Have Harmony Will Travel 2
Have Harmony Will Travel 2 is Carla Olson’s successor to her acclaimed 2013’s Have Harmony, Will Travel which featured two-part vocals with Peter Case, Richie Furay, John York, Scott Kempner and Juice Newton. This one includes comparably renowned names such as Timothy B. Schmidt (The Eagles), Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermit’s), Terry Reid, Stephen McCarthy ( Long Ryders) and the album’s lone instrumentalist, original Bee gees guitarist Vince Melouney. There are others too including multilingual vocalist Ana Gazzola, singer-songwriter Jim Muske, two-time Emmy winner Mare Winningham, the roots-rockers I See Hawks in L.A., the legendary Percy Sledge, and co-founder of the Byrds, Gene Clark.
Gleaning through the track credits, you’ll notice an army of players on some tracks like the 11 that grace her tune with Percy Sledge “Honest as Daylight.” You’ll also notice names like Mick Taylor, Joe Sublett and Darrell Leonard of The Phantom Blues Band, guitarist/singer-songwriter Todd Wolfe, members of I See Hawks in L.A. and her mainstays from the Textones like drummer Rick Hemmert. It’s not surprising as four were culled from previous Olson albums.
She opens with a new tune, singing for the first time on record, flowing their first live encounter as a tribute to Buffalo Springfield with the Wild Honey Orchestra. They cover Patty Loveless’ 1988 hit “Timber, I’m Falling in Love.” Her friendship with Noone dates to the ‘80s band the Tremblers with the late Phil Seymour, where they both sung. Her they cover the Searchers’ U.K. Hit “Goodbye My Love.” Speaking of Buffalo Springfield, Olson and Schmidt cover “A Child’s Claim to Fame.”
The great guitar lead in the standout “Shackles & Chains” is from Vince Melouney as they perform a John Stewart song a la a Johnny Cash kind of arrangement, one that Olson had never done before. The tune with Terry Reid, “Scarlet Ribbons,” features just Olson, Redi and cellist Joyce Rooks. It’s an odd cadence, perfectly suitable for Reid who doesn’t adhere to time conventions like most singers. All the new songs appear in the first part of the album including Ana Gazzola on Stephen Stills’ “Uno Mundo” and the vocal debut of Minnesota singer-songwriter Jim Muske, performing his own tune, “Haunting Me,” another album standout.
Prior recordings include “After the Storm,” another keeper, with Winningham (from a Spanish hits compilation by Olson), Sledge (backed by Mick Taylor, from Olson’s 1994 Reap the Whirlwind, and I See Hawks in L.A. doing “Bossier City” from their own 2009 Shoulda Been Gold. Finally, Gene Clark teams with Olson on the Western ballad “Del Gato” in the closer, from Clark’s 1987 So Rebellious in Love, his final release before passing in 1991.
Whether producing, fronting a band, or collaborating, Carla Olson continues to push the envelope forward. This is another worthy effort to add to her amazing catalog.
- Jim Hynes