One More Lumdi Lai by Jon Zaslow

Reviewed by Bill Monahan

When you finish listening to the eight songs on Jon Zaslow’s CD, “One More Lundy Lai” the tune keeps playing in your head.  Which tune?  Well, that’s the thing.  There is a consistency to this CD that makes it hard to distinguish in retrospect one song from the other.  Along with the melodies and rhythms, there is a theme throughout of relentless disappointment and regret.

The title “One More Lumdi Lai” comes from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ first hit, “Mickey’s Monkey”.  With that as the leading and title track, you might expect an album of Motown flavoured dance music (the song was about a dance called “the monkey’, not about the primate).  Instead it is reminiscent of a decade later, post-Beatles, when album oriented radio was dominated by introspective singer-songwriters like Eric Anderson, Jackson Browne and David Wiffen.

Those were the days of mournful reflection set in beautiful studio arrangements.  Jon has excelled in setting his tunes within that genre.

  From the opening chord, through very tastefully balanced elements like slide guitar and saxophone, and impeccably subtle backing vocals, this album sounds beautiful.

At times the beauty of the music pulls your emotions in a different direction than the lyrics.

The narrator (whether it is truly Jon Zaslow or an alter ego he’s created for art’s sake) is not happy.  It seems like everything good is in the past, and the present is only slightly scarier than the future.  In “Kings And Queens” it’s represented by a train that is rolling on to its inevitable end and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. He expands on the theme with “Big Mouth”, “Selling The End of The World” and “From Where I Came”.  There are bleak references to greed, delusion and negativity with little in the way of hope to counterbalance it.  The best he can hope for is that maybe he’s mistaken.

“Ponchos and Beads” is a lament for the lost values of the peace generation, too soon submerged in Reaganism and the “me” generation that began just after Woodstock to acquire the wealth and power they wield today as the fabled 2%.

While those songs reflect the troubled Trumped-up times we live in, the personal relationship songs carry the same elements of resignation, sadness and regret.

The title song longs for a return to the early sixties, to “the memory of something left undone”, where he might be able to make up for letting that particular girl get away.  “The Child Sleeps” outlines the many ways in which the two halves of a couple are entirely mismatched, and “Time To Let Her Go” is resigned to a failure that can’t be turned around, even if he is unable to completely let go.

The songs are not elegiac or sentimental, more like resigned.

Gone, gone, it was all an illusion, and it’s all gone.

There is a glimmer of hope in “Thick and Thin”, a song about a relationship that went right, lasted forever and made living easy right up to the end.  But there is an end, as one faithful partner sits at the deathbed of the other.  Even this happy song ends in sadness.

It’s kind of a perfect soundtrack for the early 21st century, when so many negative things, from the blatant abuse of corporate power, insatiable greed and, racism and blatant lies, particularly south of the border, seem to have become normalized.

It kind of makes you wish this cat named Mickey would come from out of town and spread a new dance all around.

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One Response to One More Lumdi Lai by Jon Zaslow

  1. jasmin says:

    please spell check.. there is picture of his album… the name is LUMDY LAI

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