CD Fast Folk: A Community of Singers and Songwriters (CD 602210),
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Fast Folk: A Community of Singers and Songwriters

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. American Jerusalem - Rod MacDonald
    2. What's Wrong With the Man Upstairs? - David Massengill
    3. Old Factory Town - Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams
    4. You Just Need a Home - Lucy Kaplansky
    5. Another Time and Place - Dave Van Ronk
    6. I Don't Know Why - Shawn Colvin
    7. Geza's Wailing Ways - John Gorka
    8. Ragman! - David Indian
    9. High Times - Tom Intondi
    10. Don't Ever Call Your Sweetheart by His Name - Christine Lavin
    11. Where Were You Last Night? - Frank Christian
    12. Introduction to Corpo Gracile - Germana Pucci
    13. Corpo Gracile - Germana Pucci
    14. Kilkelly, Ireland - Laura Burns/Roger Rosen
    15. Introduction to the Viking Rag - Erik Frandsen
    16. Viking Rag, The - Erik Frandsen
    17. Forget-Me-Not - Jack Hardy
    18. Vacation - Ensemble
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Gypsy - Suzanne Vega
    2. Thirty Thousand Men - Steve Forbert
    3. Margaret - Frank Tedesso
    4. Share the Failure - Elaine Silver
    5. Bourbon as a Second Language - Patrick John Brayer
    6. King of Hearts - Paul Kaplan
    7. Heart on Ice - Judith Zweiman
    8. Courier, The - Richard Shindell
    9. By Your Eyes - Wendy Beckerman
    10. Danton - Lillie Palmer
    11. Long Black Wall - Michael Jerling
    12. Railroad Bill - Andy Breckman
    13. Gravedigger - Richard Julian
    14. January Cold - Richard Meyer
    15. Disenchanted - Eric Wood
    16. Rafael - Hugh Blumenfeld
    17. Your Face - Louise Taylor
    18. Crazy Horse - Josh Joffen & Late For Dinner
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 40135

  • Credits

    Compilation producers: Richard Meyer, Jack Hardy, Jeff Place.
    Includes liner notes by Richard Meyer, Jack Hardy, and Jeff Place.
    All tracks have been digitally remastered.
    From the early '80s to the late '90s, Fast Folk magazine was an important document of and voice for the folk-rooted New York singer/songwriter scene. The magazines came with compilation albums -- no less than 105 of them -- allowing subscribers and purchasers to sample the work of many young and unknown, and some veteran and relatively well-known, singer/songwriters. The magazine stopped publishing in 1997, its holdings donated to the Smithsonian a couple of years later. This first retrospective of the massive body of Fast Folk is a 34-track, two-CD set including 142 minutes of music spanning 1982-1997. Some of the performers are famous, like Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin (represented by a 1985 version of her "I Don't Know Why"), Dave Van Ronk, and Steve Forbert; others are fairly well known, like Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, and Christine Lavin. But most of these names will be unfamiliar, even to many folk fans. And while the music is often acoustic folk, sometimes solo, it's sometimes mild folk-rock with fuller arrangements, too. Fast Folk was undoubtedly a valuable organization and medium for exposure, but good intentions don't always make for great music. Most of this is earnest confessional and/or narrative material, on the undistinguished side melodically, lacking the idiosyncratic and arresting vocal personalities of the best singer/songwriters -- and not just Bob Dylan, an obvious reference point for much of this style (though these performers are on the whole far more polite than Dylan), but even Dave Van Ronk, though his "Another Time and Place" wouldn't be considered one of his best performances. What are the best performances on this disc, though? Elaine Silver's "Share the Failure" has the pristine seriousness of the sort heard on early Judy Collins and Joan Baez outings; Patrick John Brayer's "Bourbon as a Second Language" has a refreshing country-influenced lightheartedness; Germana Pucci's "Corpo Gracile," sung in Italian, has a gypsy feel; Christine Lavin's "Don't Ever Call Your Sweetheart By His Name" has her usual comic touch that, while hard to take in concentrated doses, stands out on this comp as a welcome blast of levity. Comic relief's not always a good thing, though, as demonstrated by the bombastic crude wit of Andy Breckman's "Railroad Bill." ~ Richie Unterberger

  • Critic Reviews
    NAPRA Review (05-06/02, pp.74-75) - "...With a strong emphasis on the song, not the singer, their cooperative spirit illuminates an important, and perhaps overlooked part of folk music evolution..."
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