The intimately expressive vocals on Marilyn Duncan’s first release give listeners the sense that they’re spending all Saturday morning drinking coffee at the kitchen table, talking about…well…old friends and lovers. This album compiles songs written over a twenty year period, so it’s no wonder they come across as such a complete window on a life. Marilyn’s voice is foregrounded, adding to the intimate feel on tracks like “As Long as We Are Friends,” “Valentine,” and the heartbreakingly matter-of-fact title song “Old Friends and Lovers.”
Songs like “Charming Birger,” which tells the story of a young girl who testified against a notorious Illinois gangster, and tunes like “Hillside” and “Family Tree,” take on less personal stories with a tone that’s haunting, almost mythic. The less-is-more accompaniment comes from a skilled group of guest musicians–featuring Harry Dailey, former bassist for Jimmy Buffet.
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“I just love the way Marilyn uses her voice. About one verse in, I thought of the word ‘caress,’ the way she knows when to push it, and when to pull back.”
-Dulcie Taylor, recording artist (Wammie award winner, Soundstage top 12 albums of 2004)