Rising Son (Arlo Guthrie's label)
Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Folk

Album Review

As the 1970s wore on, Arlo Guthrie continued to grow with each subsequent release, wrapping up the decade with what were not only his two most personal albums, but arguably his two best, Amigo and Outlasting the Blues (with the lukewarm live recording One Night between the two). Continuing his longtime association with producer John Pilla, he returned in 1981 with what would be his final studio effort for Warner Bros., Power of Love. As had been the case with the past couple of studio outings, Pilla gives the material more of a pop and rock sheen than Arlo's late-'60s, early-'70s output. But while his production on Amigo had a toughness to it, Pilla often seems to go soft here, as he did on the otherwise terrificOutlasting the Blues. Still, the major difference between Power of Love and Outlasting the Blues is both the number and quality of Guthrie's originals. In the latter half of the '70s, with tunes such as "Victor Jara," "Patriot's Dream," and "Epilogue," he proved himself to be a songwriter whose own output was capable of matching his excellent taste in other people's songs, whereas the pair of self-penned tracks here are average at best. Still, as has been the case throughout his career, Guthrie makes up for the lack of songwriting inspiration with a handful of well-chosen covers -- including Richard Thompson's heavenly crossing "When I Get to the Border," T-Bone Burnett's more recent title cut, Jimmy Webb's "Oklahoma Nights," and David Mallett's "Garden Song," which would become a staple of his live shows, also turning up on his 1982 live collaboration with Pete Seeger, Precious Friend. Moments such as these make for a pleasant enough listen, but overall the record lacks the personality of his early- to mid-'70s work, the power and grace of Amigo, or the strong songwriting of Outlasting the Blues, making it a slight disappointment by comparison. Power of Love was reissued by Koch in 2000 as a two-fer along with Outlasting the Blues.
Brett Hartenbach, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Power of Love
  2. Oklahoma Nights
  3. If I Could Only Touch Your Life
  4. Waimanalo Blues
  5. Living Like a Legend
  6. Give It All You Got
  7. When I Get to the Border
  8. Jamaica Farewell
  9. Slow Boat
  10. Garden Song