Max & Irving – Max & Irving

October 9, 2014

As it is written, so shall it be. And on this privately-pressed folk LP from Massachusetts (by way of Pasadena’s Custom Fidelity label), Meg Redmond (Max) and Nancy Yerrall (Irving) somehow harness the sound of the modern-ish “freak folk” movement many, many years before the moniker existed. Although the year of the release is currently unknown — there are two copies that have sold on Ebay and neither have included a date — but it was committed to tape by Richardson Sound Egineering in Cambridge, MA. Thanks only to Alice Beebe, Paul Barstow, Eric Levenson, WBS, and “all our moral (morill?) and immoral supporters.

The liner notes state:

I have been requested to write something back here concerning the four voices which appear on this album, so let me begin by identifying them. First of all there’s Meg, who is an Aquarius but she’s nice anyway. Then there’s Nancy who is a Yerralli. Doug says she’s nice, too. Next, there’s Max who has been around and wears the purple (oh wow!) belt of my approval. Last, and of course, there’s Irving, who comes to you recently reincarnated. He used to be part of a fishing boat. Now he’s Irving, and that’s who is is. Mostly Meg plays with max and Nancy plays with Irving, but sometimes, as this record shows, they all play really well together. What they play at is music — folk-type mostly — songs you’ve heard before but uniquely arranged in their own mode of expression. Mostly Meg likes to sing melody which is good because she has a very melodious voice. Nancy makes harmony — and sometimes some very funny remarks. Sometimes, too, they write their own songs, like Meg’s “By My Side” on this album. Max and Irving are the unsinging, but not unsung, heroes. Their sound is great. In fact, the amalgamated sound is great — casual, original, and vital. But then, you can’t judge a record by its jacket blurb. Listen. – Gina Burnes

And also:

It is a kind of courage, to give. This album is a gift. It is a first album, and first albums are special gifts. They are a bit like first loves, very new, very exciting — and always very unusual. Perhaps I should stop talking about first albums and introduce Max and Irving, whose sounds have conspired to make this album. Max has been ‘in the business’ for about four or five years. In the words of a friend, his career has been “colorful and notorious”. Irving is somewhat of a newcomer, a veteran of the high seas (I’m told he’s quite addicted to fishing boats and, one would hope, fish). They have been together now for nigh onto six months and have given a few small concerts around the Boston area along with their owners. Owners? Yes. Well, Max and Irving aren’t exactly people, as we know people. THey are more like guitars — as we know guitars. And their owners are on this album too, singing — as we know singing. So this is really a committee of four: Max and Irving, and Max and Irving’s owners. A foursome. (‘It’s getting better all the time …’ Some other foursome said that…). A word about the songs. Yes. Now that I’ve said a word about the songs, I think I’ll say a few things about the songs. A number of them are familiar — ‘Pack Up Your Sorrows’, ‘Tell Old Bill’, ‘Well, Well, Well’. They’ve been around longer than Max, even, but the way Max and Irving (and their owners) do them make them very new — alive even. Then there’s ‘Got You On My Mind’ only a little different …uh huh. Got’cha. Some of the songs are newer: ‘Get Together,’ one of those songs we need more of; ‘Big Blue Frog’, (I personally prefer green frogs, but that’s solely a matter of taste); ‘Jet Plane’ and ‘Gentle On My Mind’, two of the prettiest songs around. Max’s owner does a solo on ‘Hymn’. Solos are nice, especially when they combine a good voice with a good song and a good (albeit colorful and notorious) guitar. There first song on this album, ‘By My Side’, deserves its own paragraph. Max’s owner wrote it. It’s one of those songs one could easily call beautiful. In fact, I think I just called it that — easily. One song hasn’t been mentioned, mainly because I wanted to wait until now to mention it. It’s my favorite song — an old gospel ‘stomping, handclapping’ type song called ‘Get to Be Redeemed’. Some of its words might well be used to describe this album. If “You’ve got a hunger in your heart … a thirsting in your soul”, listen to Max and Irving’s first album. They’re in the business of giving, and in a hungry world, it’s a good business to have around. – J. Cassada – Poet frustratus, amen.

Max & Irving (Meg Redmond & Nancy Yerrall)
Max & Irving
(Custom Fidely, 19xx)
MediaFire DL Link

A1. By My Side [MP3]
A2. Pack Up Your Sorrows
A3. Got You On My Mind
A4. Old Bill
A5. Too Much Of Nothing
A6. Hymn
B1. Big Blue Frog
B2. Get Together
B3. Gentle On My Mind
B4. Well, Well, Well
B5. Jet Plane
B6. To Be Redeemed

 

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