Christine Lavin & Friends | One Meat Ball

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One Meat Ball

by Christine Lavin & Friends

Folk music’s reigning “comic observer of contemporary manners” (The New York Times) presents a delightful compilation of 17 songs about food recorded by her comrades in the singer-songwriter, cabaret and Broadway worlds, packaged in an illustrated 96-page
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Blueberry Pancakes -- Annie Bauerlein & Chip Mergott
5:05 album only
2. Maple Syrup Time -- Pete Seeger
3:56 album only
3. Taylor the Latte Boy -- Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich
3:43 album only
4. Root Beer for Breakfast -- Vance Gilbert
3:15 album only
5. Betrothal -- The Accidentals
1:39 album only
6. Bacon -- Mary Liz McNamara
3:04 album only
7. Orange Cocoa Cake -- Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
2:40 album only
8. Mocha Java -- Alan Miceli
4:38 album only
9. I Think About Sex -- Ray Jessel
2:46 album only
10. Tomato Puddin' -- Jeff Daniels
3:41 album only
11. Butter -- Megon McDonough
2:26 album only
12. Fudge -- Robin Hopper
2:55 album only
13. Ten Pound Bass -- Sally Fingerett with Jonathan Edwards
3:40 album only
14. The Heartbreak Diet -- Julie Gold
3:01 album only
15. Introduction to Blackberry Winter -- MaryJo Mundy
0:32 album only
16. Blackberry Winter -- MaryJo Mundy
5:17 album only
17. The History of One Meat Ball -- Dave Van Ronk
2:30 album only
18. One Meat Ball -- Dave Van Ronk
1:55 album only
19. Bottle of Wine -- Tom Paxton with Anne Hills and Bob Gibson
3:36 album only
20. Pie -- Debbie Smith with Doc Watson
3:33 album only
21. French Toast Bread Pudding -- Christine Lavin
5:24 album only


Album Notes
Sorry, Lennon and McCartney – love isn’t all you need. Christine Lavin, folk/pop music’s reigning “comic observer of contemporary manners” (The New York Times) for more than two decades, and dozens of her friends across the creative spectrum celebrate another one of life’s essentials – food –in "One Meat Ball," a charming, hilarious and unique CD/“cookbooklet” package that we can’t claim is non-fattening. You’ll be headed for the kitchen after just a song or two, then will race back to your stereo to enjoy the rest of the CD.

Christine decided to combine her love of “beautifully crafted songs, the songwriters who create them, and good food,” and went shopping for food songs and recipes among the many musicians she knows and admires, including folk icons Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton and the late Dave Van Ronk; Julie (“From a Distance”) Gold; Megon McDonough, Sally Fingerett and Debi Smith (solo artists and members of the Four Bitchin’ Babes group Christine founded); acclaimed a cappella ensemble The Accidentals; folk-blues artist Vance Gilbert; actor/singer-songwriter Jeff (“Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo”) Daniels; and sexagenarian Broadway and television veteran Ray Jessel, among diverse and award-winning others. What they “bring to the table” on this CD is a feast of songs – most of them exclusive to this compilation – about food as purest sensual gratification, as stimulant, antidote, substitute, and metaphor.

Sequenced to follow the course of a day’s meals and snacks, "One Meat Ball" opens with a lovely reminiscence of cherished Sunday morning breakfasts, Annie Bauerlein and Chip Mergott’s “Blueberry Pancakes.” Pete Seeger, with grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, exults in “Maple Syrup Time” before Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich open the door to the local Starbucks and find romance with “Taylor the Latte Boy.” For a quick morning blast-off, Vance Gilbert giddily testifies to the effects of “Root Beer for Breakfast” over a James Brown-style funk vamp. Flat-out food lust is explored throughout the album – on Mary Liz McNamara’s reverential “Bacon” (“I’ll kill the porker with my own bare hands”), Megon McDonough’s “Butter,” Robin Hopper's "Fudge," Debi Smith’s “Pie” (with guitar accompaniment and vocal interjections from country/bluegrass great Doc Watson), and Christine’s own album-closing “French Toast Bread Pudding,” which includes a cameo by her idol, Dame Edna. Alan Micelli’s tranquil guitar instrumental, “Mocha Java,” is the perfect coffee break mid-CD.

The disc’s comically plaintive title track and its fanciful introduction come from another one of Christine’s heroes, the late Dave Van Ronk, the folk and blues singer who pioneered the folk revival of the late ’50s and early ’60s, serving as the unofficial “mayor” of Greenwich Village’s MacDougal Street and surrounding music scene. “One Meat Ball” and its intro first appeared on Dave’s final, Grammy-finalist CD, "…and the tin pan bended and the story ended…," which Christine helped produce.

In the metaphorical realm, Jeff Daniels seasons “Tomato Puddin’” with light innuendos, and Ray Jessel’s sly “I Think About Sex” offers a wistfully determined alternative fixation. The Accidentals’ “Betrothal” posits a useful litmus test for choosing a mate – the ability to eat “spherical foods” gracefully. Grammy-winner Julie Gold’s reggae-strutting “The Heartbreak Diet” puts a positive spin on a universally negative experience, while MaryJo Mundy’s rendition of the aching, melancholy “Blackberry Winter” is offered as a rationale for brokenheated bingeing.
The day’s culinary journey winds down with Tom Paxton’s goodtime classic “Bottle of Wine,” spliced together from live performances recorded 19 years apart, first with backing by Anne Hills and Bob Gibson, then by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. The latter duo also performs Peter and Lou Berryman’s “Orange Cocoa Cake,” in which everyday life interferes with recipe transmission.

As if the array of songs, artists and musical styles weren’t satiating, Christine and creative associates have packaged this 21-track CD in a 96-page spiral-bound cookbooklet containing favorite recipes – sometimes related to the songs – supplied by the musicians, their families, and Christine’s wide circle of friends, as well as artist bios and anecdotes. Among the non-musical contributors: Fern Gnesin, former touring caterer for the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson; award-winning illustrator and frequent collaborator on Lavin projects Betsy Franco Feeney (who provides the delightful illustrations throughout the cookbooklet; gourmet chef Christopher Covelli; Christine’s sister Mary, and others.

Since her first “concept tour” – 1989’s “On a Winter’s Night,” which included John Gorka, David Wilcox and Patty Larkin – Christine has periodically rounded up fellow musicians to bring her multi-artist projects to the stage. The upcoming “One Meat Ball” tour this November will include at least three special shows featuring Christine, Julie Gold, Ray Jessel, Mary Liz McNamara, and The Accidentals (plus any other nearby Meatballers), with an inaugural presentation on November 18, 2006, at the South Orange, NJ, Performing Arts Center that will include a dessert buffet during intermission, using recipes from the One Meat Ball cookbooklet. The same troupe is also booked to appear at Joe’s Pub in New York City on November 24 and 25 (sans buffet), with many other shows currently in the works.

We can only rephrase Shakespeare’s immortal sentiment: “If music be the love of food, play on.” And please pass the napkins.

Christine Lavin seems to add more skills, interests, and fascinating friends to her resume with each breath she takes. Singer, songwriter, performer, conceptualist, humorist, storyteller, journalist, author, teacher, activist, disc jockey, record producer, baton twirler, knitter, calendar model . . . and all of these talents glow with her openhearted and inclusive spirit

In the thirty years since moving from upstate New York to New York City, Christine has released seventeen solo albums (the last three on Appleseed Recordings), compiled eight previous “themed” song compilations, frequently toured the US, Canada and overseas, founded the Four Bitchin’ Babes group of funny female folksingers (with which she recorded and performed from 1990 to 1997), and has won numerous awards and accolades for her creativity and wit.

Among the many honors her work has garnered are two New York Music Awards, seven ASCAP performer awards, the Kate Wolf Memorial Award and the 2001 Backstage Bistro Award for Outstanding New York Singer/ Songwriter of the Year. In 1998, she was the wonderfully surprised subject of "Big League Babe," a 2-CD tribute containing versions of her songs secretly recorded by dozens of her fellow singer-songwriters.

Although Christine has written songs of great poignancy, it is her riotously clear-eyed commentaries on personal and societal foibles that have established her musical niche. “Sensitive New Age Guys,” “What Was I Thinking,” and other Lavin originals have been featured in Off-Broadway musicals. Politically and socially aware and outspoken, Christine frequently writes, records and posts topical songs for free download on her website,, when there’s no time to wait for her next CD.

Christine’s live performances have become multi-faceted family-fun extravaganzas over the years. Her concerts are often preceded by a knitting circle, with Chris and like-minded fans trading tips and stitches. And in the shows themselves, Chris literally shines, strapping on a miner’s helmet to search for each city’s perfect man in the audience and climaxing her sets with an incongruously impressive display of glowing baton-twirling. Along with the visuals, Chris delights her fans with her acute original songs, comic monologues, quizzes, contests, and the frequent use of a Boomerang sampling device that multiplies and delays her voice into harmonies and swirling rounds. Christine has been featured on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” NBC-TV’s “The Today Show,” and, on the radio, on NPR, “CBS Sunday Morning” and CNN. Chris also periodically presents a “Slipped Disks” folk music show on “Channel 15, The Village” on XM Satellite Radio.

In other creative areas, Christine’s prose career includes a 2003 collaboration with illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney on the children’s book "The Amoeba Hop" (Puddle Jump Press), based on Christine’s song of the same title, which won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual Science Book & Film’s “Best Books for Children” Award and led to a guest performance for the International Society of Protozoologists. Her essays and articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Delta Sky Magazine, Inside Arts, Performing Songwriter and other periodicals.



to write a review

Katy Ambrose

One Meat Ball
I love this album! It makes me hungry and makes me want to cook. My favorite song is "Blueberry Pancakes," which makes me wistful for my own childhood days. My children enjoy this album as well, with the exception, of course, of Ray Jessel's "I Think About Sex." I love the diversity of song styles and instruments on this album, and its (mostly) light-hearted spirit.