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A Time to Laugh 
Artist: Nick Alexander
Label: Independent
Length: 11/36:22

Song parodies have a diminishing half-life.  At first you are amused, then as you listen a few more times, the initial amusement gives way to tolerance, which then makes you long for the original song the parody comes from.   Nick Alexander would like to be the Catholic equivalent of "Weird" Al Yankovic or Mark Lowry.  A Time to Laugh consists of ten songs using rewritten lyrics of popular songs, with humorous insight into what the life of a Catholic is like.

First the good:  The songwriting here is pretty good, following the original songs in meter without stretching very much.  The musicianship and production work, done by Ron Zabrocki, is very good.  The standout here is "I Got You Saved" which parodies the old Sonny & Cher tune.  Barry Feterman guests on the Cher part, and manages to capture her style quite closely.

Now the less than satisfying:  Most of the songs here come off as something your smart-aleck youth group kids would write.  The vocals are generally weak, especially on songs where a higher voice ("Tithe After Tithe," "Repent") are required.  The attempt at a Scottish accent on "Tradition (500 Years)," a parody of The Proclaimers, is particularly weak.  Alexander has done a great job lyrically, but his voice is strictly middle of the road.  When he sticks to mainstream songs such as "Our Mass" (Our House by Madness) or "Confession" (Billy Joel's "Pressure"), he is at his best.

There is one serious tune here entitled "Father," that outshines everything else on this CD.  It is a new treatment of the Lord's Prayer, and fits Alexander's vocal style much better than the rock songs.  An album of these songs would be worth further listening.

Brian A. Smith 2/24/2002



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