It was 1987. Loren MazzaCane Connors, not yet recognized by a world audience, had already recorded and released his 8 volume Dagget series and his five albums with folk singer Kath Bloom. He had abandoned his guitar for a 3-year period, and returned to it with renewed vigor. He was not yet recognized as one of the great musical loners of the age (his future Black Label solo recordings and the eventual unearthing of the Dagget series were the titles that would establish Loren as such). He was, in fact, performing live and about to record some of the most potent recordings of his career -- recordings which may challenge any present notion of Loren being a true loner at all. It was on these recordings that he first played with his future wife Suzanne Langille. Together they performed Langille-adapted traditionals and gospel standards, slowing them "down to a crawl." Two albums were released on his own St. Joan label under the moniker Guitar Roberts with Suzanne Langille, entitled BLUESMASTER 1 and BLUESMASTER 2, in 1987 and 1988, respectively (both issued in small runs of 200). This album represents the best of their material as a duo from those two records (there were also intermittant solo guitar compositions on both BLUESMASTER recordings), plus the one song they performed as a duo from Loren's 1989 IN PITTSBURGH full-length ("Haunted House") and three previously unreleased recordings from the same period.
In her spare and "deeply considered" arrangements for these songs, Suzanne allows all the room necessary for their collective personality to shine through, making for truly timeless performances. These recordings were Suzanne's first to be released publicly. They showed a singer who was unafraid to push herself to lay claim to these folk tunes and make them her own, particularizing them with her own experience and thus imbuing them with a rare vitality. These recordings layed the groundwork for the work they would later do on the albums COME NIGHT, THE ENCHANTED FOREST, LET THE DARKNESS FALL and with their new group Haunted House.
After even a casual listen to the songs on this collection, it's quite difficult to imagine either Suzanne or Loren playing with another performer, or alone for that matter. The grace and intimacy with which they perform these songs together gives the impression that they'd been playing together since childhood. It's no wonder Loren found so much fulfillment in playing music again.
(SC034 released: 09/11/00)