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American Folk Music

Dave Van Ronk -> Kate Wolf



DAVE VAN RONK Fantasy 24710 Inside Dave Van Ronk ● CD $16.98
25 tracks, 77 min., highly recommended
The digital reissue of "Dave Van Ronk, Folksinger" (Folklore 14012) from1963 and "Inside Dave Van Ronk" (Folklore 14025) from 1964, showcasing the gravel voice of this delightful Brooklyn born and bred folk/blues singer. Selections include Samson and Delilah, You've Been a Good Old Wagon, Long John, He Was a Friend of Mine, Stackerlee, House Carpenter, Talking Cancer Blues, Fair and Tender Ladies, Silver Dagger, and He Never Came Back. Self-accompanied numbers, sung, growled, and occasionally brayed by one of the folk revival's most interesting and original artists, at the height of his powers here. Well worth your money and your time. (DH)

DAVE VAN RONK Fantasy 24772 Two Sides Of Dave Van Ronk ● CD $16.98

DAVE VAN RONK Just A Memory JAM 9132 Acoustic Guitar & Vocals Live ● CD $12.98
13 tracks recorded at a live concert in Montreal in 1967.

DAVE VAN RONK Philo 1036 Sunday Street ● CD $15.98

DAVE VAN RONK Philo 1065 Somebody Else, Not Me ● CD $15.98
CD issue of 1979 album featuring the veteran folker in fine form on a selection of 10 folk and blues songs and tunes including Jelly Roll Morton's Michigan Water Blues, Scott Joplins The Entertainer, Brownie McGhee's Sportin' Life, Woody Guthrie's Pastures Of Plenty and more including Tom Paxton's touching tribute to Mississippi John Hurt.

DAVE VAN RONK Smithsonian Folkways 40041 The Folkways Years 1959-61 ● CD $15.98
Long a staple performer in folk venues all over America, Dave Van Ronk was a leading member of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the fifties. He personified for many what a folk singer should be, with his gravelly voice, tasty but rudimentary fingerpicking guitar style, and imaginative and far-reaching repertoire. These twenty cuts, taken from three Folkways albums, represent Dave at his finest, singing such traditional fare as Duncan And Brady/ Hesitation Blues/ Willie The Weeper/ 12 Gates To The City/ Careless Love/ Bed Bug Blues/ Winin' Boy/ Come Back Baby and the hilarious Georgie On The IRT, a spoof of Maybelle Carter's Engine #143. Van Ronk has always known a good song when he hears one, and his versions of many of these classics are the first versions many aspiring folkies heard. You can almost hear the steam escaping from the espresso machine as this disc plays. (RP)

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Tomato 2007 Nashville Sessions ● CD $12.98

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1020 At My Window ● CD $15.98
CD issue of acclaimed recent album by brilliant Texas tunesmith. With Mark O'Connor, Jim Rooney & others.

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Sugar Hill 1026 Pancho And Lefty (Live And Obscure) ● CD $15.98
"Live And Obscure" is a welcome edition of this premier Texas songwriter's work. Joining Van Zandt at the 12 & Porter in Nashville are lead guitarist Mickey White and Donny Silverman, who adds understated sax and flute shadings. Of the 13 songs here only six have been reprised from the Live At The Old Quarter LP. Live And Obscure was recorded in 1985 before an appreciative audience, and it's remarkable how little change has taken place in Townes' presentation. There is a fine assortment of vintage Van Zandt, with Loretta, White Freightliner Blues and the often covered classic Pancho & Lefty interspersed with the more obscure Many A Fine Lady, Nothin' and Pueblo Waltz . Sound quality is absolutely sterling. (SG)

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Tomato 2008 Our Mother The Mountain ● CD $12.98
11 songs, including Kathleen, Be Here To Love Me, Our Mother The Mountain.

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Tomato 2009 Flyin' Shoes ● CD $12.98
10 tracks, 33 min., recommended. Originally issued in 1978, this set of tunes finds Van Zandt in the occasional and not entirely felicitous company of electrified instrumentation. Otherwise, it's pretty much downbeat country folk numbers written by the performer, the notable exception being his re-make of Bo Diddley's classic Who Do You Love. Townes' own numbers include Rex's Blues, Pueblo Waltz, No Place to Fall, Loretta, and When She Don't Need Me. Though some admire his lyrics and have compared him to Bob Dylan among others, John Morthland in The Best of Country Music calls Van Zandt "yet another of those legendary Texas singer-songwriters whose reputation turns out to be much greater than his accomplishments." That kind of makes me feel bad. I don't think he's in the Dylan league myself, but every now and then I like to listen to to his stuff anyway. (DH)

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Tomato 2013 Delta Momma Blues ● CD $12.98
Reissue of Tomato 7013 from 1978. Van Zandt is in my eyes a terrific songwriter, but it's his stark plaintive vocal delivery which might be hard for some folks to digest. He is an exposed nerve end, whose minimal style, basically voice and guitar, focuses the listener immediately to the song's content. His songs have a tragic quality running just below the surface and I do believe he's carrying a torch for Hank Williams. But I dig his upbeat melancholy, and a finer songwriter from this section of the south has yet to be found. Some of his better known tunes from here include Tower Song/ Brand New Companion/ Come Tomorrow/ Turnstyled, Junkpiled. Recommended. SG)

TOWNES VAN ZANDT Tomato 3011 Live At The Old Quarter, Houston, Texas ● CD $19.98
Live recording from July 1973. 21 songs, including Pancho & Lefty/Two Girls/White Freight Liner Blues/No Place To Fall/Kathleen/Only Him Or Me.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Columbia 65257 Attempted Mustache ● CD $12.98
Reissue of 1973 Columbia album.

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III RCA 1203 Therapy ● CD $15.98

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Rounder 3050 A Live One ● CD $15.98

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Rounder 3076 Fame And Wealth ● CD $15.98

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III Rounder 3096 I'm Alright ● CD $15.98
A terrific album! I've never been a real fan of Wainright but what caught my eye was Loud's partner-in-crime Richard Thompson who doubles here on guitars and is co-producer. The album is full of witty, mini-life portraits, caustic observations, and some 'kiddie' songs. There's a brilliant song - Screaming Issue - about the helplessness he feels when his daughter Lucy starts to cry. The British Isles are hotly represented here - Christine Coll with her angelic vocal support, Danny Thompson (Pentangle) ensures a solid bottom on string bass, and Gerry Conway (Bunch) is a demon on the drum kit. Paul Brady also adds some backing vocals. Loudon is to be applauded for delivering 12 songs you can sink your teeth into. ([SG])

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT Rounder 3106 More Love Songs ● CD $15.98

THE WEAVERS Bear Family BCD 15930 Goodnight Irene ● CD $139.98
4 CD box set with book. The definitive collection of recordings by this important folk group surveying the first five years of their recording career. It starts with their Charter & Hootennanny sessions from 1949, includes 16 previously unreleased audition acetates, WNYC airchecks, their complete Decca recordings and Snader transcriptions, previously unreleased carols, documentary appearances, tracks from a children's record, Fred Hellerman's & Ronnie Gilbert's solo records, a 1950 radio interview and CD-ROM containing the Weavers' Snader telescriptions.

THE WEAVERS MCA 11465 Best Of The Decca Years ● CD $11.98
16 tracks, 45 min., essential. In spite of the fact that Gordon Jenkins's sometimes heavy-handed arrangements of the music of this seminal folk ensemble occasionally strike me as the height of absurdity, the overwhelming positive energy of the early 50's Decca recordings of the Weavers makes them, for me at least, utterly indispensable. As Mary Travers once remarked of the entire 60's folk movement: "We are all very much the Weavers' children." Hats off to Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, and Fred Hellerman for that and for the uplifting music here: On Top of Old Smoky, Hard Ain't It Hard, Goodnight Irene, (The Wreck of the The) John B, The Roving Kind, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, The Midnight Special, and When the Saints Go Marching In, among others. The sound quality is splendid, the cover photo reveals an appropriately youthful ensemble, and the liner notes tastefully tell the awful and ugly truth about the blacklisting of the Weavers during the McCarthy era. In fact, the only thing that's really wrong with this disc is it's too damn short. But you'd better get it while you can anyway. MCA certainly hasn't been very conscientious about reissuing its early treasures. (DH)

THE WEAVERS Omega 3021/2 Kisses Sweeter Than Wine ● CD $29.98
Two CD set of previously unissued live concert recordings from 1951 & '52.

THE WEAVERS Vanguard VCD 15/16 Greatest Hits ● CD $15.98
CD issue of Vanguard VSD 15/16 featuring late 50s/ early 60s 25 of their most popular songs - When The Saints Go Marching In/ Tzena, Tzena, Tzena/ Wimoweh/ Follow The Drinking Gourd/ Guantanamera/ Rock Island Line/ Goodnight Irene/ This Land Is Your Land, etc.

THE WEAVERS Vanguard VMD 79100 Almanac ● CD $13.98
12 songs by Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert, and Erik Darling (no Pete Seeger here). When The Stars Begin To Fall/ Brother Can You Spare A Dime/ Rally Round The Flag/ Get Along Little Dogies/ True Religion/ Which Side Are You On.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS Smithsonian Folkways 40003 Happy Woman Blues ● CD $15.98
Originally issued in 1980 as Folkways 31067, this completely enjoyable album (Williams' second) is filled with 11 traditional country and blues-sounding originals. She generally avoids opportunities for cliched lyrics as carefully as she avoids relinquishing any creative control to record industry boneheads who would like it if she wrote a bankable hit now and then. Don't think she can't, either. Her subject of choice more often than not is love gone wrong, or love gone away, sometimes both. Whether it's the plaintive King Of Hearts or the lighthearted I Lost It, Williams remains intelligently optimistic in the face of romantic disaster. She's blue, but she's not bitter. The title track isn't half as ironic as it could be. And that's good news. (Notes by John Morthland). (JC)

LUCINDA WILLIAMS Smithsonian Folkways 40042 Ramblin' ● CD $15.98
Lucinda's 1988 album on Rough Trade was an alternative radio hit (until that label folded), and for a time, it looked as if bigger things were in store for her. Her talent is certainly deserving, as this reissue of her first album on Folkways (1978) indicates. Even then her unique deadpan, almost dispassionate vocal delivery belied the power in her voice. Most of the cuts here are traditional blues (Ramblin' On My Mind/ Me And My Chauffeur/ Motherless Children/ Malted Milk Blues/ Drop Down, Daddy), and Lucinda accompanies herself on twelve-string guitar, while guitarist John Grimaudo provides nice accompaniment. My favorite cuts on the album are the country tinged efforts, like her unique readings of Little Darlin' Pal Of Mine/ Jambalaya and especially Great Speckled Bird/ Satisfied Mind. All in all, an interesting early view of a talent perhaps too unique to fit comfortably anywhere in the commercial recording industry, but an intriguing talent indeed. RP)

MASON WILLIAMS Vanguard VSD 137/38 Music, 1968-1971 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 68 min., recommended Not really a folk performer, Mason Williams burst onto the pop charts in 1968 with the hard-to-classify guitar number Classical Gas. He signed with the Smothers Brothers TV show, produced music for them, including the show's theme, and remained a fixture on the music scene into the early 70's. This retrospective looks at his broad range of work for the Warner Brothers label during those years. Selections include the aforementioned hit, Sunflower, Saturday Night at the World, $13 Stella, The Last Great Waltz, Cowboy Buckaroo, Reason to Believe, Manha de Carnival, Train Ride in G, and Life Song. Folksy music from a talented artist who rode the main stream for a while, nicely produced with liner notes by Williams himself. (DH)

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS Flying Fish 359 Close As We Can Get / Nine 'til Midnight ● CD $15.98

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS Sugarhill 1027 Rhythm Of Love ● CD $15.98

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS Sugarhill 1040 Turn Toward Tomorrow ● CD $15.98

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS Sugarhill 1043 Live ● CD $13.98

ROBIN & LINDA WILLIAMS Sugarhill 3832 Good News ● CD $15.98

JESSE WINCHESTER Rhino 70085 The Best Of Jesse Winchester ● CD $16.98
18 track collection of recordings drawn from albums recorded for Bearsville between 1972 and 1981 - Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt/ Yankee Lady/ Biloxi/ Bowling Green/ Defying Gravity/ I'm Looking For A Miracle/ Skip Rope Song/ Rhumba Man/ Dangerous Fun, etc.

JESSE WINCHESTER Sugar Hill 1023 Humour Me ● CD $15.98
CD of Jesse's critically acclaimed new release has two extra tracks - Pushover and Love Is fair .


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