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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

CD Review: Nelson Jenstad - The Essential Robinhood Lanes

Nelson Jenstad - The Essential Robinhood Lanes
2008, Nelson Jenstad

I generally avoid kitsch whenever possible. On first listen to The Essential Robinhood Lanes I was reminded of a friend of my parents whom we would visit when I was little. The gentleman had an old organ in his living room and would play it whenever we came over. The opening notes of Nelson Jenstad's CD brought back flashbacks to those interminable visits -- I started to twitch and feel an uncontrollable urge to run. I literally forced myself to listen to the rest of the disc out of courtesy and respect for the artist if nothing else. Along the way something interesting happened: I started to find the recording just slightly charming. Not that I'd admit to it under oath, mind you, but The Essential Robinhood Lanes has a kitschy, homey quality about it that is endearing.

We're not talking about anything particularly involved or musically challenging here. This is your basic 1970's era organ recording with some electronic beats added in to provide rhythmic spice. Nelson Jenstad has a knack however for taking an utterly familiar and overdone genre and putting a fresh spark into it. Highlights include To Ribbons, Just Your Imagination, Spin Down and Ludwig.

The Essential Robinhood Lanes works well as space age dinner music, and occasionally as a mild electronic/dance tune. There's nothing earth shattering or truly innovative here, but it is a fun listen. Nelson Jenstad certainly has a good ear for interesting new nuggets to be drawn out of an old form.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

To learn more about Nelson Jenstad, head on over to To purchase a copy of The Essential Robinhood Lanes go to

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