woody guthrie

Content tagged as woody guthrie.

Various: Friends of Old Time Music (Smithsonian Folkways/Elite)

Various: Friends of Old Time Music (Smithsonian Folkways/Elite)

Subtitled "The Folk Arrival 1961-1965", this three CD collection with a handsome and informative booklets of essays and histories of the songs, will be of great interest to those turned on to this kind of unadorned music by the soundtrack to Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? Or who like rural blues, artists like the Stanley Brothers, or...

John Mellencamp: Freedom's Road (Universal)

John Mellencamp: Freedom's Road (Universal)

If this guy hadn't been such a dickhead when he was John Cougar in the early 80s, or so arrogant when he became John Cougar Mellencamp we'd probably be falling all over him now as one of the authentic voices of Americana/alt.country rock. He reinvented himself as a man with a conscience and in touch with the spirit of small towns in the...

Various: If You Ain't Got The Do-Re-Mi (Smithsonian)

Various: If You Ain't Got The Do-Re-Mi (Smithsonian)

Subtitled "Songs of Rags and Riches" this 27-track collection pulls together the likes of bluesmen Lead Belly and Josh White, folk singers such as Pete Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers, and others on songs (mostly) born in the Depression. So here are classic songs such as Brother Can You Spare A Dime? and Nobody Knows You...

Steve Earle: Washington Square Serenade (NewWest/Elite)

Steve Earle: Washington Square Serenade (NewWest/Elite)

A decade after Bob Dylan washed up in Greenwich Village, Steve Earle left his home in Texas and started on the same journey -- inspired, he admits, by the cover photo on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan which showed the skinny Bob and his girlfriend Suze huddling on a wind-whipped street. Earle (see tag for interviews, album reviews) never made it...

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

Various: Albums from the Smithsonian Folkways series (Folkways/Southbound)

The Smithsonian is one of those great American institutions which, if it says "we're here to help" actually is. In their Smithsonian Folkways collection they have short audio examples of 40,000 tracks and through their Global Sound website they are all available for download. And they have the original liner notes for the relevant...

Pete Molinari: A Virtual Landscape (Shock)

Pete Molinari: A Virtual Landscape (Shock)

English singer-songwriter Molinari's debut Walking off the Map was a beguiling, blatantly Dylanesque affair which found great favour at Elsewhere -- but this time out he's like a pub quiz: which song am I referencing now?Usually it's Dylan but he lifts shamelessly from Sam Cooke, Hank Williams, the Stones' in 65, young Donovan . . . And you...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008: The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Shock)

These three actual brothers (and a friend) weighed in with the Tonight at the Arizona which made the Best of Elsewhere 2007 list and turned up as many a critic's favourite Americana album.This long-awaited sequel follows an interim album sold at gigs, and a few of those songs are now available on this self-titled album (and some other tracks...

John Mellencamp:  Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

John Mellencamp: Life, Death, Love Freedom (Universal)

John Mellencamp's last album Freedom's Road was so good -- a grounded, raw and uncompromising look at America in the hinterland and heartland -- that this similarly conceived new one should attract immediate attention.Mellencamp -- who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year -- somehow falls below the sight lines in...

Woody Guthrie: Original Folk, The Best of Woody Guthrie (Music Club)

Woody Guthrie: Original Folk, The Best of Woody Guthrie (Music Club)

Judging by the roar of approval when Steve Earle paid tribute to Pete Seeger at his Auckland concert, and the rediscovery of the earthy wisdom and political position of Woody Guthrie by another generation, this double CD of 50 songs (with minimal liner essay) is welcome. Disappointingly it is the abridged version of The Land is Your Land...

HARRY SMITH'S LEGACY REVISITED 2007: His grave is being kept . . . clean?

HARRY SMITH'S LEGACY REVISITED 2007: His grave is being kept . . . clean?

In 1952, the 29-year old Harry Smith -- an archivist and film-maker whose innovative work bears comparison with the genius of Elsewhere favourite Norman McLaren -- selected 84 songs from his collection of thousands of fragile 78rpm discs and -- through Moses Asch of Folkways Records -- released them as three double albums on the then-new LP...

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

PETE SEEGER PROFILED: The conscience of America

When I was growing up and the sound of the Beatles and the Stones was the soundtrack to my life, the folk movement out of the US just seemed quaint and grounded in another era. While artists such as Joan Baez and the young Bob Dylan made an impact, a bunch of buttoned-down college boys in sweaters singing "hang down your head Tom...

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: A Stranger Here (Anti/Shock)

Ramblin' Jack Elliott: A Stranger Here (Anti/Shock)

When the previous album by this one-time fellow traveller with Woody Guthrie and mentor to the young Bob Dylan arrived -- I Stand Alone of two years back  -- I had to admit I thought Elliott had long since passed on. But that album not only confirmed he was alive and well, but also pretty darned sprightly. This one produced by Joe Henry...

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

Various: Troubadours Vol 1 (Exile)

My guess is that you'd have to look long and hard (possibly through secondhand bins) to find albums by Glen Moffatt, Al Hunter and Red McKelvie who, from the late Eighties to the mid-Nineties carried the flag for contemporary New Zealand country music. They didn't owe a lot to Nashville other than the sense of a song but were too straight to...

Various: The Little Red Box of Protest Songs (Proper/Southbound)

Various: The Little Red Box of Protest Songs (Proper/Southbound)

Perhaps this three-CD box set (with a DVD and booklet) might be subtitled "Songs for the New Recession" as the songs here have an almost alarming resonance, despite them being sourced from the Wobblies of a century ago and making their way into the contemporary world via Depression days and then the likes of Pete Seeger who has kept...

Willie Nelson: Lost Highway (Lost Highway)

Willie Nelson: Lost Highway (Lost Highway)

Another month, another Willie album, huh? This 17 track collection of songs from his period on the Lost Highway label (and some unreleased material) comes hard on the heels of his American Classic album (a sequel of sorts to his excellent Stardust of many years ago, Willie on standards) and prior to that there was the natural pairing with...

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

Chris Prowse: Trouble on the Waterfront (Proco)

The 1951 waterfront strike in Auckland (which lasted for five months but had repercussions for years, even decades, after) was one of the most significant flashpoints and dividing lines in New Zealand history, certainly as much as the Springbok tour three decades later. The strike, lock-out, state of emergency, troops and farmers coming to...

Frank Turner: Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)

Frank Turner: Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)

One part youthful Billy Bragg and another of very early Springsteen (the Asbury Park period) and a Pogues-styled energy propels this manic, politicised, wordy outing by this English post-punk folk poet who does a terrific line in taking down myths: "There's no such things as rock stars there's just people who play music, and some of them...

Donovan: Troubadour; The Definitive Collection 1964-76 (1998 compilation)

Donovan: Troubadour; The Definitive Collection 1964-76 (1998 compilation)

When I interviewed Donovan in 1998 -- mindful I might have to introduce him to a readership which had probably never heard of him -- I noted that even back in his heyday of the Sixties he'd been a hard one to figure out. The "folkie" tag he'd been pinned with after the success of his first songs Colours and Catch the Wind (and his...

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

Fionn Regan: The Shadow of an Empire (Inertia/Border)

On the cover he may look like one of the more camp American Idol finalists, but Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan occupies that appealing musical territory between Dylan in '66, Pete Molinari and lo-fi Chris Knox with his urgent, lyrically twisting songs which are punctuated by ear and heart-gripping lines. Catacombs here suggests a story...

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern: Arrows (Social End Product/Rhythmethod)

The Eastern out of Christchurch are new to me although for the past few months their name has been mentioned a lot, always along the lines of, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern." Now I have and I too am saying, "Oh, you gotta hear the Eastern". Part arse-kickin' Steve Earle (for whom they have opened), part reflective old...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step away from the bombast and hype and become a singer of depth and longevity outside of rock's over-hyped expectation. That he followed it up with Born...

FRANK TURNER: AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010): The documentarian of politics and the soul

FRANK TURNER: AUDIO INTERVIEW (2010): The documentarian of politics and the soul

British singer-songwriter Frank Turner moves between many worlds with ease: he plays to hardcore audiences (and started his career in such bands) but also works the folk circuit. He also plays huge festivals and small clubs. His music roams across politics (Thatcher Fucked the Kids), wry humour (I Don't Care What You Did in Your Gap Year)...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Willie Nelson: Country Music (Rounder)

Willie Nelson makes so many albums these days – from Western Swing with Asleep at the Wheel and Tex-Mex to jazz stylings with Wynton Marsalis – that it's helpful this title is a product description. So here's Willie – now 77 – going back to songs by Ernest Tubb, Doc Watson, Hank Williams and others, as well...

Riot 111: 1981! (1981)

Riot 111: 1981! (1981)

New Zealand has no great popular history of topical, political songs -- and the few that there are tend toward the humorous (My Old Man's An All Black with its reference to no Maori being allowed into South Africa in our representative rugby team during the apartheid era, or Click Go The Toll Gates about tolls on the newly constructed Auckland...

JOAN BAEZ; HOW SWEET THE SOUND a documentary by MARY WHARTON (2009)

JOAN BAEZ; HOW SWEET THE SOUND a documentary by MARY WHARTON (2009)

Time to flip all the cards and say that until recently I was never as smitten with Joan Baez as so many people were. Certainly the purity of her voice was striking and when I started discovering Dylan in his early days she seemed to be that dark angel hovering in the wings -- but none of her folk music really stuck with me. I never much...

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan's Hurricane in '75 is one of the best known songs about a boxer -- but very early in his career Dylan also sang another about a boxer, the fighter Davey Moore who was knocked out by Mexico-based Sugar Ramos from Cuba during a bout in March 1963. Moore spoke to the media afterwards (the illustration is taken from a famous post-fight...

TOWNES VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (1988): Say hello and wave goodbye

TOWNES VAN ZANDT INTERVIEWED (1988): Say hello and wave goodbye

You hate to say lt, but Townes Van Zandt had probably already written his own obituary - many times. Try this as a sample of his cut-to-the-bone, white knuckle lyrics: “There ain’t much I haven’t tried -- fast llvin’, slow suicide, I try to tell myself I’m fine but it just aln’t so.” Van Zandt has...

BILLY BRAGG INTERVIEWED ABOUT WOODY GUTHRIE (1998): Woody'n'Wilco and rude'n'boozy songs

BILLY BRAGG INTERVIEWED ABOUT WOODY GUTHRIE (1998): Woody'n'Wilco and rude'n'boozy songs

From the rollicking singalong which opens the new Mermaid Avenue album by Billy Bragg, you know something is different. There’s Bragg and the American band Wilco in a swaggering tale of looking for booze and, to put it delicately, female companionship. From there on it’s a strange trip with Bragg and the band: an old man’s...

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN LIVE IN SYDNEY (2003): Normal transmission will be resumed shortly

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN LIVE IN SYDNEY (2003): Normal transmission will be resumed shortly

Bruce Springsteen won't forget his show at Sydney's Cricket Ground last Saturday. He said so repeatedly and meant it. Losing power in a show can never be discounted as a possibility. But losing it twice would suggest alarmingly bad luck or poor technical support. Losing your stadium rock thump four times in the first hour, however?...

Bob Dylan: Folksinger's Choice (Left Field/Triton)

Bob Dylan: Folksinger's Choice (Left Field/Triton)

One of the revelations of the first of Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series was the maturity of his voice for one so young. Songs like Moonshiner showed a wisdom and understanding well beyond his years. And this remarkable, and previously rare, album confirms that point -- and many more about the young Dylan and how he saw himself. Not as a...

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

Pete Molinari: A Train Bound for Glory (Clarksville)

English music magpie Molinari's previous two albums alerted you to a folk-driven singer-songwriter who was unashamed of wearing influences but bringing a neat twist to them: his Walking off the Map in '06 cheerfully plundered Hank Williams and pre-66 Bob Dylan (and delivered a beautiful new standard in Indescribably Blue); his follow-up A...

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AT 60: Still running through America

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AT 60: Still running through America

Sometimes we forget just how huge Bruce Springsteen has been: between '75 and '85 alone he sold in excess of 50 million albums (one of them, The River, was a double) and although he deliberately turned from mainstream success with low-key albums like Nebraska (in '82) and The Ghost of Tom Joad ('95) that has hardly stopped his juggernaut....

THE NEO-FOLKIE BOHOS OF THE NINETIES: Talking New York City

THE NEO-FOLKIE BOHOS OF THE NINETIES: Talking New York City

In the early Nineties – three decades after the original urban folk movement in Downtown – there was a whole new neo-boho scene in New York. Michelle Shocked was just the first and copped the publicity but behind here were Kirk Kelly, Roger Manning and Cindy Lee Berryhill - all of whom dressed like fashionable...

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This (Rounder)

John Mellencamp: No Better Than This (Rounder)

The man they call "the poet laureate of the Interstate" (although he always sounds a backroads man to me) ha been on such a roll lately with Freedom's Road and Life Death Love Freedom) that the idea of him recording in mono with T Bone Burnett in Sun Studio, the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio (where Robert Johnson was committed to tape)...

Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos 1962-64 (Sony)

Bob Dylan: The Witmark Demos 1962-64 (Sony)

There's a case the most important person in Bob Dylan's early career wasn't his inspiration Woody Guthrie (the folk singer he traveled to New York to meet and whose style he adopted), nor Suze Rotolo (his girlfriend who appeared on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in '63 ) or even Joan Baez (his muse, lover and champion). The key...

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

Barry Saunders: Far As The Eye Can See (Ode)

More than just a compilation of tracks from his various albums and radio sessions (including some from his excellent Zodiac album), this collection of songs by country-inflected singer-songwriter Saunders was a prompt for various painters and visual artists. Wellington curator Ron Epskamp of Exhibitions Gallery (here) invited 14 artists to...

Odetta: A legend ignored

Odetta: A legend ignored

To be honest, I had largely forgotten about Odetta until she died in 2008 at the age of 77. I imagined her as much older actually as she seemed to have been around since Biblical times, or at least all of my life. The great folk singer and activist had been an influence on the young Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, had sung in small halls and cafes,...

ODETTA INTERVIEWED (1989): The human touch

ODETTA INTERVIEWED (1989): The human touch

Folk singer Odetta has kept her sense of humour about the 15 year lull in her recording career. “I’ve just been practicing," she says, but is delighted by at last having another record out there in the marketplace. Despite her acclaim by audiences as far spread as Russia and Nigeria and accolades by Yale University,...

Bob Dylan: Copper Kettle (1970)

Bob Dylan: Copper Kettle (1970)

When Bob Dylan's 10th album -- the double vinyl Self Portrait -- was released in 1970 it was received with bewlidered or damning reviews, the most notable being Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone who began his abrasive review with "What is this shit?" Fair call perhaps, because this mish-mash of odd covers (a ragged treatment of Paul...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Paxton; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Paxton; Original Album Series (Rhino)

In the late Seventies, Tom Paxton was still appearing in rock encyclopedias. It was a time when rock was still close enough to some of its folk roots (post-Dylan) for him to still be relevant. These days Paxton -- now in his early 70s and still performing -- may seem just a footnote in rock (usually mentioned in passing with regard to...

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

BOB DYLAN IN THE 21st CENTURY: And the road shall not weary him

In his recent collection of essays Listen to This, the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross has an interesting and provocative piece on Bob Dylan. It opens, “America is no country for old men. Pop culture is a pedophile's delight” then he ask what – in this world of manufactured teen pop – we are to do with “a...

Bob Dylan: Jet Pilot (1965)

Bob Dylan: Jet Pilot (1965)

Although things would come to a literal grinding halt in mid '66 when he was tumbled from his motorcycle -- and he used the break to recover from emotional exhaustion after his lightspeed career of the previous four years -- in '65 Bob Dylan was still enjoying his position as the man who was taking folk and smart words into rock. During the...

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez: Play Me Backwards (Proper)

Joan Baez has never had her rediscovery by a new generation, but this reissue of her excellent folk-rock album of ' 92 – with an extra disc of demos including Dylan's early Seven Curses which only appeared on his recent Witmark Demos 1962-64 – is a smart starting place as it found her back in Nashville after a 20 year absence and...

THE GRAND OLE OPRY PRESENTS . . . CLASSICS (Time Life 5-DVD set)

THE GRAND OLE OPRY PRESENTS . . . CLASSICS (Time Life 5-DVD set)

Can you have too much of that old time mainstream country music? Some might say that five discs and 10 hours of country singers at the Grand Ole Opry might just be that bridge too far . . . and to be honest I didn't get more than halfway through this set which draws mostly from the Fifties and Sixties. It is hilarious of course if you just...

Bob Dylan: In Concert, Brandeis University 1963 (Sony)

Bob Dylan: In Concert, Brandeis University 1963 (Sony)

As has been noted here, there is a lot more of Bob Dylan's past out there in the world than there ever was -- and of course he has quite some past. This from the very distant days in May '63 was recorded at the peak of his politicised folk period (the anthems Blowing in the Wind and Masters of War, the former not here, would be on his album...

Bob Dylan: The Very Best of Bob Dylan's 80s (Sony Legacy)

Bob Dylan: The Very Best of Bob Dylan's 80s (Sony Legacy)

As it was happening, Bob Dylan's Eighties seemed somewhat of a wasteland only sparsely populated by songs which had any great resonance. And many which did -- Brownsville Girl co-written with playwright Sam Shepard for example, on the largely awful Knocked Out Loaded in '86 -- weren't sympathetically produced. Certainly songs like Jokerman...

Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Liberator)

Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (Liberator)

Steve – who makes or adapts his own guitars, counted Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain as friends and had Grinderman, Ruby Turner and KT Tunstall on his raw 08 album Started Out With Nothing And I Still Got Most of It Left – has been a hobo, busker and record producer in his time, and his blues-infused albums reflect stories of a...

The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Heirloom Music (Neanderthal)

The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Heirloom Music (Neanderthal)

Jimmie Dale Gilmore possesses one of the most distinctive voices and when deployed on lachrymose ballads he can tear your heart out. But this is an odd and old time project, Gilmore out front of a band of mixed abilities (interesting, but not interesting enough) and performing mostly songs from the Thirties and Forties, some of which come from...

BOB DYLAN'S HIGHWAY REVISITED AT 33, 45 AND 70: Back to mono

BOB DYLAN'S HIGHWAY REVISITED AT 33, 45 AND 70: Back to mono

When it was announced Bob Dylan had recorded an MTV Unplugged session in late '94, a wag within earshot guffawed and said, "But wasn't he always?" Which was sort of true. There are any number of people across a few generations who have imprinted in their consciousness the image of the impossibly young Dylan, acoustic guitar in...

Bob Dylan: Dirge (1974)

Bob Dylan: Dirge (1974)

While flicking the pages of a rock magazine the other day I came on an interview with a young musician who cited among his current favourite listening Bob Dylan's Planet Waves. When that album was released it was met with polite but hardly laudatory reviews, and even the enormously successful and highly profitable tour with the Band...

Jerry Jeff Walker: Jerry Jeff Walker, Expanded Edition (Raven)

Jerry Jeff Walker: Jerry Jeff Walker, Expanded Edition (Raven)

First released in 1972 and only now available on CD (here expanded with  five extra songs including a 2002 version of his classic Mr Bojangles), this album was one which introduced Texan Walker as part of the left-field non-Nashville country acts of the day alongside Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark and Waylon Jennings. In...

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