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American Folk Music

Bernice Johnson Reagon -> Tom Russell


BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON Smithsonian Folkways 40049 Give Your Hands To Struggle ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 48 min., recommended
The digital reissue of the identically titled 1975 Paredon Records album, originally produced by Barbara Dane, with the addition of one bonus track. The program features Civil Rights Movement veteran and Sweet Honey in the Rock leader Reagon in rich multi-tracked harmony with herself, occasionally accompanied by simple percussion. Featured numbers include We've Come a Long Way to Be Together, There's a New World Coming, Old Ship of Zion, Why Did They Take Us Away, Freedom in the Air, I Won't Crumble with You If You Fall, and the title number. Music of uncompromising dignity, power, and beauty, offered here with a lengthy booklet containing traditional liner notes, song annotations, complete lyrics, and a Reagon discography. (DH)

TOSHI REAGON Smithsonian Folkways 40095 Kindness ● CD $14.98
10 tracks, 43 min., recommended Toshi Reagon is the daughter of Bernice Johnson Reagon, original Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee Freedom Singer, civil rights activist, and cornerstone of Sweet Honey in the Rock. Daughter, like mother, has a powerhouse voice and a profound sense of conviction. But Toshi is not a straightforward traditionalist in her approach; her music speaks of urban influences and a 90's sensibilities too. Numbers here include Misty Mountain, Mr. Conductor Man, Land on the Shore, Where You Gon Be Standin', and For Our Love. Potent music on the fringes of the folk camp, offered here with impeccable sound quality, thorough notes, and an edge that suggests both joy and anger. (DH)

LEON REDBONE MCA 549 763 Up A Lazy River ● CD $17.98
12 tracks, 35 min., good. Old-timey style tunes, grumbled and slurred out by Leon Redbone. Includes a few old favorites like Up A Lazy River/ Gotta Shake That Thing/ Mr. Jelly Roll Baker, plus a handful of Redbone's own compositions. Plenty of bandoneons, violins, banjos, dobros and tubas to liven up any party. Dr. John on piano heads a cast of talented musicians. (PG)

LEON REDBONE MCA 549 764 Red to Blue ● CD $17.98
This is Leon's 6th release, and continues this gravel-throated wonder's appreciation for jazz, blues, and country standards of the 30s, 40s & 50s. We get 12 tunes with full instrumental backing - piano, bass, drums, clarinet, other assorted reeds and pedal steel on Diamonds Don't Mean a Thing and Think of Me Thinking of You . There are some special guests too! Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) adds piano on the aforementioned Diamonds , plus Steal Away Blues, Nobody Cares If I'm Blue and Living The Blues . The Roches warble on Reaching For Someone and Not Finding Anyone There. Redbone's vocal gymnastics are of-the-cuff, similar to Tom Waits. Recommended (SG)

LEON REDBONE Warner Bros. 2888 On The Track ● CD $11.98
The outstanding 1975 debut album with Lazybones/ My Walking Stick/ Lulu's Back In Town/ Polly Wolly Doodle/ Ain't Misbehavin' and others by one of the 70's greatest anachronisms.

ANN REED Red House 24 Talk To Me ● CD $14.98

PRESTON REED Flying Fish 70111 Preston Reed ● CD $14.98

PRESTON REED Flying Fish 70423 The Road Less Travelled ● CD $14.98

JOHN RENBOURN & STEFAN GROSSMAN Shanachie 95001 Live In Concert ● CD $15.98

JOHN RENBOURN & STEFAN GROSSMAN Shanachie 97003 Snap A Little Owl ● CD $15.98

MALVINA REYNOLDS Smithsonian Folkways 40124 Ear To The Ground ● CD $14.98
23 tracks, 62 minutes, recommended Considering the major influence of her work on American folk music, it's hard to believe that this is the first CD release of Marvina Reynold's recordings. Many of these songs are true classics known to all folk fans - Little Boxes, What Have They Done with the Rain, and It Isn't Nice to name a few but many of us know them only through the recordings of other performers. The period of these recordings, 1960 through 1978, coincides with the greatest period of social turmoil and change of this century and the songs found here were instrumental in defining and charting that period. Reynolds sings in a voice that is raw and unpolished much of the time, but full of wit and expression. These recordings were originally released on the Pacific Cascade and Cassandra labels and are long out of print. The arrangements feature quiet and unmemorable acoustic backup, but the focus is on Reynold's singing and the material, as it should be. In addition to the songs mentioned above the album includes On the Rim of the World/ Little Red Hen/ Bury Me in My Overalls/ The Judge Said/ Rosie Jane/ The Little Mouse, and 13 others. (DP)

JIM RINGER Philo 1202 The Band Of Jesse James - The Best Of Jim Ringer ● CD $14.98
17 tracks, 53 min., recommended. Jim Ringer was a mainstay of the California folk music community in the 1970's, and this collection of tracks drawn from his various Philo and Flying Fish LP's shows why. His fine song writing talent and the blend of his gruff voice with gentle acoustic accompaniment and sometime female harmony makes for a winning folk/country combination. Featured tracks include Streamlined Cannonball, Good to Get Home, Saginaw Michigan, Rachel, New Harmony, Amanda, Still Got That Look, Linda's on Her Own, and Strawberry Roan. Music well worth hearing. Sound quality is excellent, and the genuinely warm and appreciative notes are written by Ringer's second wife and one time singing partner Mary McCaslin. (DH)

JEAN RITCHIE Greenhays 70717 Kentucky Christmas ● CD $15.98

JEAN RITCHIE Tradition TCD 1058 Carols For All Seasons ● CD $11.98
1964 album of Christmas and other carols.

JEAN RITCHIE & DOC WATSON Smithsonian Folkways 40005 At Folk City ● CD $14.98
This was originally issued in 1963 - the reissue has four unissued cuts recorded at the same time. These kinds of pairings were common during the folk boom of the 60's; unlikely joinings that, often as not, didn't really work out. Although Doc Watson and Jean Ritchie had similar backgrounds, their music had little in common. Ritchie was a very polished professional folksinger and dulcimer player, but I've always found her approach a little too studied and self-consciously folkie. Doc Watson, on the other hand, has always seemed to be as natural and open as his music. Together they sound unnatural; the spontaneity needed to make this idea work just isn't there. The solo cuts are the most successful, such as Doc's Blue Ridge Mountain Blues/ Wabash Cannonball/ Spike Driver Blues. Liner notes are comprehensive and well written. (RP)

PAUL ROBESON Folk Era 1442 The Peace Arch Concerts ● CD $14.98
A remarkable musical and historical document. In the 1950s Robeson had his passport revoked and travel to Canada forbidden. In 1952 and '53 he performed two concerts singing from a flat bed truck located one foot from the Canadian border at the Peace Arch Park in Blaine, Washington attended by 40,000 Canadians and Americans. Includes speeches and songs such as Evertime I Feel The Spirit/ No More Auction Block/ Love Will Find A Way/ Go Down Moses/ Joe Hill/ Scandalize My Name and others. J.Edgar Hoover was probably apoplectic!

PAUL ROBESON Folk Era 1447 Freedom Train And The Welsh Transatlantic Concert ● CD $14.98
This CD includes Paul's 1947 reading of the Langston Hughes poem "Freedom Train" and a 1957 concert given by telephone for miners in Wales when the US government denied Robeson a visa to travel because of his political beliefs.

PAUL ROBESON Vanguard 117/18 Ballad For Americans ● CD $15.98

JUDY RODERICK Vanguard VMD 79197 Woman Blue ● CD $13.98
17 tracks, 59 min., recommended The digital reissue of Roderick's identically-titled LP from 1965, with four nice bonus cuts from the same sessions, and a particularly welcome addition to the growing roster of vintage folk/blues re-releases. Unlike many of her contemporaries, her taste ran to the blues and her approach was nicely understated, lacking the raw power of a Joplin or a Henske, but possessing some of the subtlety that such powerful singers often lack. Program highlights include Someone to Talk My Troubles To, Rock Me Baby, Young Girl's Dream, Louisville Lou, Country Girl Blues, Black and Blue, You Were on My Mind, Mama Keeps Her Man at Home, and Long Old Road. All offered in impeccable stereo sound, with both the original and new liner notes. (DH)

SALLY ROGERS Flying Fish 70409 The Unclaimed Pint/ In The Circle Of The ● CD $14.98

SALLY ROGERS Flying Fish 70493 Generations ● CD $14.98

STAN ROGERS Fogarty's Cover FCM 10 Home In Halifax ● CD $16.98
Recorded live in 1982 with Garnet Rogers, Paul Mills & Jim Morrison. Includes live versions of some of his most famous songs - Field Behind The Plow/ Free In The Harbor/ The Mary Ellen Carter/ Barrett's Privateers, etc

STAN ROGERS Gadfly 212 For The Family ● CD $15.98

SALLY ROGERS & CLAUDIA SCHMIDT Flying Fish 425 Closing The Distance ● CD $14.98
Sally Rogers & Claudia Schmidt harmonize beautifully in this first collaborative effort. Howard Bursen joins in a couple of the traditional songs - Ezekiel Saw The Wheel/ Appalachian Round , for some well-crafted part singing. Traditional songs and spirituals alternate with contemporary pieces including three new Claudia Schmidt compositions, performed with exuberance. Malvina Reynold's merrily acid Gentlemen Of Distinction In The Army is the one topical piece. The album ends with the arresting, hypnotic round Hey Hey Watenay/ I Walk In Beauty , a medley of an Ojibway lullaby and a Navajo poem arranged by Sally Rogers. The Singing is nicely supported by Claudia's and Sally's mountain dulcimers, and by occasional fiddle, mandolin, cello & bass. Claudia's deluxe pianolin also graces a couple of the songs.. (BC)

SALLY ROGERS & HOWARD BURSEN Flying Fish 538 When Howie Met Sally ● CD $14.98

JILL ROGOFF Alcazar 2003 Celtic Cradle ● CD $15.98

ARLEN ROTH Rounder 11538 Guitar ● CD $14.98

PETER ROWAN Flying Fish 205 Medicine Trail ● CD $14.98

TOM RUSH Elektra 74018 The Circle Game ● CD $11.98

TOM RUSH Fantasy 24709 Blues, Songs, And Ballads ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 78 min., recommended Here, at the beginning of his recording career in 1963, is New England's own Tom Rush - a fine guitarist, a fine singer, and a collector of songs ranging from blues to Child ballads. He is accompanied by Fritz Richmond, of Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, on washtub bass. Selections include Duncan and Brady, I Don't Want Your Millions Mister, Big Fat Woman, Diamond Joe, Joe Turner, More Pretty Girls, Pallet on the Floor, Barb'ry Allen, and Baby Please Don't Go. Eclectic traditional music, Boston style, from the height of the 60's folk revival, sung with the conviction that then prevailed, and presented this time around with excellent sound quality, a vintage cover photo, and lofty critical notes by Peter Knobler of Crawdaddy Magazine. The digital reissue of all of "Got a Mind to Ramble" (Folklore 14003) and most of "Folk Songs and Blues" (Prestige 7374). (DH)

TOM RUSSELL Hightone 8099 The Man From God Knows Where ● CD $14.98
New album from this popular performer is a song cycle drawing on his family history originating in Ireland and Norway and in fact this set was recorded in Norway with Tom accompanied by Norwegian musicians and some guest vocalists including Iris DeMent, Dolores Keane, Dave Van Ronk and others. Deluxe packaging.

TOM RUSSELL Philo 1158 Box Of Visions ● CD $14.98
12 tracks, 50 mins., recommended. Russell is a very American singer-songwriter, weaving songs about all sorts of people and all sorts of dreams, and singing in a style sometimes reminiscent of John Prine, sometimes of Greg Brown, but more often staunchly original. There's something authentic, positive, and hopeful about Russell's lyrics, whether he's singing about Middle America dead-end towns or street punks or wistful remembrance of past love. He writes clever lines but doesn't play them for laughs, providing memorable snapshots from lives of regular people. He's backed here by a particularly rocking band featuring the fine guitar work of Andrew Hardin and with one or two cameo appearances including David Hidalgo on accordion. (DC)


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