Doing Our Job

Tom Chapin & John McCutcheon

WVA Occasional, 12/97

Doing Our Job,
John McCutcheon & Tom Chapin,
Rounder Records, 15 selections

Anyone who has seen either John McCutcheon or Tom Chapin, (or both) knows the good humor, energy and musical insight consistently delivered in each of their live perfor-mances. Both McCutcheon and Chapin are cut, as John explains, "not only from the same cloth, but also woven into the same fabric." For such two respected and Grammy nominated artists, this recording captures the magic of two powerful solo performers combining talents. Adding two versatile side-men, Doing Our Job does marvelous justice to their considerable talents.

Doing Our Job is a new collaborative effort recorded live in two venues, at the Sheldon Theater, St. Louis, Missouri, and the Brown Cen-ter, Arkansas City, Kansas.

High energy and audience participation kicks off the recording with "Well May the World Go."

One of the bonuses of this recording being live is the opportunity for John and Tom to add some between-cuts dialogue which makes the recording even more interesting.

"Northfield" is an outstanding short one-verse a capella gospel quartet with the side men joining in, which then morphs to "Pass the Music On," featuring John on banjo, ham-mer dulcimer, and fiddle, plus the excellence of the vocal harmonies. "Pastures of Plenty" is a classic Woody Guthrie number with some pretty unfolky, albeit outstanding, instrumentation featuring John's hammer dulcimer and Bobby Read's soprano sax.

A tribute to the work the ordinary people do, McCutcheon's "Doing My Job" com-memorates the humility of Cal Ripken's remarks after his record number of consecutive baseball games. John shows how all people "are just only doing our jobs/, Like folks everywhere/, Where I come from/It's just how things are done." McCutcheon and Chapin were doing their jobs quite well, too.

And so on. This recording showcases the respect John McCutcheon and Tom Chapin have for each other.

Fortunately, we all get to hear it captured on this must-have CD.

In the Walnut Valley Festival list of artists: