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MP3 Rick Cordes - Missin' the Point

"Missin the Point" is a 14 song work of 60''s & 70''s "influenced" but FRESH country/folk & rock with strongly provocative and introspective lyrics. The songs are honest, heartfelt, and universal. The Review by music critic Alan Monasch describes it best.

14 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, COUNTRY: Modern Country

Missin'' The Point: Don''t Miss It
by Alan Monasch

Rick Cordes is a two-fisted songwriter and performer with a huge heart, who keeps both hands on the wheel as he drives us through his world on his new CD, "Missin'' the Point." Appropriately enough to at least one of its themes, I first listened to this magnum of opus on a midnight drive from L.A. to the Bay Area. It was perfect driving music, from the opening ambient traffic sounds to the powerful close, much of the drive coming from the drum and bass work credited to Joe Barnett on percussion and keyboards, even more coming from the drive of the lyrics and chord structure of the songs.

There is not a lot of instrumental frippery on these fourteen songs, all Rick''s originals, that comprise the CD. The remarkably well-recorded, arranged and played acoustic guitar and vocals, all by Rick himself, are sometimes given carefully-arranged, lush production with the addition of piano or synthesizer parts (Barnett again, one assumes). This is an altogether professional outing; there is nothing in the music that seems at all off the point, and the packaging, graphic design, and lyric book are nothing short of professional.

As for the songs themselves, they can be grouped into a few categories. First and foremost of these are the songs about the working man attempting to keep pace in an increasingly difficult world of bills, responsibilities, taxes and other everyday concerns. "Missin'' the Point," being the title cut of the CD, elucidates this theme best, offering advice to those who are moving too quickly and mindlessly to notice that there are roses, no less stop to admire them ("A change of heart that''s what you need/Stuck in a bad American dream/You''re missin'' the point.")

Also in this category is the song mentioned on the cover (and a graphically sumptuous car-themed cover it is, too,) "Movin'' to Mars," where Rick, tongue planted in his humor-loving cheek, even when making a serious point, says, "Tired of runnin'' scared and losing pace/Need to break away from the human race/Find me a home in outer space, where there ain''t nobody in my face." This song is so professionally produced it''s almost scary, in a Martian sort of way, but it makes me hope that Rick doesn''t make good on his relocation plan.

"Same Old Song" (work sucks) and "I Want My Money, Too" (taxes suck, too) complete this group. I can''t help but hope that this CD gets Rick out of the rat race and into the studio permanently.

There are four songs I think of as kind of character studies; three are uproariously satirical. The straightforward one, "Small Town Superstar," extols the virtue of Johnny, a local bass-playing favorite big fish in a small pool who adamantly likes where he lives and doesn''t hunger for the bright lights.

"Calls Himself a Cowboy" is just hilarious, and I find that I don''t want to give away the reasons. I really like way Rick dissects this Starbucks-totin'' slicker with spot-on observations and interesting turns of phrase.

Another car afficionado is given her due in "She Drives Her New BMW," in which an L.A. probably-wannabe is skewered and roasted to perfection for our entertainment.

Also in this group is "The First Time We Met," where the joke is on the narrator, who spends the song learning the value to his bladder of drinking hard liquor rather than beer. The song mentions urination, vomiting, inebriation and underwear, and features the increasingly tortured transmogrification of the term "too drunk to think straight." Oh, and it''s a song about unrequited love, kind of.

And there are real love songs, with great passion that shows us, I think, just who Rick Cordes is. The least of these, though it is in no way small, is "You Can''t Say That," its point being that the narrator''s partner can fault him for his ways, but cannot claim that he doesn''t love her.

"Already Been To Heaven" is Rick''s rumination about life without his wife, expressed as the reverie of a man whose wife is gone. I think it has some of the best lyrics on the CD: "Bigger house than I''d thought now that it''s just me/These empty rooms are filled with frozen memories." This one is beautifully simple, and simply beautiful.

"The Best Man" does just what I think Rick set out to do: It''s a guaranteed country hit that turns on the phrase "the best man she never had," and I absolutely refuse to give the extremely well-crafted plot away.

The other three songs are each in a category of their own. The advice in "This Ain''t No Dress Rehearsal" is related to the advice in "Missin'' the Point," but is much more generally centered on the idea that we only get one go-round in life ("It''s your first time and your last time/It''s your only chance to make it").

"Hard Feelings" is so heartfelt that it hurts, describing as it does the deep inner workings of a father, a mother and a (little) son as their family disintegrates. Try these lines on for size: "She was damned with him there/He was damned with her gone." Ouch and three quarters.

The CD closes with "Dig a Little Deeper," graceful, socially aware and respectful of those who have been ground under by the everyday forces that Rick talks about elsewhere ("It doesn''t get any easier with every passing day/Could you please find a reason to dig a little deeper").

It''s a strong close to a truly strong CD, and I think that each of us could find a reason to get the point, and to get a copy of this wonderful work by this wonderful worker, Rick Cordes.

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