by Rick Kellogg
July 15, 1999
Golders Green: My opinion about Pete Ham's just released "Golders Green" CD ( July 13, 1999 ). I really do like this new CD from Rykodisc and Dan Matovina. And if you liked "7 Park Avenue", you will like this CD too...but for a different reason. The songs are not so polished here, and as stated in other reviews, many of the songs are fragmented and on the shorter side. But that should not be a deterrent. This is Pete working out bits of ideas, vocal combinations, and he is also showing a surprising variety of styles in his music. Some of these songs were serious attempts at a 'commercial' style of song, but some are very personal, and may have been recorded originally for Pete's ears only. One of my favorite 'personal' songs is "I've Waited So Long To Be Free". This song cuts right to the matter much as "Ringside" and "No More" did from his previous CD. These songs leave you shaking your head and asking the age old question - Why did no one help?
Everyone is going to have their favorite tracks. Some of the highlights for me are: "Makes Me Feel Good" - This is an Iveys period track! Wow!, the Iveys missed the boat on this one...Could have been one of their best! "A Lonely Day", "Dawn", "Pete's Walk", "Hurry On Father", "Goodbye John Frost", and the very short "When The Feeling" - Just Pete and a drum kit! So many great ideas that were never developed fully. This is were Pete's brilliance shines through! A very talented songwriter that we are still just now really discovering. One of the final songs that Pete recorded in the last month of his life was the excellent "Helping Hand." Very uplifting musically and lyrically too, not like the dark "Ringside" and "No More." This CD closes out maybe not so powerfully as "7 Park Avenue", but you come away not quite so saddened either. How can you feel down listening to a second, but different helping of "Makes Me Feel Good?"
Pete's new CD is out...I'm buying it!