Turley Richards and Tricia Walker at Homefront

By Paul Moffett

A full house at the Homefront radio taping at the First Unitarian Church on February 13 was treated to two distinctly different approaches to the role of singer/songwriter.

Louisvillian Turley Richards used his songs as a vehicle for showcasing his multiple-octave voice, thoroughly exploring the vocal possibilities of each tune. He had instrumental help in the form of a six-piece group, composed of Pickett's Crossing violinist/fiddler Stephanie White; Mark Noderer on cello; Colorado bassist Tim Brown; Tim Sears on congas; guitarist Dave Tupa and da Mudcats' Jim Rosen on harmonica. Richards had also recruited Audio Hall of Famer Bill Porter to run sound for him.

Richards' compositions ranged from those he had recorded twenty years ago to a recent song called "There's Nothing Wrong with Feeling Lazy." Each tune got the full treatment from all the instrumentalists as well as from Richards' vocalisms. The material was all very personal and written for, about and from the viewpoint of the singer.

Nashville singer/songwriter Tricia Walker brought a Music Row sensibility and excellent vocal ability to her very-well-crafted material, playing tune after tune with just the right amount of instrumentation from her group the Mudcats. The Mudcats (not to be confused with da Mudcats) are Bill Sinclair on assorted horns and reed instruments and Don Potts on acoustic bass.

Walker opened with her "Ride This Train," which was a hit for Mel McDaniel, then followed that with a gospel tune which she characterized as having a Forties feel, "Travel On." Mixing in such standards as "16 Tons," Walker and the Mudcats worked their way through more of her tunes, including the very touching "Looking for Suzanne," a tune about a trucker looking for a long-lost daughter.

Mudcat Bill drew the most spontaneous applause when he mimicked a muted trumpet solo so closely as to be well nigh indistinguishable from the real thing.

The March Homefront show will be the organization's annual Anniversary Show. The lineup includes Alan Rhody, The Mando Dharma Bums, performing the compositions of John Goodin; Zen Penguin, performing Joe Ford's original acoustic rock; Ed Jackson, and Linda Cushing Gower, both of whom are songwriters. The show will be at the First Unitarian Church on March 13, 7:30 p.m.