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C h r i s t i n e... L a v i n

sometimes mother knows best

Christine Lavin & Friends
One Meat Ball



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track listing

1. “Blueberry Pancakes” – Annie Bauerlein & Chip Mergott  itunesbuy
2. “Maple Syrup Time” – Pete Seeger itunesbuy
3.“Taylor the Latte Boy” – Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich itunesbuy
4. “Root Beer for Breakfast” – Vance Gilbert itunesbuy
5. “Betrothal” – The Accidentals itunesbuy
6. “Bacon” – Mary Liz McNamara itunesbuy
7. “Orange Cocoa Cake” – Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer itunesbuy
8. “Mocha Java” – Alan Miceli itunesbuy
9. “I Think About Sex” – Ray Jessel itunesbuy
10. “Tomato Puddin’” – Jeff Daniels itunesbuy
11. “Butter” – Megon McDonough itunesbuy
12. “Fudge” – Robin Hopper itunesbuy
13. “Ten Pound Bass” – Sally Fingerett with Jonathan Edwards itunesbuy
14. “The Heartbreak Diet” – Julie Gold itunesbuy
15. “Introduction to ‘Blackberry Winter’” – MaryJo Mundy itunesbuy
16. “Blackberry Winter” – MaryJo Mundy itunesbuy
17. “The History of ‘One Meat Ball’” – Dave van Ronk itunesbuy
18. “One Meat Ball” – Dave Van Ronk itunesbuy
19. “Bottle of Wine” – Tom Paxton with Anne Hills and Bob Gibson / Tom Paxton with Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer itunesbuy
20. “Pie” – Debi Smith with Doc Watson itunesbuy
21. “French Toast Bread Pudding” – Christine Lavin with special guests  itunesbuy

Sorry, Lennon and McCartney – love isn’t all you need. Christine Lavin, folk/pop music’s reigning funny lady for more than two decades, and dozens of her friends across the creative spectrum celebrate another one of life’s essentials – food – in One Meat Ball, a charming, hilarious and unique CD/“cookbooklet” package that we can’t claim is non-fattening. You’ll be headed for the kitchen after just a song or two, then will race back to your stereo to enjoy the rest of the CD.

Christine decided to combine her love of “beautifully crafted songs, the songwriters who create them, and good food,” and went shopping for food songs and recipes among the many musicians she knows and admires, including folk icons Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and the late Dave Van Ronk; Julie (“From a Distance”) Gold; Megon McDonough, Sally Fingerett and Debi Smith (solo artists and members of the Four Bitchin’ Babes group Christine founded); acclaimed a cappella ensemble The Accidentals; folk-blues artist Vance Gilbert; actor/singer-songwriter Jeff (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) Daniels; and sexagenarian Broadway and television veteran Ray Jessel, among diverse and award-winning others. What they “bring to the table” on this CD is a banquet of songs – most of them exclusive to this compilation – about food as purest sensual gratification, as stimulant, antidote, substitute, and metaphor. 

Sequenced to follow the course of a day’s meals and snacks, One Meat Ball opens with a lovely reminiscence of cherished Sunday morning breakfasts, Annie Bauerlein and Chip Mergott’s “Blueberry Pancakes.” Pete Seeger, with grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, exults in “Maple Syrup Time” before Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich open the door to the local Starbucks and find romance with “Taylor the Latte Boy.” For a quick morning blast-off, Vance Gilbert euphorically testifies to the effects of “Root Beer for Breakfast” over a James Brown-style funk vamp. Flat-out food lust is explored throughout the album – on Mary Liz McNamara’s reverential “Bacon” (“I’ll kill the porker with my own bare hands”), Megon McDonough’s “Butter,” Robin Hopper’s “Fudge,” Debi Smith’s “Pie” (with guitar accompaniment and vocal interjections from country/bluegrass great Doc Watson), and Christine’s own album-closing “French Toast Bread Pudding,” which includes a cameo by her idol, Dame Edna. Alan Micelli’s tranquil guitar instrumental, “Mocha Java,” is the perfect coffee break mid-CD.

The disc’s comically plaintive title track and its fanciful introduction come from another one of Christine’s heroes, the late Dave Van Ronk, the folk and blues singer who pioneered the folk revival of the late ’50s and early ’60s, serving as the unofficial “mayor” of Greenwich Village’s MacDougal Street and surrounding music scene. “One Meat Ball” and its intro first appeared on Dave’s final, Grammy-finalist CD, …and the tin pan bended and the story ended…, which Christine helped produce.

In the metaphorical realm, Jeff Daniels seasons “Tomato Puddin’” with light innuendos, and Ray Jessel’s sly “I Think About Sex” offers a wistfully determined alternative fixation. The Accidentals’ “Betrothal” posits a useful litmus test for choosing a mate – the ability to eat “spherical foods” gracefully. Grammy-winner Julie Gold’s reggae-strutting “The Heartbreak Diet” puts a positive spin on a universally negative experience, while MaryJo Mundy’s rendition of the aching, melancholy “Blackberry Winter” is offered as a rationale for brokenheated bingeing. 

The day’s culinary journey winds down with Tom Paxton’s goodtime classic “Bottle of Wine,” spliced together from live performances recorded 19 years apart, first with backing by Anne Hills and Bob Gibson, then by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. The latter duo also performs Peter and Lou Berryman’s “Orange Cocoa Cake,” in which everyday life interferes with recipe transmission.

As if the array of songs, artists and musical styles weren’t satiating, Christine and creative associates have packaged this 21-track CD in a 96-page spiral-bound cookbooklet containing favorite recipes – sometimes related to the songs – supplied by the musicians, their families, and Christine’s wide circle of friends, as well as artist bios and anecdotes. Among the non-musical contributors: Fern Gnesin, former touring caterer for the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson; award-winning illustrator and frequent collaborator on Lavin projects Betsy Franco Feeney (who provides the delightful illustrations throughout the cookbooklet; gourmet chef Christopher Covelli; Christine’s sister Mary, and others.

Since her first “concept tour” – 1989’s “On a Winter’s Night,” which included John Gorka, David Wilcox and Patty Larkin – Christine has periodically rounded up fellow musicians to bring her multi-artist projects to the stage. Starting in 2006, Christine and some of her fellow “Meatballinis” have presented special “One Meat Ball” concerts of the CD’s songs (with the occasional event featuring a dessert buffet during intermission). In August 2006, Christine and the Accidentals performed several One Meat Ball songs and fed host Bill Kates desserts made from the cookbook’s recipe’s at a “Listening and Tasting” special the XM Satellite Radio’s Village Channel 15 studios that was broadcast the following month. We can only rephrase Shakespeare’s immortal sentiment: “If music be the love of food, play on.” And please pass the napkins.


other releases:


Sometimes Mother Really Knows Best
You Can't Relive the Past
The Runaway Christmas Tree