Luke has done it again. Since his music found its way to the ear of Kyle Spence (of Harvey Milk) it has evolved from gritty road-written dirt-rock ballads to lush, personal sing-alongs. Some even have more than three chords. But the haggard atmosphere is still there, read: “His Song”, a slow and steady song about blaming the blood of Jesus for causing pain and searching for where to belong. These tunes recall last year's Big Bells & Dime Songs but with a bit more energized angst. Tracks like “I Don’t Want You Anymore” and “Every Time” shed the heavy rhythms but add touches of fiddle and mandolin alongside some harmonies, and if you’re not singing these in your sleep after two listens you’re not human. Other tunes like “Cartier Timepiece”, “Spree Wheels”, and “Second Place Blues” reveal more intricate sides to Luke’s songwriting, carefully fingerpicked tunes that would sound almost too good if it weren’t for Luke’s scraggly, deconstructing voice. I absolutely love this music and both of Luke’s records. It’s the kind of stuff I wish was in my orange juice in the morning and my beer at night. Recommended always.
This collection of songs was recorded straight to tape at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine during the height of Seeger's blacklisted status and protests against his alleged Commubnist sympathies. The concert was organized by fraternities of an all-male campus, recorded by the school's student-run radio station WBOR, and was by all accounts suprisingly free of controversy or protest. These recordings capture a unique moment in time: a small group of middle-to-upper class students, frat boys, radio geeks and families gathering to sing along to African-American spirituals, Slovak steel worker ballads, sea shanties, Appalachian medleys and blues. This was Seeger's power: bringing the music, the lifeblood, of a then-unspoken for population of diverse Americans and their experiences into mainstream consciousness. This is a live show, so there's a lot of Pete's chatter about the history of teh songs, back-and-forth between the audience, etc. If you don't like folk music in its "purest" form (or whatever), don't bother with this record. But for those even remotely interested in these songs and their origins, and in Pete's invaluable contribution to the population of traditional music, there's a wide variety of tunes and styles to be enjoyed. Fun fact: the theater this concert was recorded in had cables running through underground tunnels back to the WBOR station, used for live broadcasts (although this was cut to a portable tape machine.) Also, of all the live Seeger recordings in the Folkways library, the Smithsonian staff felt these student-engineered recordings were the best. Viva college radio, and Pete Seeger.