The most surprising thing about this album was the amount of money spent by the publicist on a sumptuous 3-feet-by-2-feet press kit. Still, with catchy lyrics like, “It hasn’t been easy, you do the math, what’s me, minus my better half?” “Go West” is an easy listen for those tuned into country and western with a dash of Irish. The title track is a heartfelt musing on a grandfather advising his grandson to leave Ireland for America, never to return. Red Tail Records. www.cbonline.net.
ALFRED E. SMITH
The Happy Warrior
Christopher M. Finan
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The legendary politician Al Smith must indeed have been a happy campaigner. The best known tribute to the first Catholic presidential candidate in his native New York is an annual dinner, cigars and all, with his name atop the menu. But Smith’s legacy is more than the bit parts of his lasting popular image, according to the Brooklyn-based author. Indeed, the one time Democratic party street boss, four-time governor of New York and friend/ex-friend of FDR is revealed by the author to be a far more complex and enigmatic figure than the generally accepted historical accounts would have us believe. Hill and Wang. 396 PP. $26.