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Bulletin - September 2010
Folk Music
Bob & Ron Copper ->
Various Artists + Book

 

BOOK

 
WORLDS OF SOUND The Story Of Smithsonian Folkways by Richard Carlin $34.95
Hardbound, 283 pages, counts as 11 CDs for shipping
When he opened his tiny recording studio in New York in 1940, Moses Asch had a dream: to document and record all the sounds of his time. He created Folkways Records to achieve his goal, not just a record label but a statement that all sounds are equal and every voice deserves to be heard. The Folkways catalog grew to include a myriad of voices, from world- and roots-music to political speeches; the voices of contemporary poets and steam engines; folk singers Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie and Jazz pianists Mary Lou Williams and James P. Johnson; Haitian vodoun singers and Javanese court musicians. Until his death in 1986, Asch created more than 2000 albums, and "Worlds of Sound" documents this improbable journey. Folkwways became part of the Smithsonian Institution's collections shortly after Asch's death and continues reissuing on CD these valuable recordings as well as making new recordings in the same spirit. Richard Carlin, the author of several books on folk, country, and traditional music, worked for Folkways as an independent producer from 1975 to 1980 and brings his insider knowledge to the table in this important tale of a pioneering label. Featuring a selected discography plus hundreds of beautiful reproductions of album covers, archival photographs and other fascinating memorabilia.

 

NEW COMPACT DISCS

 
ENGLAND BOB & RON COPPER Folk Legacy 19 English Shepherd And Farming Songs $16.98
16 tracks, 43 mins, essential
CD issue of 1964 LP - one of the most influential albums on the British folk music revival. The Copper Family of Rottingdean on the Sussex coast have maintained a tradition of harmony singing for something like 200 years and have been incredibly influential on the English folk scene. Their style of harmony singing was to inspire groups like The Watersons, Young Tradition, Swan Arcade and others and the versions of the songs they preserved have become staples of the folk movement throughout the world - Spencer The Rover/ Shepherd Of The Down/ Sportsmen Arouse/ Hard Times Of Old England/ Dame Durden/ Babes In The Wood and others - many of them dealing with rural life in England. The recordings here were made by Peter Kennedy featuring brothers Bob and Ron in two part harmony and occasionally solo and the results are beautifully moving and compelling. The 22 page booklet includes notes by Bob Copper himself who has remained the custodian of the Copper Family legacy plus commentary by Kennedy and full lyrica transcripts. Counts as two CDs for shipping. (FS)

 
IRELAND FRANKE HARTE Faetajn SPIN 995 Daybreak And A Candle-End $23.98
13 tracks, 51 mins, highly recommended
Another superb collection of Irish traditional songs from one of my favorite Irish singers with accompaniments from his long term associate Donal Lunny. This is a reissue of an album originally issued in 1987 - about half sung are unaccompanied and the rest feature sensitive and tasteful accompaniment by Lunny. Unlike some of Frank's thematic compilation this one is simply a collection of great songs that are among Frank's favorites. Some of them you may be familiar while others are obscure gems that should be better known. Includes The Jolly Young Ploughboy/ The Maid Of Cabra West (an hilarious more recent composition)/ Sarah Jane/ By The Hush Me Boys (a stunning performance of the song usually known as Paddy's Lamentation/ Cockles And Mussels (yes, the old warhorse give a new lease of life here)/ The Holland Handkerchief/ I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love/ Here I Am From Donegal and more. A joy! (FS)

 
AMERICAN PHIL OCHS Micro Werks 070 On My Way, 1963 Demo Session $14.98
25 tracks, 66 min., highly recommended
These tracks come from a recently uncovered (and more recently acquired by brother Michael Ochs) tape Phil Ochs made for Roy Connors of the Highwaymen. Most of these 25 originals are previously unreleased, including I'll Be There/ Time Was/ New Town, and an amusing tribute to a guide turned cannibal called The Ballad Of Alfred Packer. The early version of Power And The Glory contains an additional verse. Because Ochs is sharing his songs, he says a few words before each one and often tells the key or the chord progression he's using. The quality of the recording is quite good, all things considered, and the performances are all strong. Ochs' dedication to the topical (see The Ballad Of Davey Moore) occasionally makes the material sound dated, but generally not. His songs of lost love and loneliness (e.g., Don't Try Again/ First Snow) are generally more appealing these days than, say, The Ballad Of U.S. Steel, but then again Bobby Dylan Record is all around fun. A must for any Ochs fan, a solid pleasure for any fan of folk music. (JC)

 
AMERICAN EDNA RITCHIE Folk Legacy 3 Songs Of Appalachia $16.98
Edna is an older sister of the well-known and beloved Jean Ritchie. They are members of an important family of tradition bearers from southeastern Kentucky. It was the Ritchie family that introduced many of us to versions of the beautiful traditional songs found by Cecil Sharp during his historic collecting trips to Appalachia in 1916-1918. Edna sings the songs, ballads, and carols of her rich family tradition in a gentle, unpretentious style, frequently accompanying her singing with her mountain dulcimer. Songs include May Day Carol/ Old Tyler/ Foreign Lander/ Someody's Tall And Handsome/ Old Chimney Sweeper/ I Wonder When I Shall Be Married/ As Joseph Was A-Walking. Accompanying 28 page booklet has in-depth notes on Ritchie, the family tradition and the songs by folklorist D.K. Wilgus. Counts as two CDs for shipping.

 
SCOTLAND EMILY SMITH Spit & Polish 036 A Different Life $16.98
12 tracks, highly recommended
U.S. issue of 2008 album by this outstanding SCottish performer. Emily is an absolutely stunning singer who accompanies herself on accordion and piano and is joined by some outstanding musicians including Jamie McClennan on fiddle and guitar, Steve Byrne on guitar, cittern and bouzouki, Brain Finnegan on flute and whistles. Her material is a mix of traditional and contemporary - most of the latter written by Emily herself including the moving Always A Smile about her Polish born grandmother and the wonderful Edward Of Morton which could easily be a traditional ballad. Strong Winds For Autumn by Bob McNeill is another beauty. Among the traditional highlights are the great opening cut The Bonny Labouring Boy and a gorgeous version of The Lowlands Of Holland with a different tune to the more familiar versions. But every track is great and the performances are flawless. A real winner. (FS)

 
ENGLAND STEELEYE SPAN EMI 646 964-2 Another Parcel Of Steeleye Span $28.98
Three CDs, 47 tracks, highly recommended
The second collection of five albums from Steeleye on three CDs features "Rocket Cottage" from 1976, "Storm Force Ten" from 1977 and their first live album "Live At Last" from 1978, "Sails Of Silver" from 1980 and "Tempted And Tried" from 1989. Although the cover states "Their Second Five Chryslis Albums" the first four were originally issued on Chrysalis while "Tempted" originally appeared on the Dover label. Their 1986 album "Back In Line" originally on the Flutterby album is not included here. After "Rocket Cottage," Peter Knight and Robert Johnson left to pursue solo ventures and the group were able to call upon two giants of the folk scene to replace them - Martin Carthy on vocal and guitar and John Kirkpatrick on vocals on accordion and thanks to their presence "Storm Force Ten" was one of their best albums in a while and in addition to traditional material included several songs from Kurt Well and Bertolt Brecht which work out wonderfully well. The live has the same linup and draws on songs from previous Steeleye albums as well as songs not recorded before. After this album the group disbanded until 1980 when it reunited with Knight and Johnson back and a collection of mostly original songs on "Sails Of Silver" though with a strong traditional flavor though this slight shift in direction alienated some of their fans. "Tempted" from 1989 with the same line up is back to mostly traditional material and is a superb collection featuring particularly fine performances of songs like Padstow/ The Cruel Mother/ Jack Hall and Betsy Bell And Mary Gray. After almost 20 years the group was still performing with energy and imagination. Bonus cuts includes the 1977 acapella Christmas single Boar's Head Carol and, in complete contrast, a great 1978 single covering The Four Seasons' Rag Doll. While not quite as indispensible as the first volume this is definitely a must for lovers of traditionally oriented folk-rock. (FS)

 
IRELAND PADDY TUNNEY Folk Legacy 7 The Man Of Songs $16.98
13 tracks, 41 mins, essential
Paddy Tunney from County Donegal was one of Ireland's greatest traditional singers with a wonderful melodic style with subtle use of ornamentation. He was also a folk song collector and was responsible for introducing many great songs to a wider audience. His style and repertoire have influenced later "revival" singers like Paul Brady, Andy Irvine, Dolores Keane, Dick Gaughan and others. These are his first recordings cut by Diane Hamilton in 1962 and includes recordings of some of his most memorable songs like Lough Erne Shore/ The Green Fields Of Canada/ The Mountain Streams Where The Moorcocks Crow/ Roisin Dubh and the utterly sublime love song As I Roved Out. One songs is sung in Irish Gaelic and one track features a wonderful example of the wordless evocation of dance music called "lilting." The extensive notes in a separate booklet has detailed information on all the songs and lyric transcripts. Counts as two CDs for shipping. (FS)

 
AMERICAN VARIOUS ARTISTS Folk Legacy 22 The Traditional Music Of Beech Mountain, North Carolina $16.98
17 tracks, 42 mins, highly recommended Reissue of 1964 LP. First of two volumes of field recordings of traditional musicians from Beech Mountain, North Carolina made in the early 60s. This volume is a beautiful set of mostly unaccompanied songs - many of them traditional ballads drawn from the British tradition and some of them rarely recorded elsewhere including the superb Sir Lionel performed by Buna Hicks and the beautiful Johnny, Oh Johnny performed by Lee Monroe Presnell. There are also several sacred songs performed including a spine chilling rendition of The Day Is Past And Gone by Buna Hicks. Other singers include Hattie Presnell, Lena Armstrong and others and all are excellent. The set comes with extensive notes in a separate 32 page booklet with extensive discussion of the traditions of the region, the performers and each of the songs. Counts as two CDs for shipping. (FS)

 
AMERICAN VARIOUS ARTISTS Folk Legacy 23 The Traditional Music Of Beech Mountain, North Carolina $16.98
23 tracks, 45 mins, very highly recommended The second volume is devoted to "Later Songs And Hymns" and is even better than the first volume thanks to five utterly spellbinding performaces of hymns and sacred songs by a trio consiting of Margie Harmon, her brother and Ottie "Coot" Greene. Their rough hewn harmonizing on Precious Memories/ Where The Soul Of Man Never Dies/ Angel Band and others is worth the price of admission. Unlike the serious ballads on first volume the songs here are often more light hearted dance songs like I Went To See My Suzie/ Baldheaded End Of The Broom/ Soldier John and others. There are also several fine instrumental selections performed on fiddle and dulcimer and several of the songs have instrumental accompaniment. Notes are in separate 32 page booklet - counts as two CDs for shipping. (FS)

 

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