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The Cold Of The Morning

Sid Selvidge

Omnivore Label 2014

Review by David Bowling

 

Sid Selvidge passed away in May of 2013 after battling cancer for two years. He was 69 years old. He was a soothing and gentle singer/songwriter who never really received his commercial due.  For the last 30 plus years, he released a number of albums that were critically acclaimed and are excellent and creative examples of his smooth brand of a soulful blend of folk and pop music.

While he built up a wonderful catalogue of music down through the years, perhaps the gem was his third LP issued way back in 1976. The Cold Of The Morning has been unavailable on CD until now, plus it returns with six recently discovered bonus tracks.

The music was recorded live in the studio with just Selvidge on vocals and guitar accompanied by producer Jim Dickinson on piano. There are only two tracks that vary from that approach as Memphis’ Mudboy and the Neutrons provide a full band background.

The big problem was his label decided not to distribute the album. Selvidge put the pressed albums in the trunk of his car and distributed them himself.

Selvidge had the ability to take songs and interpret them in a very personal way. “I’ve Got A Secret”  is a Fred Neil tune that is given an expressive and somewhat gloomy interpretation.  His yodeling on “The Outlaw” is right out of country legend Jimmy Rodger’s songbook. Patrick Sky’s “Many A Mile” is given a simple folk interpretation. He howls his way through the old field song “Boll Weevil.”

The two tracks with Mud Boy and the Neutrons, “I Wished I Had A Dime” and the jazzy “I Get The Blues When It Rains,” complete with washboard and tuba, are loose and mournful at the same time.

Of all the albums he would release during his lifetime, The Cold Of The Morning is probably his most personal statement. The passage of time has only enhanced its luster as a fine album and hopefully it will get a better reception than it did nearly 40 years ago.

 

Rating: ***1/2

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