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The Sounding Board by R J Lannan
RJ Lannan is the reviewer for The Sounding Board.
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Evil and Dangerous Men
By Rick Moses
Label: Solaris Records
Released 8/1/2005
Evil and Dangerous Men tracks
1. The Last Thing I'd Do
2. Evil and Dangerous Men
3. Batia (Good And Strong)
4. The Way Of The World
5. Resurrection
6. Generation
7. Love and Other Acts of Prayer
8. Reflected Light Signature
9. Insert Girl's Name Here
10. Unimaginable Distance
11. The Sailor's Song (You Are Mine)
All is not as it seems!
Apparently somewhere between Roger Whitaker and Cat Stevens there was a sizable niche available, so Rick Moses filled it. And then some. Using brilliant guitar scores and solid composition Moses adds modern touches to traditional folk rock and World melodies. Usually when you think of World music you think sounds from a place other than North America. Not so with this CD. Moreover, Moses employs strong, to-the-point lyrics that superimpose a sense of drama to his messages. There seems to be a familiarity about Moses music. On his new album Evil and Dangerous Men even on a first listen you feel comfortable with his structure, level and flow. Rick’s voice has a mellow timbre to it, and yet there is a razor-sharp edge that borders on the profound.

The Rick Moses of today is a storyteller for the underdog, a chronicler of real life. He notes time and time again that life is full of pain - so get ready. And have faith. The Rick Moses of yesterday was an actor and a musician in Hollywood. He appeared in many feature length films as well as a plethora of television series and yes, even in a soap opera. That’s quite a resume for a man that can musically strip away multiple layers of phony human varnish and reveal the truth suspended below the surface.

The opening track The Last Thing I’d Do is sort of a jaded look at love and its many facets, good and not so good. The male lover suggests that nothing lasts and yet nothing is more fleeting that true love. It’s a bit one sided as we never really know the female’s point of view except for her unrelenting pursuit.

The pitfalls of a modern world are revealed in the title tune Evil and Dangerous Men. Beware that there are always men out there ready to take, to exploit, and to hurt and much worse. It is more or less homage to the human trap door spiders of the world. They are hidden, and then they are there and then it is too late.

The Way of the World is a more sober-sided take on Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s “Teach your Children” only this time Moses spells it out for us. We use modern day babysitters instead of raising our children. The TV, the car, and the credit card have all taken the place of a solid parental role model. We’re just too busy aren't we? Finally, and frighteningly so the song ponders the age old question, "Which came first the killer or the gun?" This song really made me think and reflect.

"Don’t tell me that's the way of the world,
And I will not talk back.
Don't tell me that's the way of the world.
'Cause that will not track."

One of the most noteworthy tracks on the album is Batia (Good and Strong). Putting into music the story of his namesake, Moses reminds us that in our world of today we must see beyond the pale, ragged garments of the obvious. We must look deeper and longer than the passing glance. There is more to see here and usually there is. We are so busy in our WYSIWYG world that we forget that people are quite a bit more complex then they seem. Batia is one of my favorites on the album.

There are two excellent instrumentals on Evil and Dangerous Men. One called Reflected Light Signature and the other Unimaginable Distance are lighter fare that gives us a break from Rick’s earthy observations and allows us to ponder what he has proposed so far. There is a sweet side to his guitar, but it is offered only as desert after we have cleaned out plates.

I think that Rick Moses offers a serious, yet pragmatic look at the way things are just like the ghosts of Christmas Past and Present. His guitar melodies are dynamic and lyrics are chillingly profound. I guess the rest is up to us. Thanks for the heads up, Rick.
Rating: Very Good   Very Good
- reviewed by RJ Lannan on 2/21/2006
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