Acoustic Sounds

Music Reviews: Folk

When someone has worked with a Beatle, they've no doubt reached a certain career pinnacle. It may be in film, audio, art, or elsewhere, it doesn’t matter what field, Beatles don’t work with folks who are second best. When it comes to music, however, this is Mt. Everest. To be given the opportunity to create music with a Beatle is what rock and roll dreams are made of. As an added bonus, you can be sure that the contributions you’ve made to the recording will be... Read More

genre Folk Acoustic format Vinyl

Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell's best selling album, originally released 50 years ago yesterday (January 17th 1974) was preceded by a series of well-recorded by Henry Lewy demos that Rhino and the Joni Mitchell Archives say were "newly unearthed". The record was released on RSD Black Friday November 24th, 2023. Copies are easy to find on Discogs.A friend told me it's a "must have" so I ordered one. He was correct. Hearing these songs in... Read More

Best known for the cover of Chet Powers' (stage name Dino Valenti) anthemic "Get Together" found on the group's eponymous Felix Pappalardi produced 1967 debut album and later as the launch pad for Jesse Colin Young's fizzled solo career, The Youngbloods never got the much deserved recognition for its three smooth, dreamy, well-crafted rock-folk-jazz albums released by RCA between 1967 and 1969, the last and best one being this one, Elephant... Read More

genre Folk Folk Rock format Vinyl

We are all products of the times in which we live, to one degree or another, though some people transcend time. Listening to John Prine's 1971 debut album makes clear that he was at that time a product of it. If you want to understand the "zeitgeist of that time using music as your guide, this album is a good a place to start. Prine opens with an obvious song about weed but younger listeners might not get the Hoffman reference. "Spanish Pipedream"... Read More

"This artistic and experimental journey began with old and 'dirty' tape heads in The Green House Atlanta studio/rehearsal space and was produced alongside musician and friend, Aaron Hill. My intention was not to write a bunch of sad songs, but to create an album that, when listened to in a certain order, tells a story of one person's trials and tribulations, born from decisions made to replace the hurt of forlornment. As the story develops and... Read More

genre Folk Blues Rock format Vinyl

One of Neil Young's finest, most reflective and at times sad and occasionally depressing albums, Harvest Moon released in 1992 finds the then 47 year old looking back. On the opener "Unknown Legend" he's remembering observing a waitress in a diner who a few years later he'd marry. About Pegi Young he sang "Never saw a woman look finer/I used to order just to watch her float across the floor". On "From Hank to Hendrix" he... Read More

genre Folk Folk Rock format Vinyl

I know more about Klaus Barbie the war criminal than I do about Barbie the doll—or Barbie the movie—but having spent a few months pondering the meaning of the songs on Amy Ray's recent, politically tinged, geographically existential, lushly arranged solo album I was fascinated to find that Greta Gerwig's new "Barbie" movie uses in a crucial scene The Indigo Girls' classic "Closer to Fine" from their eponymous 1989 debut album. The... Read More

genre Folk Americana format Vinyl

People are hardly self-sustaining. Everyday life neglects and misaligns our spirit. Periodically, everyone must seek a spiritual tune up. Some read, some paint. Others meditate, chasing the unrivalled clarity silence offers. Most reading these words prefer music. Though not all artists create equal music. Many albums, while fun, are just that; lighthearted pleasure. Compelling music reorients its recipient. Of course, lighthearted pleasure isn’t especially compelling. Susanne Sundfør’s Blómi is. The Norwegian artist’s sixth studio album checks all boxes. It’s creative, inquisitive, and intricate, incorporating multiple cultures. Chiefly, Blómi certainly spiritually revitalises its listener.

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Vashti Bunyans's Just Another Diamond Day (1970) and Terry Callier's The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier (1965) are classic, collectible folk records from artists who never got their deserved attention. Both have been reissued by The Electric Recording Company, makers of limited and very expensive reissues of often quite rare recordings.

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genre Folk Acoustic format Vinyl

Black velvet skies, desolate streets, and lilac bags beneath everyone’s somnolent eyes. Is the foreboding purple from sleep deprivation, early morning’s merciless frost, or both? Fossilised fingers despite wool gloves, numb toes underneath double-layer socks; next year remember three pairs. It seems an ordinary Saturday yet early as 3:00 AM record collectors camp outside. Why? Record Store Day; the day Taylor Swift fans receive their yearly limited edition release.

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genre Folk Folk Pop format Vinyl

The speculation below re digital is wrong. Patrick Milligan commented on an unboxing video that it’s from tape. I stand corrected and sorry I didn’t see obscure unboxing video. However, I stand by my sound comments. These records don’t sound great compared to previously released versions and the compression is noticeable and unwelcomed. Compared to nothing I’m sure they will sound okay. And glad they are cut from tape.The four albums in this box document an artist on... Read More

genre Folk Jazz Fusion format Vinyl

(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)Don’t laugh, this is not just a novelty record—it’s actually a helluva musical album. Jim Turner is an amazing virtuoso with the ol’ crosscut and he never lapses into sound effects or cheap diddling. The album is a jumble of classical and folk music with Turner’s high-pitched saw at the center of some pretty fine acoustic recordings. The folk stuff is especially good.You gotta hear... Read More

genre Folk format Vinyl

When Anthony Wilson is not on the road playing jazz guitar, he sometimes steps into a recording booth and exits Clark Kent-like as a sensitive ‘70s era singer/songwriter.For those more accustomed to Wilson backing Diana Krall or leading jazz ensembles on a series of Groove Note releases or providing orchestrations and/or playing on dozens of studio dates (for instance on Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the Bottom”), his sumptuously packaged, sensitively drawn 2019 Songs... Read More

There was a time when you could buy a label's output and be confident you'd made a quality record purchase without hearing the music. Labels that managed this late '60s/early '70's feat included Elektra, Warner Brothers/Reprise, Island and David Geffen's Asylum Records. You could buy with confidence Love's debut, The Doors, Jackson Browne's Saturate Before Using, Traffic's Mr. Fantasy, Cat Stevens' Mona Bone Jakon, for... Read More

(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 5/6, Winter 1995/96.)It’s taken him some 20 years or so but Bruce Springsteen has finally delivered his masterpiece. Make no mistake: he’s done a ton of good work over the years. But, this is the album he’s been working towards his whole career. And there’s not a single rock song on it! Here’s evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt that the lineage which runs through Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan... Read More

(This review originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)The question is, how far are you willing to climb to reach a pure source? Do you want the water as it exits from a fissure in the rocks? Or is a filtered five gallon bottle delivered to your back door good enough for you?Which are you more comfortable with? PJ Harvey? Or Alanis Morissette? Fresh or packaged? What you’ll get here is drawn straight from the pure stream of Will Oldham’s cosmic ether. Oldham is a... Read More