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American Folk Music

Slavek Hanzlik -> Dave Hull

TIM HARDIN Polydor 521 583-2 Hang On To A Dream - The Verve Recordings ● CD $31.98
2 discs, 47 tracks, 133 min., recommended Best known for writing and recording the "folk-friendly" songs Reason to Believe, If I Were a Carpenter, and The Lady Came from Baltimore, Tim Hardin wasn't really much of a folky. He saw his own painful absurdities more clearly than he saw societal injustice. According to Colin Escott's fine notes here, he had a hard time deciding who he really was, and he took to drugs early and hard. On the other hand, and fortunately for us, he wrote and recorded some fine introspective music before he died at the age of 39. The totality of output for the Verve label is here, including the three numbers listed above, plus Don't Make Promises, While You're on Your Way, How Can We Hang on to a Dream, Black Sheep Boy, Tribute to Hank Williams, Airmobile, Seventh Son, Danville Dame, I Can't Slow Down, Keep Your Hands Off Her, Hootchie Kootchie Man, You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover, and First Love Song. Not happy music on the whole, but much of it, particularly on the first disc, is moving in ways that elude most writers, folk or otherwise. (DH)

TIM HARDIN Polydor 833 954-2 Reason To Believe - The Best Of Tim Hardin ● CD $11.98
This CD only release is drawn from Tim's first two classic recordings for Verve from 1966-67. 8 titles are pulled from Tim Hardin 1 and 7 from Tim Hardin 2 . These represent the major body of his work that would later be recognized as masterpieces and suitably covered by a multitude of singers. True to his outlaw roots, Tim's life was momentous, depraved and short lived, he died in Dec. '80. His gift for lyric was on a par with his contemporaries, Bob Dylan & Fred Neil. All three started out in the Greenwich Village coffee house circuit and became the standard bearers of poetic and lyrical prowess for an entire generation of songwriters. Tim had "gone electric" back in '64 and shaded his unique brand of folk-blues with jazz colorings and some honky tonk sentiments thrown in for good measure. Tim's vocals were sung passionately with a sense of subdued intensity, which conveyed a feeling of fragility that can only occur when uncompromising artists lay their heart & soul on the line. This CD contains a treasure chest of timeless music (SG)

JOHN HARTFORD Flying Fish 020 Mark Twang ● CD $15.98

JOHN HARTFORD Flying Fish 028 Nobody Knows What You Do ● CD $15.98

JOHN HARTFORD Flying Fish 440 Me, Oh My, How The Time Does Fly ● CD $15.98
Subtitled "A John Hartford Anthology" this is drawn from seven different records, on Flying Fish, an excellent distillation of what this whimsical ramblin', rappin', riverboatin' folkie songwriter and banjoist is all about. Includes an excellent version of his most famous composition, Gentle On My Mind , highlighted by sterling instrumental work by Benny Martin, Sam Bush, and Buddy Emmons. Also includes The Julia Belle Swain / In Tall Buildings, and Nobody Eats At Linebaugh's Anymore. (RP)

JOHN HARTFORD Flying Fish 514 Down On The River ● CD $15.98

JOHN & JAMIE HARTFORD Flying Fish 566 Hartford & Hartford ● CD $15.98

WAYNE HENDERSON Flying Fish 542 Rugby Guitar ● CD $15.98

CAROLYN HESTER Bear Family BCD 15520 At Town Hall ● CD $21.98
Originally released as two Dot Records LP's, produced and recorded by Buddy Holly's mentor Norman Petty in 1965. 24 folk/protest numbers including Tom Paxton's Outward Bound, Phil Ochs' What's That I Hear, Dylan's Playboys And Playgirls plus Summertime/ Sing Hallelujah!/ O Captain My Captain/ Jute Mill Song and many more.

CAROLYN HESTER Bear Family BCD 15701 Dear Companion ● CD $41.98
2 discs, 60 tracks, 158 min., recommended It's nice to see Bear Family shine its light of thoroughness and care on one of the leading ladies of 60's folk music, offering here a look at her work for both the Columbia and Dot labels between the years 1961 and 1967. A Texan by birth, Hester learned to love the music of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger early in life, and, in one of those paradoxes that drives and revitalizes American music, when her parents eventually move to Lubbuck, Texas, she auditioned for Norman Petty's studio across the border in New Mexico where she ended up briefly being a label mate to none other than fellow Texan, Buddy Holly. In her early recordings for Columbia, there is little evidence of that association. There, accompanied by guitarist Bruce Langhorne and harmonica player Bob Dylan, she sang in a sometimes uncomfortable soprano and was solidly folk in her music selection, singing such numbers as Swing and Turn Jubilee, I'll Fly Away, Once I Had a Sweetheart, Dink's Song, Gregorio Cortez, I Loved a Lass, and The Praties They Grow Small. She's more relaxed in her stint with Dot in 1964, singing folk (I Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound), country (Amapola), and even one Buddy Holly number (Lonesome Tears) in a lower register and to generally fully accompaniment. When she returned to Columbia in 1966, the folk boom was on the wane and Hester's material combined folk and pop, with numbers like Tim Hardin's Reason to Believe, Cat Stevens's I Love My Dog, and Lennon and McCartney's Penny Lane now in her repertoire. Listen and you will know why Carolyn Hestor was an early heroine of contemporary folk/country performer Nanci Griffith. (DH)

THE HIGHWAYMEN EMI 96334-2 Michael Row The Boat Ashore - Best Of The Highwaymen ● CD $11.98
24 tracks, 61 min., good. Even though they lacked the distinctive, charismatic lead voice with which some of the other folk groups of the time were blessed, these Connecticut fraternity brothers, good at the kind of close harmony singing that simple folk melodies required, were timely and lucky enough to have had a major pop hit with the title track here. The pleasant rather than powerful cuts here include Cindy Oh Cindy/ The Gypsy Rover/ Cotton Fields/ Whiskey in the Jar/ The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face), and the first recording of Buffy St. Marie's classic Universal Soldier. Interestingly enough, their 1974 reunion reflection of pop music fame, Number 1, is probably the strongest cut here. (DH)

ANNE HILLS Flying Fish 464 Woman Of A Calm Heart ● CD $15.98

ANNE HILLS Flying Fish 608 Don't Panic ● CD $15.98

ANNE HILLS Flying Fish 621 October Child ● CD $15.98
Eclectic selection featuring the songs of songwriter Michael Smith.

ANNE HILLS & CINDY MANGSEN Flying Fish 638 Never Grow Old ● CD $15.98
Contemporary songs with guest appearances from Priscilla Herdman, Tom Paxton, Laurie Lewis and others.

TISH HINOJOSA Rounder 3122 Culture Swing ● CD $15.98
12 tracks, 44 min., recommended. This sparkling, new "Mex-Tex" singer-songwriter, backed with a hot half-conjunto, half C&W swing band, delivers up some fine new songs. She writes in both English and Spanish--all the songs sharing both a sense of place and an air of knowing where they're going. Hinojosa's lyrics are clean and evocative and she seems equally good at socio-political commentary (Something in the Rain) and simple love ballads (Every Word). Her Louisiana Road Song could be a 14-karat Country hit. Nanci Griffith fans should definitely check this out. Some nice, fresh angles here, including the San Antonio Rose story told from Rosie's point of view. Delightful. (DC)

TISH HINOJOSA Rounder 3172 Sign Of Truth ● CD $15.98
Fine album from this expressive singer and talented songwriter

TISH HINOJOSA Watermelon 1006 Memorabilia Navidena ● CD $16.98

TISH HINOJOSA Watermelon 1008 Taos To Tennessee ● CD $16.98

ROBIN HOLCOMB Elektra Musician 60983 Robin Holcomb ● CD $15.98
Robin's first album of beautifully introspective and moody (though not brooding) songs. Her voice has a unique folkiness, with its slight Appalachian vibrato, while her piano-based songs weave in and around various tonalities. The moods are a result of the orchestration and playing of her band as much as from the writing itself. Produced by her husband, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, and including downtown New Yorkers Bill Frisell and Dave Hofstra, the playing is especially colorful, never overshadowing the songs, but enhancing the distinct character of each. Exquisite music for a rainy day - 43 minutes. (GR)

THE HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS Fantasy 24711 1 & 2 ● CD $16.98
Now available domestically. A reissue of the Rounders' first two albums for Prestige from 1964 & 1965 plus two previously unissued cuts from the same period. The result of a head-on collision between the folk revival and the counterculture, these guys got their material from old time country and country blues 78s, then filtered them through their skewed perspectives and came up with stuff like this. Peter Stampfel in particular possesses the ability to sing like a hillbilly who's gotten into the loco weed, and both he and Steve Weber (the only members of the band at this early date) remain remarkably true to the spirit of their source material and convey the feeling that they are having a great time doing it. Songs and tunes include Blues In The Bottle/ Euphoria/ Hey, Hey Baby/ Moving Day/ Hop High Ladies/ Black Eyed Susie/ Fishing Blues/ Mole In The Ground/ Chevrolet Six/ Sugar In the Ground and lots more. Includes original album notes plus new notes by Phil Smee (RP/FS)

CISCO HOUSTON Smithsonian Folkways 40059 The Folkways Years, 1944-61 ● CD $15.98
29 tracks, 70 min., recommended Gilbert Vandine Houston, a contemporary of and a collaborator with the rest of the folk luminaries who came into prominence in the 1940's, has been under-praised by many music critics because his voice is too good. To such writers he just didn't sound crude enough to sing the songs of the common people. Balderdash! Not only is his vibrant baritone one of the great voices in folk music, as this delightful retrospective demonstrates, but his point of view is also one of the most direct and honest in his corner of the music business. Among the many highlights here are three duets with Woody Guthrie - There's a Better World a-Comin'/ What Did the Deep Blue Sea Say, and A Picture from Life's Other Side - plus I Ain't Got No Home/ The Frozen Logger/ Born 100,000 Years Ago, and the fine cowboy ballad The Killer. Great American music, presented with great care. Fine sound quality and graphics, plus a 25 page booklet with vintage photos, a brief biography, and notes on each song. (DH)

CISCO HOUSTON Vanguard VMD 2131 Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie ● CD $13.98
18 tracks, 46 min., essential The digital reissue of Vanguard LP 9089 from 1963, the absolutely winning combination of 40's to 50's folk music's best voice with that same generation's best songwriter. The program, originally produced by Harold Leventhal and Lee Hays, is organized into four sections: The Land, Curly Headed Babies, Big Men, and Lone Wolves. Specific selections include Pastures of Plenty, Deportees, Sinking of the Reuben James, Hard Ain't It Hard, Pretty Boy Floyd, Philadelphia Lawyer, Ranger's Command, and the hymn to California's Depression appeal Do Re Mi. Accompaniment is simple throughout: just Houston's guitar supplemented by Eric Weisberg on fiddle, banjo, or guitar. The liner notes by Houston are reproduced from the original LP, and the sound quality is fine. Clearly one of folk music's high points. (DH)

CISCO HOUSTON Vanguard 79574 The Best Of The Vanguard Years ● CD $15.98
24 tracks from the strong voiced Houston - mostly traditional or folk standards including quite a few songs from the repertoire of his good friend and traveling companion Woody Guthrie. It includes the first CD release of his album "The Cisco Houston Special" which has Cisco with various arrangements including some incongruous orchestral and vocal chorus accompaniments. There are seven tracks from his album "Cisco Houston Sings The Songs Of Woody Guthrie" and five previously unissued tracks (Roll On Columbia/ John Hardy/ Tramp On The Street, etc.)

DAVE HULL Flying Fish 294 Hull's Victory ● CD $15.98

DAVE HULL Flying Fish 576 Reunion Rag ● CD $15.98

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