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Bulletin - December 2008
Folk Music - American, British Isles, etc.
Angel Band ->
Various Artists + DVD

 

 

NEW DVD

 
LUCINDA WILLIAMS New West 8065 Live From Austin, TX ● DVD $15.98
This versatile and talented performer on her debut performance on Austin City Limits in October 1989 performing 16 songs with her original band - Gurf Morlix, John Ciambotti & Donald Lindley. This is a considerably expanded version of the show that was originally aired on TV. Lucinda does folk, blues, country and rock 'n' roll. Songs include Big Red Sun Blues/ Crescent City/ Abandoned/ Price To Pay/ Passionate Kisses/ Happy Woman Blues and more.

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
ANGEL BAND Appleseed 1108 With Roots & Wings ● CD $16.98
13 tracks, 47 min., highly recommended
Angel Nancy Josephson writes most of the better songs here and, with bandmates Jen Schonwald and Kathleen Weber, manages to weave beautiful harmonies around intelligent, uplifting lyrics. (Kudos to her for the creative near rhyme of "wide open" and "tightropin'" on Jump Back In The Ditch.) The AB is at its best when in hovers above bluegrass and country territory, as it generally does. The original blues Drown In The Fountain Of Good tries too hard and feels self conscious, and ultimately is a better idea for a song than a song. But the seeming simplicity, beauty and charm of Cold Lonesome Down In Blackbird Creek/ Patron Saint Of Opportunity, and I'll Sing This Song For You demonstrate absolutely the immense talent of this under-appreciated band. It helps that their back-up band, which includes David Bromberg, is first rate. Another fine release from the little West Chester, PA, Appleseed label. (JC)

 
DAVID BROMBERG BGO BGOCD 811 David Bromberg/ Demon In Disguise ● CD $18.98
18 tracks, 80 mins, highly recommended
Compiles what are probably Bromberg's two best-known albums on one CD; his major label debut "David Bromberg" from 1972 and the follow up "Demon in Disguise" from '73, both released on Columbia records. Bromberg is an eclectic artist to say the least, with elements of Folk, Blues, Country, Bluegrass, and more popping up throughout his recordings. Bromberg was definitely well known by the time his self-titled album came out. He had already worked with Jerry Jeff Walker, Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and George Harrison, not bad company and almost as impressive is the fact that while attending Columbia university, Bromberg took guitar lessons from Reverend Gary Davis; his pedigree was pretty undisputable and the record label only lightly held the reins, allowing him to deliver some funky, interesting records. His lengthy version of Mr. Bojangles off of "Demon" garnered him the most radio airplay at the time, but mostly Bromberg was a critical success loved by other musicians and a hardcore, albeit not huge following of fans. Bromberg is highly regarded for his guitar playing and there are countless great examples of it throughout these albums. Other standout tracks include The Boggy Road to Midgetville (Arkansas Traveler,)/ Dehlia/ The Holdup (co-written with George Harrison,) / Sammy's Song/ Hardworkin' John/ Diamond Lil/ Demon in Disguise as well as his fantastic Medley of Irish Fiddle Tunes, which includes Rodney's Glory/ The Rights of Man, and The First of May. Bromberg is truly an enormously talented musician and this captures him in his prime (although he is still going strong). (JM)

 
SHIRLEY & DOLLY COLLINS EMI 28404-2 The Harvest Years ● CD $26.98
Two CDs, 41 tracks, essential
These recordings made between 1969 and 1977 are possibly the very finest recordings made by these two outstanding artists in a career full of superb achievements. It combines their two original Harvest albums from 1969 and 1970 plus the six tracks recorded in 1976 to replace the second side of "Anthems In Eden" when it was reissued as "Amaranth" along with four outtakes from the "Love, Death & The Lady" album plus with a track from the "Son Of Morris On" album from 1976 and a track from the Albion band's 1977 album "The Prospect Before Us". The first 16 tracks on disc one comprise the original "Anthems In Eden." The first 28 minutes of disc one are a suite of 7 mostly traditional songs describing the breakup up of relationships brought about by the huge numbers of men slaughtered on the battlefields of Europe during the First World War including the spine chilling "Whitsun Dance" written by Shirley's husband at the time and producer of both albums Austin John Marshall. On these Shirley is accompanied David Munrow and members of the early music group Musica Reservata on renaissance period instruments (rebec, harpsichord, cornett, sackbut, bass viol, crumhorn, etc) plus occasional added singers. Arrangements are by Dolly who also plays her distinctive flute organ and piano and the result is absolutely spellbinding. On the remaining tracks from the original album she is accompanied by the same group on traditional songs like Rambleaway/ Bonny Cuckoo/ Gathering Rushes In The Month Of May and others plus Robin Williamson's odd God Dog. The first 12 tracks of the second disc comprise the original "Love, Death & The Lady" LP from 1970 which like "Anthems" features Shirley singing a collection of traditional songs with accompaniments by members of the Early Music Consort on renaissance period instruments (harpsichord, sackbut, bass viol, rebec, etc). Arrangements are by Dolly who also plays her distinctive and beautiful flute organ and piano. The songs here are even better than on the first album as are the arrangements - the empathy between Shirley's subtle melancholy vocals and the instrumentation is stunning. Just listen to the interplay between vocals, flute organ, harpsichord, rebec and sackbut on The Outlandish Knight. Other fine songs include Death & The Lady/ The Oxford Girl/ Young Girl Cut Down In her Prime/ Salisbury Plain/ Six Dukes and others. But the highlight is the truly incredible version of Plains Of Waterloo with Shirley's sensitive vocals perfectly complemented by the sombre but beautiful instrumental work. This performance is one of my all time favourites. The four bonus tracks (Sailor From Dover/ Young John/ Short Jacket & White Trouser and The Bold Fisherman are up to the standard of the rest of the album and are featured at the end of disc one. The six tracks from the second incanation are varied including several with electric band accompaniment by members of the Albion band and a couple with the eerie accompaniment of John Sothcott on viele. The booklet includes new notes by David Suff. If you don't already have the long deleted CD reissues this double set should be the cornerstone of any collection of the English folk revival. (FS)

 
KAREN DALTON Delmore OMEGA 15 Cotton Eyed Joe ● CD $32.98
2 CDs + 1 DVD, 25 tracks, 100+ mins, recommended
Greenwich village folky gets an artful two-disk collection to help tell the story. Dalton was kind of a native American beatnik, folk version of (or attempt at) Billie Holiday (a performance of God Bless The Child from 1969 appears on the accompanying DVD), who passionately sang in a husky, down trodden style that won over a lot of fans in the musician community, but not a whole lot of commercial success. A strong musician as well, she would accompany herself on twelve string guitar or a long neck banjo. Dalton only released two albums in her lifetime; the set on the CDs was recorded in 1962 but is making its first appearance here. The informal setting of the live recording lends to a fair amount of guitar tuning, audience rumblings and coughing, that could have easily been edited some, while still keeping the intimate vibe. Contains strong versions of songs like Every Time I Think of Freedom/ Cotton Eyed Joe/ Pastures of Plenty/ Pallet on Your Floor/ Darlin' Corey, and much more. 1962 was early on in her career, while she was getting strong in the folk clubs, but little known outside of them. All of the CD tracks are recorded at the "Attic" club in Boulder Colorado, while the four DVD tracks come from performances in 1969 and 1970. "Attic" co-owner and scene-maker Joe Loop provides compelling liner notes. Not everyone will be able to get into Karen Dalton, but Bob Dylan loved her and he knows a thing or two about music, so you might want to check her out as well. Fans of Nick Drake and other laconic, under-achieving, outsider artists of the Aquarian Age should find something to dig about this. (JM)

 
DICK GAUGHAN Topic TSCD 419 Handful Of Earth ● CD $14.98
10 tracks, essential
Finally available again in the U.S.A. In the 70s and early 80s nobody on the British Isles folk scene was better than Dick Gaughan with his rich smoky baritone voice and dazzling guitar technique. This 1981 album is the most fully realized expression of Dick's artistry and a masterpiece in every respect. He has never sung or played as well and his choice of material cannot be faulted. Several songs are from or about Ireland. Craigie Hill and Lough Erne are two fairly well known traditional songs about emigration which he sings with great feeling and conviction. Phil Colclough's beautiful Song For Ireland depicts the beauties of the country against a backdrop of the Troubles and Dick's wistful singing is sure to send shivers down your spine. Ed Pickford's stirring Worker's Song is brought to vibrant life with its lovely melodic guitar accompaniment. In fact, none of the tracks is less than superb. Unequivocally one of the greatest folk recordings of the 80s! (FS)

 
TOM RUSSELL Shout Factory 31099 Veterans Day - The Tom Russel Anthology ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 37 tracks, 160 mins, recommended
Texas Country music artist Tom Russell is one of those artists whose work I like best when other artists are covering it. His versions are good, but he seems to inspire greatness in others like Ian Tyson, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris etc. when they record his compositions. That said, in addition to his own voice being heard on this, there are many tracks that feature him in duet with such artists as Dave Alvin, Iris Dement, Nanci Griffith, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and more. This collection gathers up all of Russell's best known and best loved songs, like his tribute to Gram Parsons Joshua Tree, as well as U.S. Steel/ Veteran's Day/ Manzanar/ Navajo Rug/ Throwin' Horseshoes at the Moon, etc. Also includes a couple of tasty cover's of other artists like Merle Haggard's Tulare Dust, and Van Morrison's Cleaning Windows. Plus you get a previously unreleased acoustic version of Dark Angel, as well as a brand spanking new recording Roll the Credits. So all in all, fans of Russell's will totally love this, but if you are not familiar with him and are looking for a good starting place, I would first recommend picking up the "Wounded Heart of America" collection that features a whole host of great artists covering Russell along side him doing a couple of his own. (JM)

 
JUNE TABOR Topic TSCD 298 Airs And Graces ● CD $14.98
10 tracks, essential
Finally available again in the USA. This is a reissue of June's debut album from 1976 which immediately established her as one of the finest interpreters of traditional and contemporary songs on the British folk scene. This album reflects more of a purist approach to largely traditional material than her later albums do - with Nic Jones/ guitar & fiddle, Jon Gillespie/ bassoon, sopranino & keyboards - While Gamekeeps Lie Sleeping/ Bonny May/ The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (possibly the best version of this song and the one that first drew attention to the talents of Eric Bogle)/ Waly Waly & others. (FS)

 
JUNE TABOR Topic TSCD 360 Ashes And Diamonds ● CD $14.98
11 tracks, 44 mins, essential
Finally available again in the USA. The CD issue of June's second solo album from 1977 is particularly welcome as it is a personal favorite of mine. June's smokey sensuous voice has rarely sounded better, the choice of songs is superb and the arrangements are impeccable and imaginative. Two of the songs are contemporary from the pen of the brilliant Australian songwriter Eric Bogle - June was one of the singers to bring this remarkable writers talents to a wider audience. Now I'm Easy features an electric band and doesn't quite come off but the anti-war No Man's Land is given a truly chilling performance with sensitive piano and synthesizer accompaniment by Jon Gillaspie. Most of the other 9 songs are traditional - some sung acapella and some with accompaniments featuring Nic Jones/ guitar and fiddle, Jon Gillaspie/ piano and sytnthesizer and Tony Hall/ melodeon. And what a selection of songs they are! Including the Australian outlaw ballad Streets Of Forbes, the powerful unaccompanied murder ballad Clerk Saunders, the tragic Earl Of Aboyne with some truly stunning guitar by Nic Jones and more. A stunning disc in every respect from one of the major talents on the British music scene. (FS)

 
TOWNES VAN ZANDT Charly SNAPCD 294 Legend - The Very Best Of ● CD $14.98
2 CDs, 46 tracks, 157 mins, highly recommended
Charley has done a very thorough job re-issuing Towns Van Zandt's Tomato Records catalog and now they turn to providing us a fantastic "Best of" CD, starting off with his two most famous and most famously covered songs If I Needed You and Poncho and Lefty, and then taking off from there to a wealth of material from one of the greatest songwriters of the last 35 years or so. St John the Gambler/ Flying Shoes/ Waiting Around To Die/ Mr. Gold & Mr. Mudd/ Our Mother the Mountain/ For the Sake of the Song, and so many more great tracks. Includes a handful of tracks from Van Zandt's excellent live album, "Live at the Old Quarter." Other notable cuts include bonus duets on both CDs singing with the likes of Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender, Emmylou Harris, Doug Sahm etc. This is a great place to get a whole lot of great Towns Van Zandt in one place. I recommend pretty much all of his work, but before you jump into the full catalog, this is an excellent starting point. (JM)

 
VARIOUS ARTISTS Repertoire 5102 Songs From The Invisible Republic - Music That Inspired Bob Dylan ● CD $24.98
2 CDs, 55 tracks, 142 mins, highly recommended You could easily fill your bookshelf with dozens of books that try and unravel the supposed mystery that is Bob Dylan. There is practically a cottage industry devoted to understanding this most enigmatic artist and this CD fits in there with the better attempts. The best aspect of this collection is the wide range of material that it covers, with the basic notion that it all inspired Dylan, or that he covered or borrowed from it. There is a heavy amount of Blues, which was a bit surprising; also good portions of Folk, Pop, Country and Rock'N' Roll. Muddy Waters' Rolling Stone, Bill Monroe's Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, and Woody Guthrie's 1913 Massacre,, are all obvious choices, but this collection wins most on the lesser known choices, like the great, odd, Rockabilly of Johnny and Jack's Uncle John's Bongos, the ethereal Folk of Karen Dalton's Ribbon Bow, or Bert Jansch's Nottamun Town. No matter what the point of this CD is, it is most certainly full of all kinds of great music with a lot of it rarely compiled. Includes great tracks by Josh White, The Stanley Brothers, Lonnie Johnson, Tommy Duncan, Bing Crosby, Curtis Jones, Leadbelly, Bukka White, Hank Williams, Blind Arthur Blake, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and many more fantastic artists. Does this collection reveal the true story of what made Bob Dylan who he is? How the hell would I know? But, it's definitely a great collection, well worthy of your hard earned dollars. (JM)
LOUIS ARMSTRONG: St. James Infirmary/ GENE AUSTIN: Lonesome Road, The/ CHUCK BERRY: Too Much Monkey Business/ BLIND BLAKE: You Gonna Quit Me Baby Blues/ RICHARD "RABBIT" BROWN: James Alley Blues/ BING CROSBY: Where The Blue Of The Night (Meets The Gold Of The Day)/ KAREN DALTON: Ribbon Bow/ REVEREND GARY DAVIS: Baby Let Me Lay It On You/ TOMMY DUNCAN: Daddy Loves Mommy-O/ RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT: Diamond Joe/ THE GRAHAM BROTHERS: Hard Times (Come Again No More)/ WOODY GUTHRIE: 1913 Massacre/ SLIM HARPO: Shake Your Hips/ BILLIE HOLIDAY: Having Myself A Time/ Strange Fruit/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Automobile Blues/ Someday Baby/ MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT: Louis Collins/ Stack-O-Lee/ THE INK SPOTS: We Three (My Echo, My Shadow & Me)/ BERT JANSCH: Nottamun Town/ JOHNNY & JACK: Uncle John's Bongos/ LONNIE JOHNSON: Tomorrow Night/ ROBERT JOHNSON: Little Queen Of Spades/ CURTIS JONES: Highway 51 Blues/ JACK KELLY: Highway 61 Blues/ B.B. KING: Thrill Is Gone, The/ FRANKIE LAINE: That Lucky Old Son/ LEADBELLY: In The Pines/ CURTIS MAYFIELD: People Get Ready/ BLIND WILLIE MCTELL: Delila/ THE MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS: Sitting On Top Of The World/ BILL MONROE: Blue Moon Of Kentucky/ ODETTA: Another Man Done Gone/ CHARLEY PATTON: High Water Everywhere Pt. 2/ THE STANLEY BROTHERS: Man Of Constant Sorrow/ TAMPA RED: It Hurts Me Too/ MUDDY WATERS: Rollin' And Tumblin Pt.1/ Rollin' Stone/ Rosalie/ BUKKA WHITE: Fixin To Die Blues/ JOSH WHITE: Barbara Allen/ The House Of The Rising Sun/ HANK WILLIAMS: Alone & Forsaken/ The Pale Horse & His Rider

 

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