Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Last American Gladiator

By Slash Coleman

CD Review

Available from CD Baby. $14.95 for the CD; Download MP3 for $9.95.

Reviewed by Linda Goodman

With his latest CD, The Last American Gladiator, Slash Coleman revisits his childhood and shares stories and songs that run the gamut from chasing impossible dreams to realizing his worst fears. His self-effacing delivery and captivating way with words entice us to come along with him on this journey. Enthralled listeners will gladly travel with him as he relives earning his degree from the school of hard knocks and gladly shares the wisdom learned therein.

The Last America Gladiator, the first story on the CD, extols the virtues of having to “wait it out,” as a young Slash schemes to become a gladiator and, simultaneously, get the attention of his third grade teacher, on whom he has a crush. This story delivers the best story quote I have heard in a while: “Every dream should come with a comma.”

Major League Pop Fly is a humorous yet touching tale of baseball, love, and “white man’s perm.” This story is followed by Perpetual Underdog, a dark tale of misplaced trust that almost destroys a family, set in a time where picking up hitchhikers was the norm. As a fan of the dark side, this is the story that settled in my head and traveled with me for days.

The Acquisition of Skipper highlights a clever use of “extreme marketing” at a flea market type event that ends with mom getting a hero and dad becoming a pirate. High School Musical features Slash as a football player wannabe who finds release in the marching band and wrestling, before realizing that he is his own worst enemy.

The CD also features two songs. Believe is an ode to faith in oneself. Flying Lessons is a musical celebration of living one’s dreams.

While I found minor problems with the sound in a few places, the stories are tightly written and memorable. Slash’s delivery is heartfelt and endearing. The responses of his live audience clearly show that they love his tales, as well they should. First and last, Slash Coleman is a gladiator. He knows his arena, and he is not afraid to welcome others into his world.

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