"On HodgePodge, Glenn serves up some excellent bluesy/jazzy originals. Like sitting down to a down home southern Sunday dinner, this is fine musical comfort food." Phil Hirschi, former cellist with John McClaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra
"HodgpePodge is an eclectic groove that reminds me a little of Lour Reed. There is a lot of richness to mine in both lyrics and music." Nina Laden, nationally acclaimed author and illustrator.
HodgePodge is a Whitman''s sampler of all original music written by Glenn Frank (aka Glennwood) with musical assistance from his son Woody and help from several other fine musicians - Will Dowd on various percusssion instruments, Mason Hargrove on jazz guitar (4 songs), Charles Wicklander on keys (3 tunes), Lisa Nagouchi on violin (1 song) and Nick Soini on the vocal of "A Number of Things" (the lost Beatles song I wrote for them).
The songs were written over a period of 40 years - 1967-2007, hence the variety. There is blues rock, jazz, a pop song, a bluegrass sample, a country song, a harmonica instrumental. What else could you want? OK, sorry but the classical tune did not make it onto the CD. Next one for sure.
So far the CD has been delivered and/or sold to many friends and relatives - including friends in Slovakia and France. My Iranian hair stylist thinks this would play well in Europe, where she lived for a while in Vienna. Works for me.
Here is a review of the CD by music reviewer Joseph B. Wade:
Hodgepodge – A Compilation of 40 years
In which Glenn, a quick-change artist evokes many and reveals much. An even dozen, just shy of a full suit from Ace to King, neatly divided between instrumentals and tunes with lyrics. Neatly divided too between morning, afternoon and happy hour. Some songs for long sunny days and warm nights, and others for more chilly times.
We can probably remember thinking back on the events of our lives, the moves, the jobs, the friends, and the things that memorialize them, the pictures, the artwork, and the albums and CD’s we have collected as a Museum of a Peculiar Life. Sometimes that’s just what we end up with after a casual stroll through life. We’re left with a hodgepodge. Not so Mr. Frank
Playing through the CD I found much to capture my attention; insightful lyrics, smart ensemble play, and some songs that just “worked” from start to end. Glenn thinks that he’s thrown together a “hodgepodge” of songs covering 40 years of his musical life (and single life, and family life, and spiritual questioning, not to mention having three children). But I think that this CD is not “a gathering of property for distribution to the heirs of an intestate parent” – one meaning of “hodgepodge” pointed out in the CD booklet. This is a Masters Thesis from a man who has achieved a level of mastery in the specialty of his own life. And the art of song.
This collection runs a wide course, as a mature river should. It begins, as every former salesman knows it should, with a joke. The Quarter Century 25-year Freakin’ Out Blues tells an attention-starved “wild woman” hungry for marriage that if she gets any more wild “I’m gonna call the city zoo, and they’re gonna come getcha!” to a strong backbeat, and bottle-neck wailing guitar. This moves easily into Your Own Sake (Instructions for Self) , with almost the same beat and instrumentation. Almost, but already the scene has begun to change. There’s that piano and a little more funk in the drum pops. Now we’re not in the background of a domestic comedy, we went out for cocktails with a smart friend.
The transition to the next piece is almost too sharp, which should really be situated as the centerpiece of the collection, in the library with the lamps low, not so close to the front door. The song totally redeems itself from poor placement in several ways though. Musically the genuine wailing blues is right on, especially the break at the turning point in the story. The lyrics? I’ll just say the pun on “wholly acceptable” and the quote from Kierkegarrd (happily - for me - footnoted) alone make this a song worth a place in that library. When in doubt remember; “…where’s the lamb?” Faith? Obedience? Innocence?
That’s no hodgepodge.
What follows is musical relief from a suite of instrumentals for Guitars and Drums. Chillin’, The Fox, and Schwingin’. All journeyman works, especially The Fox, for my money the most accomplished and atmospheric instrumental piece on this collection. The Fox knows where to look. The Fox endures.
Schwingin’ wraps up the suite with brushes on the snare and a line from Glenn’s son Woody on left-handed Bass that made me think of Jacko Pastorius. This song sounds like it is searching for sophisticated lyrics and female vocalist.
Cheap Shots is talking blues that bring us back to that conversation with that smart friend over drinks. At this point an old man at the bar explains everything and tells it like it is. Full of surprising observations and ironic juxtapositions, he ends up telling us “look it up in your Funk and Wagnall’s…”
A Number of Things , with its low violin and slowly descending melody is the emotional apotheosis of the collection lyrically. Do theses things really work out? Will that descending melody ever hit bottom? I was glad for the Kierkagarrd footnote in Faith, is it too much to ask what that French guy was saying at the end of A Number of Things?
Well, if the next piece, Morning Sun, Mourning Daughter, Morning Son is telling the truth, and I strongly suspect that it is, maybe it does all work out. It is simple and sweet, pretty and short. I don’t know how it feels for Glenn, but I’m grateful for this piece.
Alligator Alley is a nighttime run through the swamp with one headlight out. All locomotive backbeat and driving harmonica, with a little of Jacko – channeling from Woody again.
How about some flat pickin’? Coming right up. Grassin’ keeps the locomotive beat from the swamp, but this time the road runs through the hollows and hidey-places back to where they brew their own. We BLUE-Grassin now.
Waltzing in at the end is another joke, a song about a song getting written and then performed. ¾ Country Song is just that. A sweet, slightly mournful electric guitar (Woody again) backs up the strum of acoustic, a piano occasionally throws in a comment. Country songs should be simple three-chord affairs, staying in shallow musical waters but this one just keeps on mentioning E-minor. Like a drunk who keeps bringing up his ex. This might get played slyly at a hard liquor cowboy bar at the end of the night when nobody’s paying much attention as long as it “sounds country”.
That sly E-Minor chord in the country song might make an old timer at the bar stop, shot-glass half way to his mouth and think “ Now what are those long-haired hippy boys up to now? That thar song’s just a hodgepodge” But by now you know it’s not.
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