February 28, 2002
Robin and Linda Williams
Visions Of Love
Sugar Hill Records
"Robin and Linda Williams revive a range of love songs"
After nearly three decades of performing together, you'd think Robin and Linda Williams would be on autopilot by now __ coasting through albums. But this, their ninth album, for Sugar Hill, just might be the couple's best ever.
"Visions of Love," produced by Garrison Keillor __ with whom they've worked since 1975, is a blend of folk, bluegrass, country and blues with a prominent piano. And it covers a range from the Carter Family to Bruce Springsteen, with stops along the way for Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Merle Haggard and even a Conway Twitty-Loretta Lynn classic.
"I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets" is the song the Carters called "Wildwood Flower," with the original lyrics restored. The traditional "Wandering Boy" begins as an a capella duet, and even when a diddle comes in, the voices are still the main instruments.
Conway and Loretta set the standard on L.E.White's "After The Fire Is Gone." But Linda can wail when she wants to __ and here she wants to: It's a landmark performance. She also makes the Hag's "Hungry Eyes" her own.
Robin turns Williams' "Ramblin' Man" and "The Blues Come Around" into blues tunes, complete with harmonica. But Rodgers' "Mississippi Delta Blues" becomes a happy, nostalgic song of the South.
Springsteen's "If I Should Fall Behind" __ a song about traveling life's highway together and facing death __ is the only real love song on here. The others are mostly lost-love songs.
_ Keith Lawerence