CD Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies from the Canyon (CD 1001949),
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Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies from the Canyon
1. Special Path, A - Becky Severson
2. Cricket - Collie Ryan
3. Sunlight Shadow - Linda Rich
4. Engram - Caroline Peyton
5. And I a Fairytale Lady - Carla Sciaky
6. Window - Judy Kelly
7. Eternal Life - Shira Small
8. Maybe in Another Year - Jennie Pearl
9. Dedication - Mary Perrin
10. With All Hands - Priscilla Quinby
11. Rain - Marj Snyder
12. Song for Life - Barbara Sipple
13. Wildman - Ginny Reilly
14. Sister Morphine - Ellen Warshaw
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 58217
Tom Lunt (Reissue); Rob Sevier (Reissue); Ken Shipley (Reissue)
Liner Note Authors: Rob Sevier; Ken Shipley.
Author: Joni Mitchell.
Joni Mitchell may not have been the biggest-selling singer/songwriter star of the early '70s, but her influence, particularly on women performers, can't be denied. As the title of this compilation indicates, the artists on this collection of mega-rare cuts by female singer/songwriters of the era are often in a Joni Mitchell mood. Confessional and narrative lyrics, predominant folky acoustic guitars, warm rolling piano, wide and sometimes swooping vocal ranges -- all of those characteristics are here to some degree, even if only a few of the 14 tracks (especially Caroline Peyton's "Engram," Judy Kelly's "Window," and Barbara Sipple's "Song for Life") make the inspiration inescapably blatant. Also, to be frank, all of this has far less of an edge (and musical sophistication) than Mitchell's early work, and some of it treads close to the bland side, sometimes with awkwardly earnest lyrical homilies. Still, as an anthology of pleasant woman-sung mild folk-rock from the period with a slight aura of haunting mystery, this is pretty respectable. There's little spaciness on the order of cult artists like Linda Perhacs -- Collie Ryan's reverb-swathed "Cricket" comes about the closest -- though a few of the other tracks are a bit strange, like Shira Small's funk-jazz-inflected "Eternal Life," which boasts wildly optimistic cosmic lyrics. Another slight oddity is "Wildman" by Ginny Reilly, whose vocal is something like a combination of Mitchell's phrasing and Buffy Sainte-Marie's vibrato. All of these tracks are taken from scarce private pressings save Ellen Warshaw's closing cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sister Morphine," which is by far the hardest-rocking cut on the CD, and one of the best. ~ Richie Unterberger
Rolling Stone (p.57) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he artists, most of whom had their long-lost LPs pressed in tiny quantities, come in assorted flavors....Impeccable."
The Wire (p.64) - "[A] great compilation of obscure, mostly private press female folk sides that takes its title and much of its inspiration from the more lunar aspects of the early Joni Mitchell catalogue..."
No Depression (p.102) - "[A] vivid portrait that resonates for anyone who was listening to music three dozen years ago....Quintessentially local and regional in their reach, the singers sound familiar because sonically, they are."
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