Pam Mark Hall: Mangle the Tango

Before Kari Jobe, before Rebecca St. James, before Amy Grant, Pam Mark Hall was creating beautiful acoustic music in the vein of Joni Mitchell or Linda Ronstadt on mid-70s albums like “Flying” and “This Is Not a Dream,” while writing for Grant and others. Hall has turned her attention to other pursuits more recently, with sporadic recordings like the well-received “Paler Shade” in 1993, and performing with Jerry Chamberlain (Daniel Amos) as Pamelita and Parker. She returns now with something to say about the future. Mortality seems to be on her mind, judging from the album cover depicting a dance with the shroud of death and lyrics like “Whistling past the graveyard ghost so I don’t hear him speak” (“How Do You Know”). Bruce Cockburn accompanies her on vocals and guitar for his 1974 song “All the Diamonds,” while Peter Yarrow joins her to render Peter, Paul, and Mary’s 1963 apocalyptic track “The Very Last Day.” The title track, “Perfectly Imperfect,” and “Falling Forward” show a woman coming to grips with her limitations and failures. Instrumentation sticks to a classic soul and pop country mix of acoustic piano and guitar flavored with electric leads, harmonica, and Hammond organ. Hall’s vocals, throatier and raspier than before, have lost none of their ability to convey her heart.

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