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Folk Music - American, British Isles, etc.
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AMERICAN FOLK WOODY GUTHRIE Snapper SMADVD 040 This Machine Kills Fascists ● CD $17.98
In depth, 160 min, documentary on the life and music of the most important folk singer and songwriter of era. Narrated by Billy Bragg it includes interviews with friends family and musicians including son Arlo, daughter Nora, sister Mary Jo, close friends Pete Seeger and Jimmy Loghi, manager Harold Levanthal, biographer Ed Cray and others. It also includes narration by Woody himself presumably from his Library Of Congress recordings. It includes historical and rare documentary photos and footage and is illuminated with excerpts from 40 of his compositions.



ENGLAND THE ALBION BAND Talking Elephant 097 Lark Rise To Candleford ● CD $19.98
21 tracks, 50 mins, highly recommended
It's great to have this superb 1980 album back in print on CD. This recording features original and traditional music from the stage production of a play about rural life from the late 19th century to the early 20th based on the writings of Flora Thompson. This is a "concept" album complete with narration and dialogue from the play, which help to enhance the music. The band included Doug Morter & Graeme Taylor/ electric guitars, Howard Evans/ trumpet, Ashley Hutchings/ bass, John Kirkptrick/ accordion & concertina, Martin Simpson/ banjo and others. The vocals are handled by Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, John Tams, Bill Caddick and others. Some truly exciting music and songs including The Girl I Left behind Me/ Arise And Pick A Posy/ Tommy Toes/ Witch Elder/ Abroad For Pleasure/Battle Of The Somme/ Speed The Plough/ Postman's Knock/ Dare To Be A daniel and others. (FS)

ENGLAND STEVE ASHLEY Market Square 104 Stroll On - Revisited ● CD $17.98
Available again. Reissue of English folk singer/ songwriter Ashley's acclaimed debut album originally issued on Gull in 1974 with two bonus unissued tracks from the same sessions and one track with Fairport Convention (with Lea Nicholson on concertina) from the same year originally only available as a single. Accompanying musicians include B.J. Cole, Jerry Donahue, Barry Dransfield, Danny Thompson, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks and many others. 12 of the songs are originals including the much covered Fire And Wine and there is a poem by John Donne set to music by Steve and a fabulous rendition of the traditional song Lord Bateman where Steve is accompanied by The Albion Band (Simon Nicol, Sue Draheim, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks and Royston Wood).

ENGLAND SHIRLEY COLLINS Fledgling 3057 Snapshots ● CD $16.98
Lovely collection of 22 rarities from the wonderful Shirley Collins, many in the company of sister Dolly playing her eerie portative organ. The recordings are drawn from live performances, home recordings and demos - 12 previously unissued and most of the rest from out of print albums. It includes a number of songs Shirley had not recorded elsewhere. It also includes a rare solo instrumental piece from Dolly - the lovely 16-century tune All Flowers In Broome.

AMERICAN FOLK ERIK DARLING Collector's Choice 623 Erik Darling ● CD $12.98
Reissue of late 50s solo album for Elektra by folk singer best known for his work with The Tarriers, Weavers and Rooftop Singers. Erik accompanies himself on guitar and banjo on mostly traditional songs and tunes - Salty Dog/ J.C. Holmes/ Oh, What A Beautiful City/ Paul & Silas/ Banjo Medley/Swannanoa Tunnell/ Let Me Fly, etc.

ENGLAND DONOVAN Castle PULSE 662 Catch The Wind ● CD $9.98
14 tracks, 40 minutes, recommended Not a new release but not reviewed before. First off, I would like to say that this CD has some of the worst liner notes that I have ever seen, summing up Donovan's whole career in two and a half belligerent paragraphs, I recommend blacking them out with a Sharpie T when you get this. That aside, this is a fantastic batch of tracks from the genesis of Donovan's career. Note, this is not a re-issue of the landmark 1965 album of the same name, but it does feature six of the same tracks, seven if you count the single version of Colours. You also get the album version of Catch The Wind as well as the single version of it with strings. Boy, does The War Drags On sound as relevant as ever. (JM)
DONOVAN: Candy Man/ Catch The Wind/ Catch The Wind (with strings)/ Colours/ Do You Hear Me Now/ Donna Donna/ Jersey Thursday/ Josie/ Sunny Goodge Street/ The War Drags On/ To Sing For You/ Turquoise/ Universal Soldier/ Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do

SCOTLAND FIVE HAND REEL BGO BGOCD 712 Five Hand Reel/ For A' That/ Earl O'Moray ● CD $19.98
Two CDS, 26 tracks, essential At last the first three albums by this superb Scottish folk-rock are finally available on this indispensable double CD. The first album was available briefly on CD a while ago but sound quality here is vastly improved. Five Hand Reel was formed in 1974 and were joined by Scotland's finest traditional singer and guitarist Dick gaughan in 1975 and recorded their first album in 1976. Along with Dick the group included another brilliant Scottish vocalist Bobby Eaglesham who were by Tom Hickland on fiddle, vocals and keyboards, Barry Lyons/ bass & keyboards and Dave Tulloch/percussion. The singing throughout is superb - Eaglesham is superb on chilling ballad The Death Of Argyll and the moving Slieve Gallion Braes and there is some great duet work by the duo. Dick takes lead on the tongue twisting McGinty's Mule and Me, the powerful The Knight And Shephard's Daughter and the utterly exquisite When A Man's In Love. There is also one vocal by Tom Hickland on the song The Maid Of Listowell. Instrumental work is outstanding - the electric and acoustic guitars of Bob & Dick merge with the lyrical fiddle of Hickland and are complemented by the bass and drums and occasional effective keyboards. Their second album "For A' That" from 1977 is even better. The band were tighter and the sound and arrangements are richer. There are some incredible songs here - Dick and Bobby share the vocals on Robert Burns' magnificent A Man's A Man For A That and the powerful Haughs O' Cromdale. Bobby takes the lead on Burns' lovely Ae Fond Kiss while Dick leads on the chilling murder ballad The Cruel Brother which also boasts an incredible arrangement. There are several instrumental sets including some mind boggling electric guitar by Dick on Pinch Of Snuff. The third album "Earl O'Moray" from 1978 is perhaps not quite as strong as the second - a number of the songs are fairly lightweight though the performances of the title song and My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose with Bobby & Dick duetting are spine chilling but the best is saved for last with Dick taking a lead on poet/ folklorist Hamish Henderson's magnificent Freedom Come All Ye. Set to the tune of the pipe march The Bloody Fields Of Flanders this is a poets cry for freedom for all humanity though there is so much more to it. The songs is written in the lowland Scots dialect which may be hard to understand but Dick's majestic singing makes the meaning clear even if you can't understand the words. To learn more about this song Dick's web site has an essay on the song as well an English translation (http://www.dickgaughan.co.uk/songs/texts/freecaye.html). After this album Dick left the group and the group continued for a while with Sam Bracken replacing him but it never again reached the heights of these three albums. This is certainly the best and most important folk reissue of 2006 so far and I doubt if anything will top it! (FS)

AMERICAN FOLK BOB FRANKE Waterbug 66 The Other Evening In Chicago ● CD $16.98
Fine New England singer/ songwriter recorded live on WFMT radio's "Folkstage" in 2005. Includes Kitchen Boy/ Allelulia, The Great Storm Is Over/ Hard Love/ My favorite Women/ For Real/ Collateral damage, etc.

SCOTLAND DICK GAUGHAN Greentrax 290 Lucky For Some ● CD $17.98
Newest from leading Scottish folk performer is mostly original songs along with Jim Page's superb Anna Mae and the traditional song Bleacher Lassie O Kelvinhaugh.

AMERICAN FOLK CAROLYN HESTER Empire Musicwerks 450 843-2 The Tradition Years ● CD $12.98
Reissue of second album from 1961 by Texas born folk singer Carolyn Hester. For a while, when the folk revival that began in the late 50's was getting started, Carolyn challenged Joan Baez for the title of most appealing female folk balladeer. Baez eventually won that title but Hester's Texas-bred soprano still has its sincere charm on this collection of 13 mostly traditional songs from a variety of different traditions - The House Of The Rising Sun/ The Lord/ Lindo Capullio/ She Moves Through The Fair/ Little Pig/ Blackjack oak/ Summetime, etc.

AMERICAN FOLK SAM HINTON Eagle's Whistle 1001 Master Of The Solo Diatonic Harmonica ● CD $23.98
2 CDs, 124 tracks!!, 2 hours 31 min., good
Almost an aural textbook of non-blues harmonica styles, history and technique, this collection features spoken intros (by Hinton) for each piece (or series of pieces), including brief historical info. Hinton is credited with being the first to play "simultaneous melody, rhythm and alternating bass" on the harmonica, and indeed he often sounds as if he's two people. But without taking anything away from such a talented performer, I cant say this release is designed for casual listening. It has an academic approach which, while no doubt greatly appreciated by serious students of the diatonic harmonica, is somewhat awkward for those who want to listen to music for, uh, pleasure. Includes a massively informative 28-page booklet. (JC)

AMERICAN FOLK JOEL RAFAEL BAND Appleseed 1086 Woodyboye ● CD $16.98
12 tracks, 46 mins, highly recommended
There's no shortage of recordings of Woody Guthrie songs but this one is particularly fine thanks, in large part, to Rafael's exceptional singing - warm and expressive with a real empathy with the lyrics. He has chosen a mix of familiar, lesser known and songs written by Woody but not recorded by him to which Joel has set the music or, in one case, used music by Billy Bragg. There is also one superb original song Sierra Blanca Massacre which is, in a sense, a chilling update of Woody's Deporte. Joel is accompanied by a fine group of musicians including his daughter Jamaica on violin, long time associate Carl Johnson on lead acoustic guitar and bass, Van Dyke Parks on accordion and piano and others. Songs includes Rangers Command/ This Train Is Bound For Glory/ Ramblin' Reckless Hobo/ Dance Around My Atom Fire/ Circle Of Truth/ Heaven My Home and others. Very fine. (FS)

AMERICAN FOLK TOM RUSSELL Hightone 8190 Love And Fear ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 47 min., essential
The latest offering from Tom Russell ranks as one of the finest albums of the year. The song writing is nothing short of brilliant. His songs avoid cliches as fiercely as they embrace unvarnished reality. He's a man alone in an emotionally dangerous world with nothing to hold on to except an experience of life as unflinching as it is beautiful. He uses figurative language to reveal truth rather than to obscure it. Expect The Sound Of One Heart Breaking to be covered by everyone, it embodies the kind of song writing that sounds so organic it feels as if it must have written itself but undoubtedly represents a lot of hard work. On Stealing Electricity Russell seems almost Lou Reed-esque in his use of metaphor, while the chilling Four Chambered Heart recalls the style of T-Bone Burnett but with a different moral understanding of life. The songs progress as though inevitable without being predictable. That extra sound they share is the ring of truth that can't be faked. (JC)

12 tracks, 68 mins., recommended
This live concert recorded at Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow brings together four awesome and utterly diverse guitar talents who happen to share the name of Martin. Martin Simpson's approach is equal parts soaring lyricism and bluesy intensity. Martin Taylor is jazzy and complex. Juan Martin is a flamenco tornado. And Martin Carthy is. well. the uniquely solid inventor of modern British folk guitar. In this concert each takes his couple of star turns, some with vocals, some straight instrumental, but the most interesting moments happen when they all play together, in layered counterpoint filled with emotion and a boundless sense of fun. Everyone stretches in these ensemble pieces and the results are glorious. A meticulously played and beautifully recorded live concert CD that will raise any guitar aficionado's eyebrows. (DC)

ENGLAND RICHARD THOMPSON Cooking Vinyl 4756 1000 Years Of Popular Music ● CD $26.98
This DVD and two CD set features a live performance by Richard Thompson with Judith Owen/ keyboards & vocals and Debra Dobkin (percussion & vocals) of his latest project presenting some of his favorite songs of the past 1000 years! It starts around 1260 with Sumnmer Is Icumen In and ending in 2004 with Bowling For Soup's 1985. Along the way we hear traditional songs, classical compositions, the U.S. cavalry song Shenandoah, Gilbert & Sullivan's There Is Beauty In The Bellow Of The Blast, Cole Porter's Night And Day, The Easybeats' Friday On My Mind and more. The DVD is presented in 16:9 widescreen and features 5.1 sound.

CELTIC VARIOUS ARTISTS Arc Music 2012 Best Of Celtic Folk ● CD $7.98
18 tracks, 65 mins, recommended Hardly the "Best Of celtic Folk" this is a fine budget collection of Irish and Breton performers though ther's no information on the origin or dates of these recordings. Artists include the excellent vocalist Noel McLoughlin who is featured on three songs - two traditional and one contemporary, the great Dolores Keane is featured on the Paul Brady song The Island, there are contributions from Breton bands Bleizi Ruzz, Le Bagad Du Moulin Vert, Gwendal and Jakez as well as Breton soloist dan Ar Braz. Other artists include harpist Margie Butler, guitarist Kieran fahey with two beautiful airs, vocalist Helen Flaherty, fiddler Florie Brown and others. (FS)

IRELAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Castle CMETD 1274 The Rocky Road To Dublin - The Best Of Irish Folk ● CD $25.98
Three CD set with 63 tracks of Irish folk music drawn from the Transatlantic group of labels recorded between the mid 60s and mid 70s. Artists embrace the raucous stylings of The Dubliners, ceilidh bands, Irish playwright and poet Dominic Behan, the imaginative stylings of Sweeney's Men, the serene stylings of Na Fili, Finbar & Eddie Furey when they were still good and more.
BARLEY COVE FOLK: Rovin' Ploughboy/ Siobhan Ni Dhuibhir/ DOMINIC BEHAN: Arkle/ Liverpool Lou/ Patriot Game/ Sea Around Us/ THE BROADSIDERS: He Was A Quare One/ Medley: Sash My Father Wore-courtin' In The Kitchen-dicey Riley-bog Down In/ Sally O/ Shores Of Amerikay/ JOE DOLAN: Westmeath Bachelor/ THE DUBLINERS: Dublin Fusiliers/ Kitty Come Down From Limerick/ Off To Dublin In The Green/ Rocky Road To Dublin/ Roisin Dubh/ Wild Rover/ FINBAR & EDDIE FUREY: Carron Lough Bay/ Curragh Of Kildare/ Drops Of Brandy/ FINBAR FUREY: Hag With The Money/ FINBAR & EDDIE FUREY: My Lagan Love/ FINBAR FUREY: Planxty Davey/ Rakish Paddy/ GLENSIDE CEILI BAND: Morrison's-the Bridge's Favourite/ Polkas (1 & 2)/ Trip To Durrow/ THE GLENSIDE CEILI BAND: Limerick Is Beautiful/ THE GREHAN SISTERS: Donegal Reel/ Gallagher's Frolics-leitrim Jig/ God Save Ireland/ Orange And The Green/ Wexford Massacre/ THE JOHNSTONS: Dublin Jack Of All Trades/ Fenians From Cahircaveen/ Kifenora Jig/ Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore/ Ye Jacobites By Name/ JOHNNY KELLY & THE CAPITOL: Black Velvet Band/ KILFENORA CEILI BAND: Mullin's-rio-paddy Murphy's Wife (reels)/ THE LUDLOWS: Enniskillen Dragoons/ Johnny Lad/ KEVIN LYNCH & THE REGAL SOUND: Blarney Stone/ PAT LYNCH & THE AIRCHORDS: Irish Soldier/ MARGO & THE KEYNOTES: Bonnie Irish Boy/ JOHNNY MCEVOY: Muirsheen Durkin/ Those Brown Eyes/ MICK MOLONEY: Belfast Town/ Molloy's Favourite-the Earl's Chair/ NA FILI: Maid At The Spinning Wheel/ Trip To Athlone-pat Mcgillarney/ MICHAEL O'DUFFY: Come Back Paddy Reilly/ Kitty Magee/ SWEENEY'S MEN: Dicey Riley/ Exile's Jig/ Handsome Cabin Boy/ Old Maid In A Garret/ Waxie's Dargle/ Willy O'winsbury/ THE TINKERS: Carrickfergus/ Father Murphy's Air/ Jolly Ploughboy/ Reluctant Patriot/ Rifles Of The Ira

SCOTLAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Castle CMETD 1275 Borderlands - The Best Of Scottish Folk ● CD $25.98
Three CD set, 72 tracks, recommended
The subtitle is a bit misleading as this set only features artists from the Transatlantic catalog covering the period 1969 through 1978. The material is a mix of traditional, contemporary songs (often with a political edge) and humorous. Some of the material and arrangements sound pretty dated though there's some very fine performances even though most of this material has ben reissued before in recent years. Includes tracks by Silly Wizard (five tracks from their superb first album), Hamish Imlach, Alex Campbell, Ian Campbell Folk Group, Matt McGinn, Owen Hand (five songs by this little known but superb performer including his moving original My Donal later covered by Dick Gaughan), The McCalmans, Billy Connolly, Archie Fisher (five songs from 1968 album by this always fine performer including his version of Reynardine featuring some of the most gratuitous use of sitar I've heard in a folk song), Shelagh MCdonald, Watt Nicoll, Josh MacRae, The Humblebums, Contrband (excellent electric group featuring several musicians who later formed Ossian), Bert Jansch and Gerry Rafferty. But why didn't they include anything by Bobby Eaglesham from his excellent Xtra album? Includes 12 page booklet with notes by David Wells who describes this set as "a definitive look at the heyday of the Scottish folk scene" - it isn't - not by a long shot! (FS)
ALEX CAMPBELL: Been On The Road So Long/ Don't You Put Me Down/ Glesga Peggy/ Love Is Teasing/ Overgate/ IAN CAMPBELL: Bruton Town/ Dainty Davy/ John Anderson/ IAN & LORNA CAMPBELL: Johnny Faa/ IAN CAMPBELL & LORNA: I Loved A Lass/ IAN CAMPBELL FOLK GROUP: Bonny Earl Of Moray/ Canny Miner Lad/ Farewell To Tarwathy/ Highland Harry/ Highland Widow's Lament/ BILLY CONNOLLY: Glasgow Central/ If It Wasnae For Your Wellies/ Little Of Your Time/ CONTRABAND: Banks Of Claudy/ Devil's Fiddle/ Rattlin' Roarin' Willie/ ARCHIE FISHER: Bogie's Bonny Belle/ Matt Highland/ Open The Door Softly/ Reynardine/ Trooper And The Maid/ OWEN HAND: Cam Ye O'er Frae France/ Inveray (the Baron Of Brackley)/ Jimmy Wilson/ My Donal/ Ye Jacobites By Name/ THE HUMBLEBUMS: Close Your Eyes/ Everybody Knows That/ Song For Simon/ Steamboat Row/ Why Don't They Come Back To Dunoon/ HAMISH IMLACH: Cod Liver Oil And Orange Juice/ Dundee Cat/ Goodbye Booze/ Mcgreggors/ Mcpherson's Farewell/ Scottish Breakaway/ BERT JANSCH: Henry Martin/ JOSH MACRAE: Baron James Mcphait (the Celtic Rangers Song)/ Castlereagh/ Whiskey Seller/ Wild Flying Dove/ THE MCCALMANS: Doon In The Wee Room/ Fare Ye Well Ye Mormon Braes/ Farewell To Nova Scotia/ Jock Stuart/ Lion (edinburgh Castle)/ Man's A Man For A'that/ SHELAGH MCDONALD: Dowie Dens Of Yarrow/ Let No Man Steal Your Thyme/ MATT MCGINN: Coorie Doon/ Gallowgate Calypso/ Loch Lomond/ Rob Roy Macgregor/ MATT MCGUINN: Dundee Ghost/ WATT NICOLL: Border Lands/ Ca' The Ewes/ Greenfields Of Dundee/ March Of The Cameron Men/ Quizling History Of Scotland/ Whiskey Drinkers/ GERRY RAFFERTY: Mary Skeffington/ My Singing Bird/ SILLY WIZARD: Atholl Braes-drunken Piper/ Jenny Gray's Whiskey/ My Love's In Germany/ SILLY WIZARD: Shearing

AMERICAN FOLK VARIOUS ARTISTS Collector's Choice 629 Great Lost Elektra Singles ● CD $12.98
10 ultra rare non-LP singles from the vaults of Elektra - a mixture of folk, blues and rock including sides by The Beefeaters (a band that included Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark & David Crosby), Judy Collins' version of Bob Dylan's I'll Keep It With Mine and the single version of Who Knows Where The Time Goes, an electric version of I Ain't Marching Anymore by Phil Ochs, a rare Paul Butterfield Blue band single plus sides by David Ackles, Eclection (the folk rock band featuring Sandy Denny's husband to be Trevor Lucas) and The Stalk-Forrest Group (who later mutated into Blue Oyster Cult).

AMERICAN FOLK VARIOUS ARTISTS Empire Musikwerks 450 702 The Folk Song Tradition ● CD $14.98
A varied collection of 26 tracks drawn from LPs made for the Tradition label in the 50s and originally issued on two LPs in 1959 and 1960. Mostly American folk with some English, Irish and international including performances by Ed McCurdy, Colyn Davies (the charming Hearse Song), Glenn Yarbrough, Oscar Brand, Jean Ritchie & Paul Clayton, John Jacob Niles, Mary O'Hara, Alan LOmax, Mrs. Etta Baker, Italian Brass Band, etc. Newly remastered with booklet including original notes form the two LPs.

ENGLAND VARIOUS ARTISTS Fledgling 3061 White Bicycles: Making Music In The 1960s ● CD $16.98
23 tracks, 78 minutes, highly recommended
Accompanying CD compilation to the book of the same name, the biography of legendary American born but British based record producer Joe Boyd. This is an eclectic, but beautiful mix of music, handsomely packaged with extensive notes. Featuring the psychedelic, earliest tracks by Pink Floyd, the Incredible String Band and Soft Machine, the quirky, old-timey music of The Purple Gang, the folk jazz (or is that jazz folk?) of Nick Drake, but it is heaviest in it's folk rock and Celtic folk of Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and related off shoots, as well as Shirley Collins and the mysterious Vashti Baunyan. Throw in a stellar Nico track, a classic Geoff & Maria Muldaur track (fans of Terry Gilliam will instantly recognize it), the first incarnation of Eric Claption doing "Crossroads," this one with Stevie Winwood on vocals, and you've got yourself a fantastic collection that documents 5 years in the life of a master musical craftsman. The one odd exclusion would have to be Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle," which, although Boyd didn't produce the actual recording, the band and the song (as proved by the books and CD's title) are so heavily entwined with the story, that it seems incomplete without it. (JM)

AMERICAN FOLK VARIOUS ARTISTS Smithsonian Folkways 40115 Masters Of The Old Time Country Autoharp ● CD $14.98
38 tracks, 73 min., very highly recommended The autoharp had its limitations as an instrument, to be sure, but in the hands of these four (Ernest Stoneman, Kilby Snow, Kenneth Benfield, Neriah Benfield) those limitations seem trivial along side the wealth of wonderful music. These tracks date from 1956-57 and 1961, and include 14 previously unreleased. The 32-page booklet includes detailed notes by Mike Seeger (who recorded the music) and song notes from Charles Wolfe. No better album of traditional southern autoharp music to be found! (JC)

AMERICAN FOLK VARIOUS ARTISTS Smithsonian Folkways 40192 Classic Railroad Songs ● CD $11.98
29 tracks, 73 min., recommended
Perhaps nothing else affected American popular music in the first half of the 20th century as much as railroad trains. Such expected classics by Lead Belly (Midnight Special, Rock Island Line, Furry Lewis (Kassie Jones), Doc Watson (Wabash Cannonball), Brownie McGhee (Freight Train Blues), Pop Stoneman (Wreck Of The Old 97), are here along side lesser known numbers, including Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotton, Jay Gould's Daughter by Pete Seeger, New River Train by Iron Mountain String Band, Way Out In Idaho by Rosalie Sorrels, and many others. Recording dates range from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s; 21 tracks appear here for the first time on CD. As usual for Smithsonian Folkways, the booklet is a treasure all by itself, with 36 pages filled with notes from Grammy winner Jeff Place and photos from the Library of Congress collection. (JC)


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