   Art Direction
Bob Dawson   Producer,Engineer

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Greatest Story Never Told 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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