Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Folk, Pop, Rock
Almost 35 years to the day from it's original release, it is our extreme pleasure to re-release this favorite Arlo album. This is the first time Rising Son Records has released it on CD. We have digitally re-mastered every... more »
Almost 35 years to the day from it's original release, it is our extreme pleasure to re-release this favorite Arlo album. This is the first time Rising Son Records has released it on CD. We have digitally re-mastered every song to give them the highest quality sound available. Seven of these songs are Arlo originals. Doug Dillard, one of our favorite banjo players, joins him on a couple of tracks, notably, "Washington County". These songs are truly timeless. Make a new old friend.
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running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 11/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1970's 'Washington County' is easily Arlo Guthrie's finest collection of songs, and so exists as one of the finest albums in one of the most accomplished years of rock and roll history. In the same year Rod Stewart released 'Gasoline Alley', Neil Young, 'After the Goldrush' (at number 18 this was Rolling Stone Magazine's highest rated album of 1970 in their Top 200 albums of the 1970's; 'Washington County' doesn't make the list), and Tim Buckley, 'Starsailor'. But for my money none of these fine works approximates what Arlo Guthrie accomplished on 'Washington County'.
Arlo Guthrie has always been something of a spiritual explorer, and on this release, it seems Christianity was on Arlo's mind, in his heart, and just a bit on his sleeve. Several songs feature direct, intimate allusions to a faith awakening, including 'Gabriel Mother's Highway Ballad #16 Blues' ("Come on children, all come home, Jesus gonna make you well"), 'Valley To Pray' ("I went down to the valley to pray, learnin' about the good old way", and "who will wear the starry crown, Oh, Lord, show me the way"), and on 'I Could Be Singing' ("You and your friends have a party, Welcome your heavenly Dad"). That last song also stands as the strongest protest song on the disc, illustrating how the Guthrie tradition continued to meld morality and social consciousness. The lyrics swipe at Spiro Agnew, the '68 police riots in Chicago, and the shootings at Kent State (which took place only months prior to the recording of 'Washington County'). Despite the drab storyline, 'I Could Be Singing' chimes with an upbeat tempo and melody, as do many of the other tracks Arlo offers. Similarly, 'Percy's Song' (written and recorded by Bob Dylan in 1963, but not released until his 'Biograph' box set appeared in 1985) begins with the lyric "Sad news, sad news..." and proceeds to tell a tale of judicial injustice, yet with a light and airy acoustic atmosphere. The only songs even hinting at 'the blues' are the eighth track, the yearning 'If You Would Just Drop By', and Arlo's cover of his father's 'Lay Down Little Doggies', which comes off warm and tender until, in the final verse, we find the 'doggies' are cattle being carted to the stockyards. Again, despite the sad conclusion, one cannot help but to crack a wry smile.
The first seven songs on 'Washington County' will whisk you off to a country and folk dreamland. 'Introduction' caresses us with a promise, "Come closer to me babe, and hear what I say, lay down beside me, listen to my song, it's something other than it's right or it's wrong", before blending into 'Fence Post Blues', carrying a guarantee of "Stand on the good land, children, you know it won't do you in". Of the seven tracks, only the slick and jumping, banjo driven instrumental title track has not yet been mentioned. The album concludes with 'I Want To Be Around', another upbeat track emulating the 'love and peace' values the era idealized with lyrics like "I want to be around, when the stars fall on the ground, walking hand in hand with everyman, sleeping in the sun with everyone". Appropriately, the cover photograph shows Arlo hand sharpening an axe. It was razor sharp by the time he was ready to cut each of these tunes.
'Washington County' was remastered in 2004 and reissued on Arlo's own label in 2005, so there has been ample opportunity to pad the 10 original vinyl tracks with live or alternate takes, or perhaps an unreleased recording from the 'Washington County' sessions. Unfortunately that hasn't happened. Nevertheless, the disc is nothing less than a gift from above (thank God, because it includes printed lyrics), with Arlo and friends (including Hoyt Axton, Clarence White, and Ry Cooder) lovingly tracing out these special compositions. It truly represents the epitome of folk and country rock from an era not easily forgotten. I don't hand out five stars easily, but this is an easy call."
A Priceless Gem
JohnC4656 | Chicago, IL | 11/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Heard this album so long ago and I played it out. "Down in the Valley to Pray"-- you have to feel good after you listen. "Gabriel's Fence Post Blues" is an incredibly complicated guitar accompaniment that Arlo plays effortlessly-- the lyrics are some of the most moving I've ever heard. And "I'll see you in a tin can when you get shipped around"-- his goodbye to the dogies-- is priceless. If you happen to find your way to this CD, buy it."
A back to the garden, laid back beauty...
Wildman Fischer | 12/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a favorite album for many "hippies" in the early 70's. Still basking in the idealistic, post Woodstock belief that simplifying life can solve all of man's problems, Arlo released this album of uplifting, well played, almost spiritual songs. Listen to this album a few times and you'll be scanning the real-estate ads for some country acreage. This is a feel good album that was released during a time of social turmoil. It was a salve for the spirit at the time and even now soothes the nerves and offers simple rest and some cool shade. Just looking at the album makes me want to grab my overalls and hoe and head for the country. Great memories of a way of life that promised escape from what was perceived as a corrupt, materialistic society. Too bad the majority of the people of that time now live the same lives they rebelled against 35 years ago. Want a break from the complexities of life? Next sunny day, grab this CD; jump in the car; and take a drive in the country."