Old Friends: Greg Brown and BIll Morrissey


Someone just asked me on FB, what, off the top of my head were the top ten books I’ve read in my life. I admit, I had to think about that for a while. It was not an instant recollect, which surprised me somewhat.

If someone asked me to do the same about records I would be much quicker to respond. And though the record the Dog shares today is not in that elite company of the TOP 10, it is definitely a stayer. It has been in my collection for more than 15 years and is played very regularly.

Greg Brown, the Iowa born, Minneapolis living singer/songsmith has over the years eased himself, quietly, steadily and with no fuss or muss, into the ranks of America’s best lyricists/writers. His well deserved reputation has long since ceased being the ‘secret’ of the Twin Cities folk scene and is now recognized by most critics and fans of quality, solid music. His lyrics are by turn wry, poignant and deeply moving especially when accompanied by some of the sweetest melodies and guitar picking on either side of the Mississippi. But what has always nailed it for this humble fan is his world-weary baritone that is polished as an old brass doorknob.

Bill Morrissey, was born in New England and like Brown, was at the time of his early death but 3 years ago, regarded as another American folk jewel. His voice is somewhat more fragile, not to say frail and in this setting makes a lovely counterpoint to the river-deep tones of singer friend, Brown. The chemistry between these two quiet achievers is palatable on this very satisfying record of understated but lively interpretations of standards, classics and the songs of their friends. Not bothered about duetting on every number, they are completely comfortable with soloing as well as sharing the tune. You get the feeling that here are two old mates, sitting in a hotel room or around a fire place in a country bar, jamming, sharing laughs and favorite tunes.

In a word: delightful.

Friend of Mine

Track Listing:

01 Ain’t Life a Brook

02 Little Red Rooster

03 He Was a Friend of Mine

04 Memphis, Tennessee

05 The Road

06 You Can’t Always Get What You Want

07 Duncan and Brady

08 Tom Dula

09 Summer Wages

10 I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive

11 Fishing with Bill

12 Baby, Please Don’t Go



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