David Munyon and Mary’s Band – Some Songs for Mary

Album Review | Mobile Home Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

With the best will in the world it’s difficult to avoid comparisons between David Munyon and JJ Cale; both have the distinct feel of deep Southern swamp-rock, a country sensibility and an exciting groove without seemingly breaking into so much as a slight sweat.  I normally steer well clear of any artist who declares “I just ask God to help me write a good song for the folks, and I just hold the guitar and pencil” but on this occasion I was curious enough to proceed further and in doing so, I discovered something quite interesting indeed.  With a well-worn and weathered voice that not only echoes the aforementioned JJ Cale but also has a pinch of John Prine thrown in, we have here a back porch album that would be a suitable soundtrack for any garden barbecue you may be planning this Summer. That is if we get one this year.  Kicking off with the soulful “Let’s Dance This Night Away” Munyon is in Ben E King mood with a thoroughly tight band featuring some pretty good sax work by Stewart Curtis and the unmistakable pedal steel playing of BJ Cole.  The swamp rock reference doesn’t apply anywhere better than to “Song for the Dalai Lama”, although I’m slightly bewildered at what exactly constitutes ‘grooving with the Dalai Lama’.  I have to point out that it sounds much more enlightening than, let’s say, jiving with the Archbishop of Canterbury or do-sa-do-in’ with the Pope.  There are more sensitive moments on the album, for instance “Angels All Around Us”, which ponders upon some of the basic codes of life, that we should help someone when we can, and get up whenever we fall.  Munyon delivers such messages with sincerity but not sentimentality.  “Song for Mother Mary”, a song of salvation, once again manages to carry its message without being overtly preachy.  I’m left with the urge to flick through John 3:16, just for curiosities sake.  Some Songs for Mary concludes with “Grace” an all-out rocker to brandish your air guitar to when the garden barbecue becomes a bit slow.  All in all, the album transcends the basic spiritual overtones and I guess the message comes through to those who wish to receive it, whilst others can enjoy some pretty good enjoyable songs and music at the same time.