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Troubadours in the Folk Era Vol. 1
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Troubadours in the Folk Era Vol. 1

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Recently added bycarterchristian1
Box (1) Box 25 (1) CD (1) folk music (1) music (1)

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Amazon Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
These are the really early troubadours of the folk era, February 16, 2005
By Lawrance M. Bernabo "Chicken Hat Theater Improv" (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews


I was going to say that Volume 1 of Rhino's "Troubadours of the Folk Era" goes off the beaten path in terms of what most listeners will associate with that period of American popular music, but the truth is that many of the artists collected on this CD were those who beat that path in the first place. Granted, you can go back in history to find recording of folk singers that predate Woody Guthrie, but clearly the folk revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s begins with American troubadour, so starting off with him singing "This Land Is Your Land" is the musical equivalent of Moses coming down from the mountain top to point out the Promised Land.

This CD plugs up some serious holes in my folk music collection, which is rather surprising because I have been focusing on this for the past year and the more I track down the more songs I am adding to my want list. Some of the songs here are covers of traditional tunes, such as Odetta's version of "John Henry" and Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." But what stands out are some of the "folk" songs that are working in other musical elements. Richard & Mimi Farina work in some jazz elements into "Reno, Nevada," and then you have Dave Van Ronk's "Cocaine Blues" and Ramblin' Jack Elliot's "San Francisco Bay Blues." Then there is the happy irony of the Holy Modal Rounders' "Mister Spaceman," which sounds like it is bein' a-played on the front porch of some shack back thar in the hills although the song is about a man in space (hence, the title).

I was sort of surprised that the 18-tracks on this CD extend all the way from Guthrie to the Sixties, as represented by Buffy Saint-Marie's "Universal Soldier." Unlike many folk collections, this one does not stick to an obvious chronology. Overall I like the songs that are clearly grounded in old-fashioned folk, such as Jesse Colin Young's "Four in the Morning" and Eric Von Schmidt's "Wasn't That a Might Storm," and the "new" female folk singers included, Bonnie Dobson ("Morning Dew") and Carolyn Hester ("I'll Fly Away"). Given the significance of the opening track I also think it says something that the final track comes from Donovan ("Catch the Wind"), a folk singer who became a commercial success without really going commercial. That seems totally in keeping with the other artists on this collection. Of course, since this series was put together by Rhino, we would not expect anything less.
  carterchristian1 | Dec 9, 2008 |
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