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Hundred Dollar Valentine

Chris SmitherAudio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Price: $16.83 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 19, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Signature Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,217 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Smither s cosmic blues are on full display in Hundred Dollar Valentine, a brilliant amalgam made of equal parts past, present and future. It is music that traces its roots back deep into
tradition, anchors its rhythms and textures in today, and reaches forward into the future, asking the Big Questions - why am I here? Is there purpose to all of this or is it just a spinning cascade of random moments? And he does it all with six strings, an insistent, understated groove and a sly wink letting you know that we may all enter and leave this world alone, but
that don t mean we can t have a good time while we re here.

Hundred Dollar Valentine, Smither s twelfth studio disc, is a masterwork. It sports the unmistakeable sound he s made his trademark: fingerpicked acoustic guitar and evocative sonic
textures meshed with spare, brilliant songs, delivered in a bone-wise, hard-won voice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:MP3 Music
I go back with guitarist Chris Smither, who was raised in New Orleans, studied Paris both for a while in public school and later in college, and migrated to New York and then Boston where at Club 47 he made his first major career notices. Smither would be on the folk festival scene (I'd see him at the Philly Folk Fest) and then "below the radar" for a few years, coming back like the Phoenix to attract new listens and re-engage with old fans.

I liked his CD released in 2012 and was awaiting this one, surprisingly his first album of all original compositions. There are some real goodies here and Smither's guitar playing (and his tapping feet, which are almost a signature sound for him) is - as expected - superb. I guess the title track is my favorite. Even though Smither wrote all the songs, they aren't all new. There is a "hidden bonus track" (#11), which is his 1984 song "Rosalie" in what is described in the notes as An after-hours "B" Room Field Recording". It's just Chris with his guitar and minimal production.

The album includes a 12 page booklet with the lyrics to the 10 songs which form thr core of the album (in easy to read typeface).

Fans of Smither will enjoy seeing that, while - at age 67 - he continues to grow as a songwriter, he still looks back to where he's been.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars new blood needed January 8, 2013
Format:Audio CD
As I said elsewhere in a comment-on-a-comment, I don't care for the singer (Anita Suhanin) or the harmonica (Jimmy Fitting) - both have chops and pedigree but are just a distraction here, adding nothing. The harmonica really just sounds cliched. Never thought I'd say this, but I think it's time for Mr. Smither to challenge himself by stepping away from producer Goodrich and his stable of regulars. I'm a long-time fan and think the guy is fabulously talented, but this production isn't doing him any favors- it is just Bland. The best Smither remains his "Live As I'll Ever Be" (acoustic) and "Up On The Lowdown" (studio album). That being said, a sub-par Smither album beats 90% of what's out there today.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valentine July 22, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Chris Smither as any fan would attest is a unique artist. His extraordinary skill with the guitar combined with his fantastic ability to make magic out of simple words and his gravelly voice are an incredible combination. This album is another example of his superb skill which like a good wine only gets better as he gets older. I love it and would encourage anyone to give it a listen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best January 2, 2013
By Eric H
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I consider myself a fan of Chris Smither, but have yet to "get into" this CD. I appreciate a Smither CD for it's virtuoso guitar play and meaningful lyrics. The lyrics retain his high standard, but the guitar play has so far been lost to me on this work. His vocals have always been an acquired taste, but seemed weak here, though the spare back-up vocals did help.
Still, no regrets for having purchased this, it's just that he's done better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still kickin' August 13, 2012
Format:MP3 Music|Verified Purchase
I could use the old saying that Chris Smither is like a fine wine that improves with age. But that would imply that his earlier work was less impressive than what he's doing now. The truth is that with a musical career spanning some 40 years or so, Mr. Smither has always been impressive. How he never became super famous during the singer-songwriter era is a mystery to me, but that was a bit before my time, so I can't explain it. He's been writing and playing great bluesy folk music since before I was in diapers and as I sit here now with grey hairs on my chinny chin chin, I find that more than a little bit amazing.

My sense is (though I don't know for sure) that he's finally getting quite a bit more popular now, thanks in part to the democratization of music on the Internet. Not so long ago the only way to discover new music was to listen to the radio (or have a friend make you a "mix tape!"). Alleluia those days are gone! We now have services like Amazon, Pandora, and Rhapsody (just to name a few) where good talent is never far away and you don't have to depend on record producers and radio station execs to tell you what you like. I think Chris Smither thrives in this new environment because he is truly talented, and most everybody who stumbles on his music gets hooked.

If I had one critique of Hundred Dollar Valentine, it would be that the accompanying musicians are just not needed. The harmonica is blazing, the backing vocalist has a pretty voice, the drummer is good... they're all fine. Fine fine fine. But they are gilding a lily. Chris Smither is at his very best when it's just him and his guitar... his big scratchy voice, flying fingers, and thumping foot. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert a few months ago and it was an incredible experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ain't Hurtin' July 21, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Three of the 11 tracks here are tunes Chris has previously recorded, "I Feel the Same," "Every Mother's Son" & "Rosalie." While they are all great songs and nice to hear again, these recordings are not so different from their original recordings. There are some new gems here that his fans and fans of melodic acoustic folk will love. "Hundred Dollar Valentine" that opens the set is a delightful piece of upbeat folk-rock that marries Smither's unique sense of melody with his wry lyrical sense, "I flip my switches but I don't turn on, not a flicker; I got no juice today; I had a lighter in my carry-on, but the airline took it away." "What It Might Have Been" is a classic loping lament where Chris sounds like the loneliest man on earth, "I lost a lot of things 'fore you came; I've learned that losin' is part of the game." "What They Say" has Chris' trademark foot tap keeping time to a joyful tune in juxtaposition with his wry lyric, "They say the good die young, but it ain't for certain; I been good all day & I ain't hurtin'." Other tracks like the intriguing "Feeling By Degrees" & the knee-slap ditty "Make Room for Me" are also delights. Every new release by Chris Smither is a cause for cheering & "Hundred Dollar Valentine" is no exception! Enjoy!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars still thinking
Chris Smither is a thinking person's songwriter. Like his style or don't but listen to what he has to say and you'll have some thoughts to mull over. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John D. Gerndt
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort...
I like Chris Smither. Is this his best body of it is a light year ahead of anything else I've heard latley. His playing is inventive and his lyrics original... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Tom Connelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Smither
He is so good, amazing folk playing guitar to match his sometimes good, sometimes moderate voice. Don't take that in any negative way, combined they are always a force to be... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Andrew thelongdivider
5.0 out of 5 stars Smither continues which is sort of like "The Dude abides..."
- every time you get an inkling that Chris Smither has said what he had to say and played what he had to play, he comes up with new things to say & play, as well as new ways to... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dean Quarrell
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I read a very positive newspaper review of the cd. Now I regret having spent money on purchase and postage.
Published 16 months ago by Rosalie Bunton
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris Smither
This was bought as a Valentine's Day present for my wife! We have had an especially trying year and this brought a little joy into our lives!
Published 18 months ago by Legs
4.0 out of 5 stars Chris is always good
This album is a fine, straightforward look at the Chris Smither style, immediately recognizable and pleasant, but lacking the grit, wisdom, and passion of his previous records over... Read more
Published 19 months ago by R. Winston
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Chris Smither
you will love him even more after you hear this cd. This latest is the product of a maturing artist, with all his characteristic humor, humanity, and originality.
Published 20 months ago by Linda McAlister
3.0 out of 5 stars I feel cheated
As a fanatical fan of Chris, I feel cheated with this album. A new album should not contain songs which feature on more than one past album of his. Read more
Published 21 months ago by roger thain
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift CHoice
This was actually a "boss' day" gift to a phenomenal CEO and he was very happy with my choice! Thanks!
Published 21 months ago by FM RODRIGUEZ
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