Kentucky Barbie: “Spellbind”

DNRC042 | LP | 2004 | DELETED

On this, the follow-up to 2003’s breathtaking Police Woman LP, Kentucky Barbie managed to break the two dozen or so hearts that hadn’t been shattered already by her astonishingly evocative and erotic crooning. Eschewing the farmhouse setting of her debut LP, Barbara Ride chose to return to her native Kentucky for the recording of “Spellbind”, setting up an impromptu recording studio on a riverbank in the Purchase area. From opening track “Cumberland Plateau” through to album closer “Along the Western Rim”, Babs kicks out tha jambs singing the intricate geography of her homeland, interweaving her sad tales of acid and plantations with observations as to the climate and landscape in which she grew up. Narrow valleys and sharp ridges of the mountain region are noted for forests of giant hardwoods and scented pine and for springtime blooms of laurel, magnolia, rhododendron, and dogwood. Taking up where “Police Woman” left off, second track “To The West” heads in the obvious direction, its beautiful blending of mandolin and history lesson merging seamlessly with “Plateau Breaks” in a series of escarpments, bordering a narrow plains region interrupted by many single conical peaks called knobs. Surrounded by the knobs region on the south, west, and east and extending as far west as Louisville is album centrepiece and possibly the song of the new millenium, “Bluegrass Country”, its high-pitched squeals the heart and trademark of Kentucky Barbie’s unique wall of plainsong. “Northwest Kentucky” is generally rough, featuring rolling terrain, with scattered but important coal deposits. The isolated instrumental track, referred to as “The Purchase”, consists of floodplains and rolling uplands, and is among the largest migratory bird flyways in the United States. Rivers are an important feature of Kentucky Barbie’s geography. Many rapid creeks in the Cumberland Mountains feed the Kentucky, the Cumberland, and the Licking rivers, which, together with the Tennessee and the Ohio, are the chief rivers of the album. Kentucky’s voice on this album is generally mild, with few extremes of heat and cold. Frankfort is her capital, Louisville and Lexington her largest cities. Bonus track “Fort Knox” is the U.S. Depository.

Post a comment