Close to the Bone - Unplugged

I don’t doubt that, during the course of their 20-plus-year association as they worked on new songs, these two found themselves quietly plunking away on their acoustic guitars long before the “unplugged” movement became fashionable, so they probably didn’t need much coaxing to come up with a plan for this album. While six of the 14 songs are duets, the others feature various Delta Groove artists who join in (e.g., guitarist Kirk Fletcher plays on six tracks; producer Randy Chortkoff plays harmonica on two). For me, though, the duets are the meatiest part of the disc. The usual themes are present: woman trouble; out of work; and general problems we all face as, for example, in “Ordinary Man.” One of the CD’s 12 originals, it describes an ordinary man who’s just “trying to lead a decent life”; he’s just lost his job and is trying to hold onto his wife. Further complicating things are the politicians: “They say ‘together we stand, divided we fall’/ but when the voting is over they forget about us all.” Sound familiar? One bright spot is the uptempo ode to women, “My Hat’s Off to You”: “I’m in awe,” King sings, “and mystified, too/ When I look at a woman, my hat’s off to you.”