Never Missed a Beat

Baby Blue (Rubric Records)
Mary Lou Lord

By Kevin Gibson

My good friend Rob turned me onto Mary Lou Lord several years ago by way of the exquisite guitar-pop album Got No Shadow. His ex-girlfriend is responsible for getting him hooked. Now I'm passing the addiction on to you, because like a drug, Lord's shimmering voice will get into your brain and nest there.

Baby Blue surfs over jangly guitars and sugary melodies, playing Lord's voice almost perfectly. Collaborator Nick Saloman, who produced and wrote most of these tunes, must be an addict as well; he passes this off much like a Beatles fanatic would create his own Fab Four compilation for the public to show off the best the Beatles had to offer.

The title track, a cover of the wonderful Badfinger tune, actually isn't the best track on this disc, even though it seems to be the one Lord addicts are talking about. But the guitar-and-vocal magic of "Farming it Out" jumps out, buoyed by the simple magnetism of Lord's voice. And "The Wind Blew All Around Me" kicks the whole thing off with a smooth, mid-tempo rocker that could have made it onto an Eagles album in another lifetime. (In truth, it may owe a little too much to "Take it Easy," but I'm not complaining.) She even covers the old Pink Floyd tune, "Fearless," which comes out of left field but lands gently and successfully.

All in all, the double-tracked vocals are all in the right place, the guitars ring beautifully (Saloman's work) and this is one album that won't be easy to shake once you've heard it. Maybe there's a 12-step program out there for people like me.