My Favorite Records:Bill Morrissey – Standing Eight

This is the fifth part in my series of favorite records.

I still remember the first time I heard a Bill Morrissey song. It was Handsome Molly on KPFT in Houston. The songwriting was incredible and his voice was unique. I bought Standing Eight, the album that song was on, the first chance I got. I quickly discovered one of my favorite songwriters.

Bill writes songs that sound like a chapter from a dark, narrative novel- sort of like Cormac McCarthy set to music. In fact, Bill later wrote a very good novel called Edson, which I also recommend.

In addition to Handsome Molly, there are 13 other songs on this record and each of them tells a story of love won or lost, without a hint of melodrama. I had a friend once who could tell a story about folding laundry and make it an edge of your seat experience- Bill Morrissey writes songs like that. Songs about life experiences that everyone shares. He is the best I’ve ever heard at turning a musical phrase.

All of the songs on this record are excellent, so it’s hard to pick out highlights, but I’d have to single out Up on the C.P Line and These Cold Fingers (one of the saddest songs ever) as my favorites, along with Handsome Molly.

If you want to hear new folk music done the right way, this is the album to start with.

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