Tag: Folk

1988, Music

Sunshine on Leith (1988) by The Proclaimers

If you’re my age, or a little older, you’ve heard “I’m Gonna Be” more times than you could count. Depending on how you feel about this song, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album or severely disappointed.Because the thing is, there’s maybe one or two tracks on this album that come …

1963, Music

Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo (1963)

Given how much I like path-breaking music, and how interested I am in reading about it, it’s surprising to me I wasn’t at least aware of Bull before listening to Fantasias for Guitar and Banjo. Bull combines what is called “American Primitivism” – i.e. solo acoustic guitar performances using folk techniques but often incorporating more …

1988, Music

Tracy Chapman (1988)

Chapman’s self-titled album is the introduction of a strong new, one might even say necessary, voice. She offers what was likely a very unique perspective in late 1980s, that of a folk-singing African American woman. Excuse my ignorance but I’m not sure there was much precedent for her, even by 1988. (When I say folk, …

1968, Music

Bookends (1968) by Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were one of the groups I listened to more than most when I was in my childhood/tween oldies phase. I want to blame that for why I have such a hard time with them as an adult but I think it’s mostly because I find Paul Simon to be perhaps the most …

1993, Music

Fuzzy (1993) by Grant Lee Buffalo

I decided to talk about this record, rather than any number of other records from 1988 and 1993, in part because Michael Stipe once claimed it was the best album of 1993. Now, I don’t necessarily share musical states with the lead singer of REM, but I do feel like he had an important role, …

1968, Music

Did She Mention My Name? (1968) by Gordon Lightfoot

This is my first experience of Lightfoot outside of hearing 5 or so songs of his ad nauseum on Oldies Radio when I was a kid. I guess I associated those songs with my childhood and so I’ve never had an urge to explore his oeuvre. Reading about this record, I was shocked to find …

1967, Music

One Nation Underground (1967) by Pearls Before Swine

There is a school of thought about how music evolved before the internet that believes that music needs urbanization to really develop. This school of thought views music as evolving in scenes in specific major cities. The internet has made this no longer necessary as now anyone can communicate with anyone else and even create …

1966, Music

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel

I don’t know if I can put into words the difference in quality between Sounds of Silence and this record. Sounds of Silence was so tossed together. Though this record features some re-used songs as well, it’s clear that the duo had a lot more time to work out what they were doing, and the …

1966, Music

Sunshine Superman (1966) by Donovan

I grew up listening to oldies radio so I have long been familiar with Donovan’s hit singles. I guess they made no impression on me because I really never thought much about it. But this record is a real standout. At the dawn of psychedelia (there had been very little psychedelic music), Donovan releases a …

1966, Music

Sounds of Silence (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel

This album absolutely reeks of an attempt by S&G to capitalize on the hit the bastardized title track had become. Whether they themselves did it, or they were coerced, the result is a mixed bag. I am not a Paul Simon fan, but both the title track and “I Am a Rock” are great songs. …

1970, Music

Workingman’s Dead (1970) by the Grateful Dead

If you had been aware of the Dead in Spring 1970 but you didn’t live in San Francisco, you would have no way of knowing the band was birthed by a folk band in the mid ’60s. If you caught them live, you would have been familiar with how they were the first ever jam …

2009, Music

Townes (2009) by Steve Earle

I can’t say that I am much of a fan of Steve Earle at this point, as most of his stuff I’ve heard I’ve found underwhelming. And I can’t say I am much of a fan of Townes Van Zandt either; the only album of his I’ve ever heard was horribly – perhaps even offensively …

2012, Movies

Searching for Sugar Man (2012, Malik Bendjelloul)

Unfortunately the best parts of this film are given away by the trailer: basically if you know the story (and the trailer tells you the story) the whole film will work less well, because the film is designed for people who don’t know the story. (Advertisers ruin a movie again!) So, first off I want …

2007, Music

My Name is Buddy by Ry Cooder (Nonesuch 2007)

Cooder is trying to do the same thing here he did with Chavez Ravine only with new (but related) subject matter and this time his main sources are American folk-based (though like with Chavez there are loads of genres at play). I find this slightly less effective if only because of the cat conceit. I …

1994, Music

American Recordings by Johnny Cash (American 1994)

Though I absolutely appreciate the production for this album, I must say that I find his song selection got better as the series went on (even though they moved away from the concept of Cash by himself). At the time I guess this seemed novel, but now that we have six of these albums I …

2011, Music

WIMF: the Wolfe Island Music Festival 2011

My friend recently noted that the acronym is confusing, making one think of the IMF, so I decided to spell it out. Just putting that out there. This was the 13th edition of the festival but my first. I must say I was unfamiliar with most of the bands, though I knew many of them …