Judith Owen – Ebb and Flow (Rating 4 out of 5)

judithWith a voice that floats alternately between Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill, Judith Owen, the wife of Harry Shearer, Mrs. Derek Smalls with Ebb and Flow has produced a throwback 70’s singer songwriter record that is so good you will think you have entered into some sort of ladies of the canyon time warp.

With troubadour cronies Russ Kunkel (drums), Leland Sklar (bass), and Waddy Wachtel (guitar), the primary forces behind the Carole King vibe back in the day setting the tone, every song could have been playing on any random turntable in Laurel Canyon in 1973, or performed in any living room by the likes of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, JD Souther or Jackson Browne.

The opener “Train out of Hollywood” sets the mellow tone, and is a song that would have fit hand-in-glove on any of the early 70’s Joni Mitchell albums, and the cover of the Mungo Jerry tune “In the Summertime” is close to being a better than the original performance. Another highlight is James Taylor’s “Hey Mister, That’s Me Up on the Jukebox” that might be pound for pound the best song on the record, and displays the tremendous vocal range of the classically trained singer.

There is not much vibe straying here, some jazz roots do show through here and there especially on “Some Arrows Go in Deep”, but overall there is an ear approved nostalgic freshness to the proceedings that will have a calming effect on you.  This is soul soothing music that will appeal to the oldsters and the hipsters alike.