Danny O'Keefe

REVIEW: Danny O’Keefe “Circular Turns” 2 CD Set


Danny O’Keefe – Circular Turns – 2 CD Set

You can’t mention Danny O’Keefe without mentioning, no – that’s the wrong word.

You can’t say Danny O’Keefe without substantiating his marvelous career by who sang his songbook.

Start with Elvis, move on to Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples, Miranda Lambert, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings, Cab Calloway, Glen Campbell & Ben Harper. I find that stunning. It’s the ultimate acknowledgment.

Danny O'Keefe

The 2-CD (studio & live) set of 32 songs on Circular Turns – (Drops Nov 10-Sunset Blvd Records/CD1 = 71:00/CD 2 = 68:00) was produced by Garey Shelton (bass). Additional cuts were produced by Mick Conley (guitars/bass) & Bill Braun. The 2016 Minnesota house concert (Disc 2) was produced by Danny O’Keefe.

There are some rerecorded earlier works since many are not presently available. Danny’s career began in 1971 & this effort is a worthy reintroduction to this songwriter who hasn’t been as high profile as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, or the late Leonard Cohen & John Prine. But many tunes have penetrated the ears of top-tier singers & many listeners since his songs have been consistently performed & recorded by many.

During Danny’s era, many songwriters shared the spotlight – Tim Hardin, Tim Buckley, Mickey Newbury, David Fogelberg, Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark, J.J. Cale, Jesse Winchester, Kris Kristofferson, Michael Smotherman & Steve Goodman. Each possessed a style, a signature that made a special listening experience. Danny’s in good company.

Some tunes are pop-oriented, many are Americana-based (“The First Time”) while others are light-hearted balladry in a Dan Fogelberg style. Satisfying & memorable (“When You Come Back Down”). There’s the sophisticated “Siamese Friends” & the rockier Bob Dylan co-written “Well, Well, Well.” Followed by the rockabilly-inspired “Steel Guitar” & the Jackson Browne-sensibility of “Soul Provider.”

The live set sounds good with a nice intro & performance on the O’Keefe-Dylan tune “Well, Well, Well.”

Highlights – “Magdalena,” “The Hereafter,” “You Don’t Have To Be Right,” “The First Time,” “When You Come Back Down,” “Siamese Friends,” “Well, Well, Well,” (co-written with Bob Dylan) & “Steel Guitar,” “Soul Provider” & “Last Call.”

Live CD Highlights: “Well, Well, Well,” “Let’s Go Fishin’ Frank,” “The Sidewalk Symphony” & “Goodtime Charlie’s Got the Blues.”

Musicians – Joel Tepp & Bill Cooley (guitars), Jay Turner (bass), Vince Melamed, Beth Chandler & Brooke Lizotte (keys), Ben Smith & Mick Radovsky (drums), Jeff Busch (percussion). Keely Whitney, Lena Bundy. Liz Aday, Tina Hart & Terry Wilson (bgv).

Color image courtesy of Ernie Sapiro. CD @ Walmart + https://dannyokeefe.com/

Leave a Reply!