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American Folk Music

Malcolm Dalglish & Grey Larsen -> Ramblin' Jack Elliot



MALCOLM DALGISH & GREY LARSEN Flying Fish 70266 Thunderhead ● CD $15.98

IRIS DEMENT Warner Bros. 45238 Infamous Angel ● CD $15.98
Now on a major label. This is one of the freshest contemporary folk recordings I've heard in a long while. Iris is a true original - her quirky phrasing, quavering voice, and countryish lyrics bring to mind Jimmie Dale Gilmore or Nanci Griffith, but she really isn't like anyone else. Born in Arkansas and raised in California, her accent is both unique and engaging. Her songs, catchy and melodically imaginative, are sure to be covered. Includes Our Town/ Hotter Than The Mojave In My Heart/ Infamous Angel/ Sweet Forgiveness/ Mama's Opry and a lovely version of the Carter Family's 50 Miles Of Elbow Room. Previously on the Philo label. (RP)

IRIS DEMENT Warner Bros. 45493 My Life ● CD $15.98

IRIS DEMENT Warner Bros. 46188 The Way I Should ● CD $15.98
11 tracks, 50 min., recommended Iris Dement's third Warner Brothers' disc shows off a new side to her musical persona. Gone, to a great extent, is the stance of the introspective innocent. In its place is a more cynical and more political being. Among these self-penned numbers, There's a Wall in Washington deals with the continuing anguish of the Vietnam War; Wasteland of the Free paints a picture of an America filled with greedy politicians, inner city violence, and ineffective education; Letter to Mom depicts the pain of a child molested by her divorced mother's boyfriend; and Quality Time decries the materialism of modern America. Gone too, to a great extent, is the country/bluegrass feel that many of her earlier numbers had. There are even a few rock-influenced numbers. And the cover photo features the artist in a different, meditative but rather sour, mood. (DH)

RODNEY DILLARD Flying Fish 70537 Let The Rough Side Drag ● CD $15.98

CONNIE DOVER Taylor Park Music 301 If Ever I Return ● CD $13.98
11 tracks, 61 min., recommended. Having begun her musical career in the mid-80's with the Celtic folk group Scartaglen, Dover has been on her own since 1991. This disc is her third solo release, and it's a winner from start to finish. The program is a mix of forlorn love and parting songs from the Scotch/Irish tradition, self-penned numbers in a traditional folk style, and an interesting arrangement of the American song Shady Grove, the liveliest number in the set. Other numbers, generally of a more serene nature, include Lady Keith's Lament, Ned of the Hill, La Fontaine, Who Will Comfort Me?, Lillian Williams, and How Can I Live at the Top of the Mountain. Recorded in Scotland, and produced, as were her first two solo outings, by Phil Cunningham, the selections here provide a fine showcase for Dover's light but emotionally-effective delivery. And there are song-by-song notes for those listeners seeking musicological edification. (DH)

RICHARD DYER-BENNET Smithsonian Folkways 40078 1 ● CD $15.98
Reissue of 1955 album originally on his own label by popular 50s folk singer. His style is an acquired taste - one which I haven't acquired yet!

RICHARD DYER-BENNET Smithsonian Folkways 45053 6 - Songs With Young People In Mind ● CD $15.98
16 tracks, 35 minutes, recommended Hearing this disk was like running across an old friend. I listened to these songs over and over as a child but hadn't thought of them for years. Originally released in 1958, it's great having them on CD now and all the better to enjoy Dyer-Bennet's crystalline tenor and simple but effective guitar accompaniment. Adults and children alike will enjoy these timeless ballads of old English and American origin. Listen as the singer weaves magical musical tales like Aunt Rhody/ Frog Went A-Courting/ The Leprechaun/ Buckeye Jim/ The Hole in the Bottom of the Sea/ I Went Out One Morning in May/ Little Pigs/ The Piper of Dundee and others. The 18 page booklet contains the original notes and song lyrics. (DP)

BOB DYLAN Columbia CGK 841 Blonde On Blonde ● CD $12.98
The acclaimed 2-LP set on one CD, with Rainy Day Women, I Want You, Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat, Just Like A Woman etc. Backing by Al Kooper, Joe South and the Nashville crowd.

BOB DYLAN Columbia CK 8579 Bob Dylan ● CD $9.98
Dylan's first recording, with Talkin' New York, Fixin' To Die, Highway 51, House Of The Risin' Sun, Freight Train Blues, Song To Woody and 7 more.

BOB DYLAN Columbia 92396 The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan ● CD $12.98
Now that it's hip to like Woody Guthrie again, Mr. Zimmerman's second album is probably due for some critical resurrection in the bargain. Blowin' In The Wind, A Hard Rain, Girl From The North Country and 10 more.

BOB DYLAN Columbia 92401 Bringing It All Back Home ● CD $12.98
Subterranean Homesick Blues, Maggie's Farm, Gates Of Eden, It's Alright Ma and all the rest - a masterpiece.

BOB DYLAN Columbia CK 09189 Highway 61 Revisited ● CD $9.98
CD reissue - as LP with Like A Rolling Stone/It Takes A Lot To Laugh/Highway 61/Desolation Row.

BOB DYLAN Columbia C3K 38830 Biograph ● CD $49.98

BOB DYLAN Columbia C3K 64811 Freewheelin' Bob Dylan/ The Times They/ Another Side Of ● CD $26.98
3 discs, 34 tracks, 145 min., highly recommended. If indeed the heart and soul of the 60's folk music movement was in its naive idealism, then arguably its best songwriting is present on this cardboard-boxed set of ol' Robert Zimmerman's second, third, and fourth albums. His first album was engaging, but it contained few tracks that he had written, and by LP number five, Bringing It All Back Home, he had shocked his earlier fans by going electric. Perhaps more importantly, by album number five, his lyrics were becoming increasingly cryptic. So this early three disc set, with its angry and plaintive thrusts at historical adult complacency, is as close to a rallying point for the optimistic, socially committed first half of the 60's as we've got. Among its best known cuts are Blowin' in the Wind, Masters of War, Don't Think Twice It's All Right, The Times They Are A-Changin', With God on Our Side, When the Ship Comes In, and It Ain't Me Babe. In addition, some of Dylan's best and most accessible introspective lyrics are here as well, in numbers like Girl from the North Country, Bob Dylan's Dream, One Too Many Mornings, Restless Farewell, To Ramona, and even his rock 'n' roll flavored I Don't Believe You. Indispensable music, offered here at a bargain price, with original cover art and liner notes. (DH)

THE EASY RIDERS Bear Family BCD 15780 Marianne ● CD $144.98
6 discs, 173 tracks, approx. 7 hrs., recommended, with significant reservations
As the delightful booklet which accompanies this lengthy retrospective notes, between early 50's, when the Weavers held sway, and the late 50's, when the Kingston Trio came on the scene, the Easy Riders, pretty much on their own, represented folk music to most Americans. Mixing traditional folk numbers with numbers that either nominal lead Terry Gilkyson or some other group member had written, the Easy Riders quickly established the smoothly sung, meticulously arranged folk ballad as their hallmark. And therein may lie their Achilles' heel. Gilkyson himself points out that his ensemble wasn't as "ardent" as fellow folksingers like Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger, so, during the McCarthy Era, the Easy Riders were neither investigated nor blacklisted. A good thing, I suppose, but the fact that they weren't blacklisted derives in part at least from the equally true statement that they lacked both the political commitment and the passionate idealism of performers like Seeger and Guthrie and their followers in the early 60's. I miss that ardency and that spontaneity in their singing. Perhaps you won't; I don't know. Either way, featured tracks on the first three discs in this very generous collection include the title track, plus Times, Everybody Loves Saturday Night, The Blues Ain't Nothing, Fare The Well Oh Babe, Delia, Wanderin' Blues, Sweet Sugar Cane, Love Is a Golden Ring, Take Off Your Old Coat, Quit Kickin' My Dog Around, and Green Grow the Lilacs. Disc four features various previously unreleased Terry Gilkyson demos and 11 numbers by original group member, Frank Miller's early 60's version of the Easy Riders. Disc five offers 31 solo works by Gilkyson, recorded between 1949 and 1952. And disc six features six numbers by Frank Miller and Rich Dehr, recorded in 1951, before Gilkyson joined them; plus two Rich Dehr demos; and then 16 more Gilkyson solos from the early 50's. Professionally performed music, presented with Bear Family's usual flair for excellence. (DH)

ED'S REDEEMING QUALITIES Flying Fish 70579 It's All Good News ● CD $15.98
The acoustic E.R.Q. (Carrie Bradley, Dan Leone, Neno Perrotta) occupies the lyrical landscape between Loudon Wainwright III and They Might Be Giants...sort of. Most of the 18 songs are either clever or downright funny, especially the ones by Leone. On King Of Calypso he comes to terms with the unhappy realization that there is nothing he can do to become a Calypso star, because, alas, he's a "white guy from Ohio". Likewise I'm Not Drinking, Hm Hm is tremendously amusing. And the good news is that the other 2/3 of E.R.Q. write strong songs too: Blood Bank Man/ Falls Church, Virginia/ Someone Else In The Room/ Lawyers & Truckers are all numbers you will play for company when you want them to stick around. Musically, the songs are simple - a little ukelele here, a bit of clarinet there, some violin and guitar and rice in a coffee can. The album is good the first time, and then it will grow on you. (JC)

JASON EKLUND Flying Fish 70617 Jason Eklund ● CD $15.98
Singer/ songwriter for Colorado.

JACK ELLIOT Topic TSCD 477 Ramblin' Jack ● CD $15.98
Some of Jack's earliest recordings.

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOT Appleseed APR 1021 Kerouacs Last Dream ● CD $15.98
10 tracks, 48 mins., recommended. This is a re-release of a German studio record Ramblin' Jack did back in 1980. It captures him at his offhand and casual best, sort of like a live club set played just for you and the tape machine. It's all here, voice breaks, string buzzes, and homey narrative songs, keeping it easy and friendly from start to finish. The emphasis is on traditional ballads like The Cuckoo and Woody Guthrie favorites including Pretty Boy Floyd and Talkin' Fishin'. Jack finishes up with a long ramble called 912 Greens about a strange trip across the country in 1953 ending up in New Orleans. Poke the fire and stop to listen to this one. It requires some attention. (DC)

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOT Fantasy 24754 Country Style/ Live ● CD $16.98
Reissue of two early 60s Prestige albums. On "Country" Jack performs songs made famous by country legends like Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff, The Sons Of The Pioneers, Hank Williams and others. "Live" was cut at the famed Second Fret and is a mix of country, blues, mountain songs, folk and talking blues.

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOT Hightone 8089 Friends Of Mine ● CD $15.98
New one from the veteran folk master. 12 songs from the pens of Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Merle Travis and others including a rare original Bleeker Street Blues. Jack is joined by a slew of guest vocalists including Arlo Guthrie, Rosalie Sorrels, Emmylou Harris, John prine, Guy Clark and others.

RAMBLING JACK ELLIOT Hightone 8107 The Long Ride ● CD $15.98
Jack's newest features several original songs, traditional songs and songs from Mick Jagger & Keith Richard, Woody Guthrie, Tom Russell, Bob Dylan and others.

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOT Rounder 0368 Me & Bobby McGee ● CD $15.98

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOT Vanguard VCD 89/90 The Essential Ramblin' Jack Elliot ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 77 mins, recommended
Ramblin' Jack Elliot has been curiously neglected by the contemporary folk scene. Born the son of a New York doctor he became entranced by cowboy music at an early age and travelled the country eventually meeting up with Woody Guthrie in the late 40s. Guthrie became a close friend and inspiration and Jack's music marks a transitional phase between Guthrie and some of the younger disciples like Bob Dylan. He is an excellent singer with a lovely melodic quality and a country twang that belies his urban upbringing. He is also a fine guitarist in both finger and flat pick style. He also occasionally plays harmonica on a harp rack. This excellent disc is a reissue of 1974 double album comprised of two albums - a studio one from 1964 and a live one from 1965. The material, much of it traditional includes country, cowboy and hill ballads (Will The Circle Be Unbroken/ Roll On Buddy/ Roving Gambler/ More Pretty Girls/ Tennessee Stud/ Lovesick Blues, etc), blues (Black Snake/ San Francisco Bay Blues 1913 Massacre, Buffalo Skinner and others) and Bob Dylan's Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. A couple of oddities includes a South African song Guabi Guabi (composer credit to Jack - shame on you!) and I Belong To Glasgow from the repertoire of Scottish music hall performer Will Fyfe! Sound is excellent - it's too bad that Vanguard couldn't be bothered to put any notes on this as someone unfamiliar with his music would be likely to pass it by which would be a shame. (FS)

RAMBLIN' JACK ELLIOTT Big Beat CDWIK 952 Hard Travelin' - Songs By Woody Guthrie And Others ● CD $21.98
Reissue of two early 60's Prestige LP's - 25 songs by Woody Guthrie, Rev. Gary Davis, Jesse Fuller and more. Grand Coulee Dam/ Dust Bowl Blues/ This Land Is Your Land/ Pretty Boy Floyd/ Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms/ San Francisco Bay Blues/ Candy Man.

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