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Larry Hosford

Windjammin' – 2000 (Asteroid)

Reviewed by Joel Bernstein

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CDs by Larry Hosford

In the mid-'70's, Larry Hosford released two wonderful albums on Leon Russell's Shelter label, full of clever wordplay and irresistible tunes. He then released a single about Willie Mays that is one of the great baseball songs ever. The few who noticed these probably thought Hosford had fallen off the face of the earth after that - unless they live in central California where he continued to perform regularly. One of his current haunts is called The Windjammer Lounge, hence this album's title and kickoff song.

Hosford can still turn a phrase as well as anyone and also retains his gift for melody. And by now we know of someone his unusual voice is at least comparable to in Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Like Gilmore, Hosford draws on a wide range of musical influences, from country to blues and much in-between. This widely varied album (in tempo, mood and style) of 13 originals has many fine moments, especially the exquisite "Gift Wrap," which proves that a positive love song can be much more than a tuneless batch of clichTs. Other highlights include the wistful "Yolanda" and the bluesy "I Must Have Been Mistaken." Hosford is the kind of fellow who could give singer-songwriters a good name.