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Phil Cody

Big Slow Mover – 2000 (Tiny Head)

Reviewed by Clarissa Sansone

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CDs by Phil Cody

Phil Cody is a little bit country (a little bit funky) and a whole lot rock and roll on his second album, produced by Rami Jaffee (keyboardist for The Wallflowers). Cody's capabilities are apparent in the way he goes from pop song to folky meditation to lovey-dovey ballad to rockabilly-tinged melody, but, while it showcases his skill, his flip-flopping from one style to another also lends a capricious, uncertain air to the collection.

He has no problem dashing off a catchy tune with trendy lyrics, as the opening track "We Could've Had It All" and the overproduced "Opposition Radio" demonstrate, but he excels when he aims for more than marketability.The title track showcases not only Cody's endearingly nasal, Fozzy-the-Bear-ish voice, but also his easy wit, with the line "my watch says beer-thirty" closely followed by "I just read The Fountainhead and now I live for my work." "Joyride," which tells the tale of taking said ride on Judgment Day, is pleasingly wordy, and delivered with a dose of celebratory cynicism.

Emmylou Harris sings backup vocals on the only tune Cody didn't have a hand in writing - Townes Van Zandt's "If I Needed You." Cody composed both music and lyrics for the bulk of the songs. Joe Henry harmonizes on "40 Winks of Sleep," a pretty, bowed-bass number. Although somewhat lacking in cohesiveness, the album is worthy of listen for its solid rhythms and darned clever lyrics. (406 Lincoln Blvd, #213, Venice, CA 90291) Philip Claypool