Back Again in Fine Form

Live Lunch (Flat Earth Records)
danny flanigan and the rain chorus

By Kevin Gibson

Didn't this danny flanigan guy used to sport a Mohawk?

Kidding aside (he did, you know), it took a while to get my hands around this disc. It's all over the map, for one thing. And at first, I was seriously disappointed that it wasn't a new studio release.

But they make CDs so durable for a reason: So you can listen to them over and over again. So I did. And I'm happy to report that this is an album - especially if you're a fan of the rain chorus - you really should consider buying.

This nicely framed live set from WFPK's "Live Lunch" not only boasts better sound quality and precision than a lot of studio albums I've heard recently, but it makes for a nice overview of flanigan's work.

More than that, it's just a damn good listen. "Save Me," a song from flanigan's Hopscotch Army days, comes across in a whole new light and the beautiful "As It Is In Heaven" (a new-ish rain chorus tune) is absolutely astounding. Check out that guitar solo. Not sure if it was flanigan or John Byrne who let that one fly, but ... damn.

Another newer tune, "Iowa" leads things off in up-tempo bluegrass style, but it's the smoother stuff like "The Clearing" that stands up and takes notice. Once again, we are reminded how precisely this rain chorus of ours blends rock, folk, country and bluegrass. (Truly, when Kelly Wilkinson's backing vocal kicks in during "Save My Life," you'll wonder why country radio didn't snatch this act up long ago.)

I've heard flanigan and friends are gearing up for a new studio release, so I suppose we can consider Live Lunch as something to keep us satiated until then. It's doing the job so far.