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Two Sets

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Audio CD, July 22, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Chuck Brodsky has been a folk circuit mainstay for nearly two decades, his work has inspired luminaries such as David Wilcox and Kathy Mattea, and some of his baseball songs are in the Hall of Fame. For those unfamiliar with his work, Two Sets, a live-set double CD, is a fine introduction. Brodsky is a story-teller extraordinaire who spins musical tales with the raspy nasality of Dylan, the down-to-earth feel of Greg Brown, the plebian sensibilities of Woody Guthrie, the humor of Steve Goodman, and the robust guitar picking of Doc Watson. He regales with poignant stories of Irish bartenders, mentally challenged folks, everyday heroism, and finding love where you least expect it, but he ll also leave you laughing with a talking blues put-down of lawyers, a road rage parody, musings on being a Jew on Christmas, and the most-inspired first-set finale ever written.


If forced to choose a favourite singer/songwriter from the thousands of artists we carry, Chuck Brodsky would come out at the top of a very select pile. He writes with compassion, wit and a genuine understanding of people; there are few writers who move me to tears with songs, but Brodsky has one that gets me every time, and at least two others that can often catch me unawares! This 2 disc live set gives the songs even more impact as he places them in context with introductions that add even more weight to the stories, and the presentation of the songs with Chuck on acoustic guitar and Don Porterfield on bass focuses the listener s attention on the fantastic lyrics. Chuck not only writes songs with genuine heart, he also has a fantastic line in light-hearted songs, the new song Armitage Shanks is the ultimate song to end a first set, and Talk to my Lawyer one of a number of his songs that take a sideways swipe a modern society. For all the humour and sharpness in these songs, it s the more serious pieces that steal the show, another new song Lili s Braids is genuinely heartbreaking; Radio remains a powerful song even after 10 years of repeated listening, and The Man Who Blew Kisses has a wonderful, uplifting story to tell. These are just five of the twenty-five songs on this two disc set, and together they represent a fantastic record of some of Chuck s finest songs. Those who already know Chuck will need no further invitation, but if you don t know his work I urge you investigate this album he genuinely is one of the very best, and this (and all his studio albums) come with the highest recommendation! --Fish Records

When Chuck Brodsky started making his mark, music fans and media had long-since stopped looking for the next Bob Dylan. That s probably a good thing, because today s pop culture would not know its troubadour if Woody came back from the dead. Brodsky is more a child of the next Bob Dylan s. He s the next, John Prine for his irony, Harry Chapin for the story songs and portraits, Tom Paxton for his accessible wit, Loudon Wainwright for the sharpness of his commentary and Steve Goodman for his love of baseball and the charm in his distinctive voice. He s been around long enough to have a loyal following and a repertoire that goes back 1981. Two Sets refers to just that, one on each CD in this live collection. Each song is special in its own way, whether touching, funny or thoughtful. For every Blow em Away, a first person account of a road raging warrior with a gun, there is a song like The Man Who Blew Kisses about a mentally challenged fan. His songwriting inspiration comes such various places as the evening news, his own family heritage and the stories gathered on the road. Brodsky s political commentary is as sharp and on-target as the songs that awoke a generation forty years ago. Here are two sets of music you don t want to miss, from an artist with enough memorable material to leave his fans wanting more! Michael Devlin --Music Matters

Chuck Brodsky's a folkie through and through, spinning out down-in-the-dust tales of the common man...except when slinging bullets and arrows at injustice, as in the intro cut He Came to Our Town, inveighing against political reptiles and smooth-talkers. The guy plays a fine guitar but the stories are the point, and the composer tells of the upsets, happinesses, contentments, curiosities, frustrations, and novelties of life in its endless expected and unexpected sidepaths and turns. Dock Ellis, for instance, relates the humorous true yarn of a pro baseball player who'd just discovered LSD...and pitched a no-hitter under the influence. This 2-CD set was taken from gigs in North Carolina, Georgia, and Ireland, live of course, and plainly shows the minstrel's role in Brodsky's low-key but attractive style. Once he begins letting the line out, every fish is hooked and reeled in, happy to be gaffed and waiting for the next length of filigree to play out, shimmering in the sun. The audience hoots, whistles, applauds, and laughs as each unexpected turn in the road takes them down familiarity with a twist. There's a time for cynicism and a time for joy, but Chuck Brodsky tends to walk the middle, finding warmth in the foibles and weaknesses of human beings as well as solace and hope in their strengths and common spirit. Yes, it's feel-good work, but not of the Reader's Digest variety rather of a non-judgemental understanding that we're all trapped in circumstances often beyond our control. 9:30 Pint readily demonstrates the situation, sympathetic to individuals meshed within a concatenation of events they never had much of a say in the creation of. I chose this disc because the guy who runs this site spoke well of Brodsky. Sometimes I agree with Dave's overviews, sometimes I don't (in fact, I Iook for certain somewhat negative adjectives for discs as indications that I'll like what he doesn't our tastes have differences, after all), but this was a great choice, much like watching a good European movie imbued with the kind of humanist spirit too many American flicks completely ignore or artificialize. There's no fakery here at all, just lots of great listening for a good long while. --Mark S. Tucker - Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

Disc: 1
1. He Came to Our Town
2. Bill & Annie
3. Doc Ellis' No No
4. Radio
5. A Toast to the Woman in the Holler
6. Intro
7. Dangerous Times
8. Lili's Braids
9. Old Song Handed Down
10. The Point
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Take It out Back
2. Irate Letter
3. The Come Heres and the Been Heres
4. Trees Falling
5. Intro
6. La Migra Viene
7. Intro
8. Letters in the Dirt
9. Talk to My Lawyer
10. Two Left Feet
See all 17 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 22, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Records
  • ASIN: B0018YIVPI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,322 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Hamilton on July 31, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Until January, I had never heard of Chuck Brodsky. When my local paper did a piece about an upcoming performance he was doing, I was intrigued enough by his story, since we get so little live music locally, to go see him. And to bone up ahead of time, I picked up this album so I'd know what to expect.

Little did I know what a life-changing event that would be.

By the time Chuck rolled into town a week later, I was rabidly excited to see him perform. And he did not disappoint. The night was downright transcendent. The music, the man, the songs, the stories between them (some of which are included here)--all of it.

I've since purchased nearly all of Chuck's CDs, savoring them one at a time. But this remains far and away my favorite. For those who've seen him, it serves as a souvenir of Chuck's amazing live persona. For those who have not, it should--if you're inclined to like simple, gorgeous music like this--as a sampler to whet your appetite.

For the record, I am a don't-wanna-grow-up 45-year-old married guy with kids with very--very--far-ranging tastes in music. I tend toward trance, punk, emo, reggae, and power pop. But I also like alt country/roots/Americana...and in the case of Chuck (Can I say it?), folk music. He's opened up a whole new world to me and broken stereotypes. It's all about the songs, the heartfelt singing, and the amazing guitar playing. Oh, and did I mention the songs?

Incidentally, one new song included here, "Lili's Braids," is worth the price of the album alone. A true story (as many of Chuck's songs are) about the Holocaust and its aftermath, it has brought tears to my eyes more than once. Haunting and gorgeous.

I can't wait until Chuck rolls through my town again. It won't have the newness of my first time seeing him, but I think I'll appreciate even more. Meanwhile, I've got "Two Sets" to take me back to that magical evening. Thanks, Chuck.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't know how I managed to miss out on Paul Brodsky, but I did. I'm hoping this review will give some folk music fans the word. He's a great singer songwriter whose music is both topical and moving. I'd agree with the assessments that Brodsky is one of the best songwriters out there.

"Two Sets" is 25 magnificent songs recorded in various venues across the world from Dublin, Ireland to Asheville, NC.

Subjects range from racism and baseball (Richie Allen), small towns, immigration, and religion.


"Letters in the Dirt" talks about Richie Allen's baseball career in the 60's. Being a Black player, there was a lot or racial tension, which Chuck never understood and his father never explained.

"Lilli's Braids" impossible to listen to without tears in your eyes. This one's about a young Jewish girl who gets her braids cut to save them from the Nazis.

"Come theres and been heres" This song details the difference between longtime residents and newcomers in a small town.

"La Migra Viene" talks of Brodsky's experience being the only legal white person on a crew of Hispanic immigrants picking apples in Washington. The title is what the immigrants shouted when the yellow Immigration bus showed up.

"We are each other's angels" talks about doing good deeds for each other.

"Talk to my Lawyer" talks about our litigious society.

If you love folk, particularly biting humorous tunes, you really need to listen to this collection. It's really well worth the money.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2008
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By LB on January 3, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Chuck is probably one of the most talented songwriters in the folk music scene. His songs can be funny, serious or very moving.

I've seen him perform several times and can say these are most of the songs I like to hear him perform. When I see a performer I ask if they have a live CD so I can go home and hear their music the same as I've heard it played tonight, and usually the answer is "Sorry, No".

If you've seen him live, you'll love these two sets. If you haven't then do yourself a favor and check him out when he's in your area and you'll really appreciate this album.

If you don't get a chance to see him then this album will give you a good idea what you're missing.
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