Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
xenawarriorkitty | Colorado Springs, CO USA | 03/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't think anyone could match Judy Collin's interpretation of Pretty Polly until I heard Mary Chapin Carpenter on this CD. Wonderful sampling of folk artists interpreting traditional songs."
A visionary fiddler's concept-album masterpiece.
Bob Zeidler | Charlton, MA United States | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My eariest recollection of Darol Anger as one of the world's most unique fiddlers goes back nearly two decades, with the Windham Hill release of "Live at Montreux," featuring the Darol Anger/Barbara Higbie Quintet. To this day, I still pull this CD out, if only to play "Near Northern," a true classic of its genre. But that album had been released in the early, "good" days of Windham Hill, when the label had been the pet project and unique vision of Will Ackerman and Anne Robinson. Absent their subsequent leadership, the label veered off-base as far as my musical tastes were concerned. And, consequently, I lost track of Darol for more than a decade.
Then, about four years ago, while in the evening "commuter rush," I had the opportunity to hear samples of "Heritage," with commentary by Darol, on the daily NPR "All Things Considered" show. And the little I was able to hear immediately convinced me that I needed to hear more.
With those musical snippets bouncing around in my head, I couldn't find my own copy of the album fast enough. And, once I had my own copy in hand, and had heard it through, I later ended up purchasing the better part of a dozen copies, both for friends in the music industry who had done something similar and for other friends who I also figured would like it. (They ALL liked it.)
In a sense, this turned out to be a "musical reunion" album for me, with session work by Paul McCandless of Oregon (and formerly the Paul Winter Consort), the best oboist on the planet, Edgar Meyer (now, already, a legend), Béla Fleck (ditto), Mavis Staples (ditto), Willie Nelson (ditto), Michael Doucet (ditto), Mike Marshall (ditto), David Grisman (ditto), Andy Narell (ditto), and on and on... Several of these artists, like Darol, were remembered, with fondness on my part, from their Windham Hill days as well.
"Heritage" will always be my personal favorite "roots" album, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (OBWAT) and others in the genre notwithstanding. A full story of the musical roots of the album can be found at the "Heritage" page at the Six Degrees Records label website. The story is very interesting; permit me to simply state that the concept is to tie together all of the roots of American folk music, with the famous folk song "Shenandoah" as its unifying thread, and move on to the music itself, touching on what are the highlights for me.
The album both opens and closes with statements of the "Shenandoah" theme as sung by Jane Siberry, first with a nicely understated introduction by Phil Aaberg on piano, and then, in the closer (where the "oral" tradition of passing down roots music from one generation to the next is depicted in a "mother teaches daughter" way), with beautifully shaded steel pan work by Andy Narell. And in between these two "album covers" are some incredible gems. I won't be granted the webpage space to describe all of them, so I'll just say a sentence or two about my own personal favorites.
Mary Chapin Carpenter singing "Pretty Polly": Some of the greatest recording effects I've ever heard. And Chapin Carpenter's voice, and the arrangement, are splendid here.
Paul McCandless ripping on penny whistle and bass clarinet in "Down In The Willow Garden": A delightful romp that puts the lie to the statement that this guy's "merely" the best oboist on the planet.
Willie Nelson singing "Hard Times Come Again No More": This is vintage Willie. (Interesting, as an aside, is the fact that James Taylor sings the same song on the O'Connor/Meyer/Ma "Appalachian Journey" album.)
Darol and Michael Doucet sawing (and singing) away on "La Ville des Manteau": Simply the best Cajun two-step I've ever heard.
Mavis Staples singing "Oh, Death": The version on OBWAT has to take its place in line behind this authoritative rendition.
The Nashville Lumberyard (Darol, Vassar Clements, John Hartford, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, Tim O'Brien, Matt Glaser) with yet more "sawing away" on the classic "Golden Slippers."
Tim O'Brien singing another classic, "The Water Is Wide," in a style that can best be described as "antidotal if not antipodal" to the version that Pete Seeger sings on his "Pete" album (on the Living Music label).
I know I've missed some folks, and some good tracks, here, in picking my faves, and to them I apologize. But "space is space" and "a thousand words or less" it needs to be.
This whole album is a labor of love, an act of integrity, and, far more importantly, a uniquely personal vision of its creator. All of the roots tunes here, after having been refracted through Darol's musical prism, emerge transmogrified but otherwise unscathed.
The best roots album ever? It sure gets my vote. It's anything BUT "Sadly, a dud," as one reviewer below unfortunately characterizes it. Thanks, Darol.