Loves Lost and Found (Cassette) ~ Tom T. Hall (Artist) Cover Art

Loves Lost and Found (Cassette)

By: Tom T. Hall (Artist)

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The first self-consciously literary lyricist to win acceptance in Nashville, Tom T. Hall opened the door for Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rosanne Cash and other to follow, and his work still holds up today. Character sketches like "Ravishing Ruby" and "Pamela Brown" or narratives like "The Year Clayton Delancey Died" and "Homecoming" are models of how much detail you can pack into a three-minute song if you ruthlessly eliminate every unnecessary word.

Loves Lost and Found is an anthology emphasizing Hall's philosophical ruminations on the topic of love. Unfortunately, it offers only minimal information about Hall's life, recording sessions and chart success. And because of its thematic focus, Loves Lost and Found favors the sentimental side of Hall's work, which is less interesting than his comic and ironic work. Included are a pair of No. 1 country hits: the long list of things "I Love" and a similar list of all the things "Country Is." "Souvenirs" and "We're All Through Dancing" are nicely understated looks at dying love affairs; "Old Enough to Want To" and "Back When We Were Young" examine middle-aged love from comic and sentimental perspectives. "Your Man Loves You Honey" is one of his most complex songs, for it balances a profession of love with a stubborn refusal to change his ways.

Hall never had much of a voice, but he did have a special feel for his own lyrics, giving them the conversational intimacy and disarming cadences which earned him the nickname "The Storyteller." Still, it was his songwriting not his singing which made him a legend, so it's strange that would devote three of its 13 tracks to Hall's versions of other people's songs--especially with so many of his own compositions unavailable on CD. --Geoffrey Himes

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