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Chuck and Mary Perrin


The Last Word


Rev-Ola Records


Chuck and Mary Perrin CD coverMany might think of Greenwich Village as the center of the folk music world of the 1960s, but there was a lot happening throughout the entire country. Special notice should be paid to the midwest which brought us such fine acts as The Robbs, as well as this Rev-Ola platter of folk and singer/songwriter-soft pop goodness.

Chuck and Mary Perrin were a brother/sister duo from Pekin, Illinois who recorded two magnificent album gems of privately pressed music on Chuck's own Webster's Last Word label in 1969, fittingly titled Brother And Sister and Next Of Kin. Bob Dylan may have made the trek from Minnesota to NYC, but Chuck and Mary Perrin show there really was no need to leave your home to create a folk inspired brew with a personal vision.

What's amazing about these demo recordings which ended up privately pressed is just how fine they were recorded. Brother and Sister starts us out with a delicate folk tip and tastily strummed acoustic guitars, subtle bass guitar and Chuck and Mary Perrin's glorious vocals.

The duo cover tunes like Eric Andersen's Violets Of Dawn (which The Robbs also covered on their one and only album), Donovan's Circus Of Sour, and The Lovin' Spoonful's Younger Generation (which was also covered by The Critters on their Touch n' Go With the Critters album). These covers are augmented by Chuck Perrin's own brand of folk tunage.

Folks who like Colin Blunstone's vocal style will go nuts over Chuck's reading of John Sebastian's Younger Generation. Apparently, Karen Carpenter was a fan of the duo, and that becomes apparent on Mary vocal tracks like Mornings, while Chuck and Mary duet on You Knew All Along, a Mamas and Papas styled anthem (both original Chuck Perrin songs).

The Next of Kin album is quite another thing which branches out thematically from the first album. With a full band backing, the second album is full of soft rock diamonds mostly written by Chuck Perrin himself. Sounding like a singer/songwriter soft pop creation recorded a year before the decade that brought us that style, The Next of Kin will appeal equally to those who enjoy 1960s groups like The Free Design or 1980s groups like The Marine Girls.

Here Comes The Weekend Again combines plaintive acoustic melodies and handclaps for a dreamy take on the basic question of youth vs maturity. Sundance is a sunshine delight that could've been recorded 15 years later than it really was and would fit perfectly on a Marine Girls creation. Dedication is the muted side of The Marine Girls sound. This Is A Happy Song is Chuck's way of combining humor and pain when he sings "This is a happy song to take my mind off you." It's a no wonder Karen Carpenter was a fan of Chuck and Mary Perrin and it's only a shame The Carpenters' fame kept them from covering these lost gems.

---Patrick, October 12, 2004