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Candyland

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
  • Run Time: 42 minutes
  • ASIN: B0012GN07G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,905 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is one of my favorite albums. Most of the band is Mellencamp's late-80's formation; four years later, two of these guys (drummer Kenny Aronoff and guitarist David Grissom) were two of the most request session musicians on the planet. Sonically this is a terrific album, and McMurtry is a wizard at writing good songs. How could you miss?
To the earlier reviewer who wanted to know who the guitar player was on Storekeeper: that's David Grissom. Try "Live at Liberty Lunch" by Joe Ely if you like Grissom's guitaring.
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Format: Audio CD
Simply put, James McMurtry is (arguably) the best American folk rocker currently working. He writes great story songs almost effortlessly, with memorable images and clever wordplay. But what really makes him special is that he never lets his lyrical concerns get in the way of his catchy hook-laden songwriting. That said, "Candyland" is perhaps the weakest of his five studio albums (a sixth is on the way in September 2002). It was his sophomore effort and was recorded (like his superior debut album, "Too Long in the Wasteland") under the watchful eye of his musical mentor, John Cougar Mellencamp, using members of Mellencamp's band. That's part of the problem, for McMurtry often sound too much like Mellencamp through much of this album.
Still, there are some first class McMurtry recordings here. The best is "Where's Johnny," that opens the record on a melancholy note with lyrics about a young man whose emotional troubles ruin a promsing future. Also fine are "Don't Waste Away," the rocking "Good Life," and an actual love song of sorts, "Dusty Pages" that closes the album. The rest of the material, however, is not as strong as what you'll find on McMurtry's more recent classic albums "It Had to Happen" and "Where'd You Hide the Body."
Overall, a not bad album from an artist who has produced much better during his career.
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By Willowcat on November 13, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Okay all you out there reviewing this CD, not his best, but it has some songs that resonate. I am shocked that no one mentioned Safe Side. Maybe no one reviewing the CD has lived in San Antonio. He nailed it in a big way. This CD is a little softer than his others, (with the exception of Safe Side), there are ballads, kind of sweet ones. It would not be the first of his CDs in my collection, but to round out all the others it is not at all bad.

The man is a Southwestern Bruce Springsteen. His lyrics are evocative of a part of this country that few artists have written about. Okay, his voice is not what one would call great, but like Springsteen, Dylan, Neil Young and to take it back farther, Woody Guthrie, his unique sound echoes the songs he is singing/writing. Face it, if Celine Dion were singing these songs we would all be hanging our heads over the toilet.

I would strongly recommend his live CD. It gives a bit of insight to the man as well as his music.
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By A Customer on April 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard his music in 1995 being played on Public Radio in LA - the song was "Good Life". I was so riveted by the lyrics and taken by the beat of that song I had to call the station and find out who this guy WAS! Finding the album was tough (days before Amazon)...well lets get to the point. The lyrics are stunning the deadpan vocals are addicting - you can feel the humidity and the see the clouds coming over the plains. One tends to play it over and over for months at a time. My favorite song is... the whole album This artist is truly provocative yet no one I know has ever heard him or heard of him? (No importa nadie, its always been that way). The band is REALLY tight. He is surrounded by excellent musicians (who is that lead guitarist, especially on "Storekeeper"), the production is clean and tight, everything is in its place. This must mean something: my 15 year old daughter, who usually listens to the Backstreet Boys made off with my Candyland - there is hope!
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Format: Audio CD
James McMurtry's Candyland is just a short distance from my home. Acres and acres of pastel colored tract houses with pristine lawns and an SUV in every driveway. The houses are stamped from the same cookie cutter, and so are the folks inside. McMurtry takes a sardonic look at the pressures of conformity (Dusty Pages). Johnny (Where's Johnny) was one of many bright and spirited kids who burned-out and moved to Candyland. And the once simple set of rules defining masculinity (Vague Directions) have been rewritten in Candyland. Kids who used to ride imaginary horses through green fields now sit lazily playing mind-numbing video games for hours on end. Despite the failure of wisdom and pride to bring McMurtry satisfaction (Don't Waste Away), and living in a country that has sold out to the Japanese (Good Life), he's determined to enjoy life's simple pleasures (Save Yourself). McMurtry is an insightful observer and tongue-in-cheek storyteller. His plaintive low-key narrating style is the voice of sanity in a crazed world.
The music of Candyland ranges from tender ballads (Don't Waste Time) to straight-ahead rockers (Vague Directions, Candyland). `Vague Directions' reminds me of the Rolling Stone's `Gimmie Shelter.' The music was produced by John Mellancamp and, despite the sober lyrical content, has an up-lifting quality. Candyland may be a place where "there ain't much magic anymore" (Hands Like Rain), but there's plenty of magic in the songs of James McMurtry.
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