LATEST ADDITIONS

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2003  |  1 comments

A cold-steel stoic intensity inhabits the faces of Canadian folksingers Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker on the cover of their 1965 Vanguard album Northern Journey. The photo’s low light and blue cast amplify the title’s message. Combine the front cover with the scholarly ethno-musicalogical liner notes you’ll find on the back—perhaps a reflexive reaction to the commercialization of folk music back then and an attempt to separate Ian and Sylvia from many trite, packaged folk acts of the time—and you have an almost forbiddingly chilly surface.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2003  |  1 comments

You won’t be buying these two LPs for their sonics. Primitive television show soundtracks from a Compton, California based local program recorded before an appreciative live audience, provide listeners with a “way back machine” glimpse of another time, and seemingly another universe—especially when you consider the music for which Compton’s currently best known.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2003  |  1 comments

The good news is that playing before an audience, Alison Krauss and her crack back-up band Union Station can replicate the Bluegrass/pop fireworks—instrumentally and vocally—that they set off in the studio. That’s the bad news too, as whatever interplay there was between the group and the audience has been excised, and the arrangements and performances shed little new light on the mostly familiar tunes. That’s just fine by the fans, judging by the raucous, appreciative audience reaction at this concert, recorded at the Louisville Palace, in Louisville Kentucky, April 29th and 30th, 2002 while the group toured in support of New Favorite (Rounder 11661-0485 hybrid multi-channel SACD/Diverse Vinyl DIV001LP 180g LP). The fans at home obviously approved as well, as the album quickly went Platinum. One track, the familiar “Down to the River to Pray,” was recorded live on the “Austin City Limits” television program.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments
Since the mid-sixties, producer Joe Boyd's name has been synonymous with the British folk/rock scene. Through his Witchseason productions, Boyd produced the classic albums of The Incredible String Band, Fairport Convention, Richard and Linda Thompson, Nick Drake, Martin Carthy, and Sandy Denny among others. During that fertile musical period, the Witchseason logo on an album was an ironclad guaranty of good music- and fine sound.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 31, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

In a career spanning almost 30 years and 18 albums, Joan Armatrading has established herself as one of the most durable and respected artists in popular music. Her honesty and integrity as both a musician and world citizen are rare in a field that regularly breeds shooting stars.

Born in the West Indies on the island of St. Kitts in 1950, and moving to England when she was 7, Armatrading absorbed both the lilting, sunny rhythms of the Caribbean and the grittiness of post-industrial Birmingham. Her tough, yet vulnerable musical stance has influenced two generations of performers, attracted to her unique, difficult to categorize brand of music.

Matthew Greenwald  |  Jul 31, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Matthew' Greenwald Sparks Van Dyke Parks

MG: Well, let's first hit that great rewind button in the sky... After you attended Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh, I believe that one of the first professional jobs that you got as a musician was playing clarinet on Art Linkletter's television show, "House Party"...

Van Dyke Parks: (Laughter) No, I came out to California expecting that job to be waiting for me... It didn't happen. (Laughter)

MG: So, you came out here and lived with your older brother, Carson?

VDP: Yeah, we lived in Seal Beach.

MG: So I guess at that time you kind of set the clarinet aside and learned 'Raquinto' style guitar... Did the two of you play coffee houses?

VDP: Well, we played all of the hip places to play. We played all the way from San Diego to Santa Barbara. We went up and down the coast and played all these places.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 01, 2003  |  1 comments

The concert pianist Christopher O’Riley says Radiohead has been “the music in my head,” since he discovered OK Computer back in 1997. Because Radiohead’s music isn’t formally published, O’Riley took it upon himself to create transcriptions so he could play heavily embellished versions of the group’s themes for himself and then as station-break filler for From the Top the public radio show he hosts that spotlights young musicians. He later performed a longer set of Radiohead tunes on NPR’s Performance Todayand the band’s fan base responded positively, which set in motion the process that resulted in this album.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 01, 2003  |  1 comments

One of the most underrated of all ‘60s bands, the puppy-dog earnest The Lovin’ Spoonful sounds better and better as the 20th Century fades from view. This was their 3rd album, issued late in 1966 and the first containing all originals, many of which are stamped indelibly into the brains of Baby Boomers. The band combined folk, rock, jugband, country and of course, the influence of The Beatles.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 01, 2003  |  1 comments

Ry's son Joachim started stringing tracks together last year attempting to create a cohesive picture of his father's soundtrack work- one which would sound like more than just a series of unconnected cues. Ry liked what he heard and this long overdue project was born. The two CD set contains highlights from most of Cooder's soundtracks: Paris Texas, Alamo Bay, The Border, Blue City, Crossroads, Johnny Handsome, The Long Riders, Blue City, Trespass, Geronimo: An American Legend, and the unreleased Southern Comfort and Streets of Fire.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 30, 2003  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Michael Fremer picks favorites from the rich Joe Boyd discography

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