Bill Morrissey

Come Running | Rounder
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 24, 2007
3.5 3.5 Stars

This disc marks the renaissance of New England musical poet Morrissey. Creatively, it revisits the strong emotional territory of his classics Standing Eight and Night Train (both on Rounder). And its release follows a visit to rehab that seems to have restored the singer-songwriter’s buoyant spirit, resulting in some of his warmest, wittiest live performances in years. The album features Dave Alvin on electric guitar, plus producer Billy Conway (drums) and Dana Colley (sax) of Morphine and Twinemen. The songs ricochet between joy and sadness. The triumphant opener “I Ain’t Walking” is an outright rocker — with Morrissey adding clarinet — and “Dangerous Way” and “New Walking Blues” have a similar blithe spirit. On the blue side, there’s “Johnny’s Tune,” a loving elegy for the late folk-violin wizard Johnny Cunningham, and the wistful “By the Grave of Baudelaire” and “Canal Street,” which use Morrissey’s trademark gift for novelistic detail to capture longing and a touch of lust. Alvin’s baritone guitar on the latter adds a layer of emotional resonance. References to Morrissey’s passion for classic Delta blues sneak their way into his lyrics, as does a tip to the Polish side of his ancestry. And he channels his passion for hot jazz into “He’s Not from Kansas City.” Come Running also marks Morrissey’s first venture into self-releasing an album after decades with Rounder. It’s available at
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