Jean Yves Tourbin – Gayan

Jean Yves Tourbin managed to peek out of his nest of gratuitous facial hair and somehow emerge with a tender eastern instrument augmented folk album. The grueling frenchness* of the vocals may repel most, but most tracks are filled with gorgeous finger picked guitars, harps, strings and flutes. For some reason this found its way […]

Bob Fietsam: Presenting…

Bob Fietsam it seems was a local student of the classical guitar. This is the only lp of his I’ve run across. He was a student of O.A. “Red” McCutcheon, who in his own right was a famed guitar instructor from West Virginia. Besides classical standards, Bob put to wax two original compositions for this […]

Lightdreams – Islands in Space

I was listening to this album hardcore at the same time I started reading William Gibson’s Neuromancer. They seemed to compliment each other well, each depicted a world in space so daring and different. Paul Marcano, the mind behind Lightdreams, dedicates the album to the colonization of space and this really sets the tone for […]

Bruce D. McElheny – For The Record

This is a really solid private press (I think) LP that covers acoustic blues, country & folk territory. All the songs are originals by McElheny and the instrumentation is various combinations of voice, guitar, banjo, electric bass, drums and dobro. Recorded in October 1976 at Bickley Studios, Houston and released on the Buttermilk label, there […]

Ecology Sea in Song and Ballad

“Hey, I know, let’s get ripped and record some songs about the ocean for kids.” I suppose one of the beauties of making your own record is that there’s no one to tell you no… as is evident on this custom job devoted to stoner octopus ballads and the like. Not that I’m knocking it […]

Christian Lee – ‘Magic Wand’ – White Wonder

Obscure 45rpm artifact on a one-off label – the artist remains mysterious, originally from Detroit, apparently he later relocated to the Southwest. An anthem of sorts, the rough-hewn yet melodic folk sound of ‘Magic Wand’ oddly foreshadows the sound of early 90s bedroom-four-trackers. Listen

Bernie, Bill, and Charlie

Easily one of my best scores this year were two cassettes by this homegrown basement folk trio out of Peekskill, NY. I met Bernie while hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer, at the Greymoor Monastery for Franciscan Monks. He was painting the shelter they provide there for hikers when I walked up. He had a […]

Yathubhutha: Seeing Things as They Really Are

Here is a nice Xian/Folk Lp off of Rite Records in Cincinnati, OH. Apart from having a great cover shot, this Lp delivers like no other religious Lp I’ve heard. Granted I’m not a huge fan of the genre, so my knowledge is limited to just what I pick up. Most being garbage. The female […]

Chris Madsen – In Black and White

Great private press from Vancouver, BC featuring one-half dark, haunted ssw moves with reverberated vocals, these songs being the best on the LP. Chris has a deep voice which must issue some sort of web as you are drawn to listen to him sing as he covers topics like nature, love and loss. The other […]

Richard Crandell – In The Flower of Our Youth

Nice solo instrumental guitar album that would appeal to fans of Fahey/Basho/Kottke etc. One of my favorite records of the genre for sure as Richard is a fantastic guitar player. Richard is still playing music these days, also well worth seeking out is his album “Mbira Magic” from 2004 on Tzadik. Listen

Tangerine – De l’autre cote de la foret…

Tangerine’s first album from 1972 is the full package. From the beautiful cover art to the long-haired pose on the back, you know you are getting something great. And they deliver. One of the few albums that I can say stood up to its cover. Well instrumented psychedelic folk with the tiniest hints of their […]

Lost John Lyle and the Lonesome Ornery Polecasts – Bootleg Powerhead

This private from 1971 has quickly become my most listened to record of the summer, despite finding it as late as August. Housed in a blank sleeve with hand-written labels, it’s no wonder this artifact of the early singer songwriter scene in B.C., Canada remained unknown until its recent rediscovery. I have found it difficult […]

Kurt Van Arsdel – Golden Loneliness

Private press californian gospel LP from 1981. On the back cover Van Arsdel looked so much like the bearded Dennis Wilson that I had to give it a spin. I know this is the first pressing because it says so on the label, helpful. You can google Kurt van Arsdel and find his webpage, but […]

Kathy Fire – Songs Of Fire

This record will catch you off your guard. Put up your usual bias against radical feminist records, flex your hatred of 3rd-wave feminism, despise your own insecurity about all things political, and you will do what most people do when they see this record: laugh and put it back. Certainly when I read about this […]

Muriel Anderson – just begun

Here’s an under the radar femme folk lp worth tracking down. This was released in 1977 on Rotary records. At the time of the recording, Muriel was only 16 years old. Which is hard to believe since the guitar playing on this is just top notch. About half of the record features sublime instrumental cuts, […]

Michael Dobbins – Music For The Seeker

Bing Crosby drops acid and wakes up in a ditch outside an ashram with a long unkept beard and a clear plastic bag holding his personal belongings. Confused, blinking against the desert sun, he senses that he must keep on seeking. Walking down the empty road, he comes upon a Stranger. The Stranger speaks of […]

Airborne – Songs For A City

You see this cover and it screams private psychedelic folk grail. Look at the naked man playing the guitar, sitting on top of the world and holding a dove. Beautiful. And that is exactly what this album is. However, it is not psychedelic folk. It does have a few CSNY moves, and even a really […]

Various Artists – Anthology Of American Folk Music Vols.1-3

Probably the best known Folkways box sets around. These are really an outstanding overview of all genres of american folk music. It goes without saying that as usual with Folkways you get a highly informative booklet to accompany each volume. If you don’t have these you just aren’t folk music and could be a poser.

Various Artists – Folk Music USA Vol.1

Another Folkways box along the lines of the excellent “Anthologies” LPs. This double LP box dates from 1959 and focuses on field recordings from all genres of american folk music. The comprehensive liner note booklet (including lyrics) is written by Charles Edward Smith and the songs were compiled by Harold Courlander. One of several Folkways […]

The Tree People s/t

Here’s one of my favorite northwest private folk records. It came out of Eugene Oregon in 1979, all the songs are composed by Stephen Cohen. Stephen has a nice fragile voice that compliments his acoustic guitar nicely. About half the songs have vocals and the other half are instrumental and kinda remind me of Robbie […]

Happiendo – Kazemachiroman (Happy End – Windy Street Romance)

Many consider Happy End the first true rock band from Japan. This is due to the fact that they were the first to make rock albums sung entirely in their native Japanese. They are very well known in Japan, however I’m not sure of their popularity in the Western World so I hope this mini-review […]

Vision Of Sunshine – S/T

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this little gem a few years ago while digging through box upon box of lp’s at a now defunct local flea market. I remember falling instantly in love with the cover art and I couldn’t wait to get the thing home! I had all these expectations…and let me […]

Roger Rodier – Upon Velveatur

I had high hopes for this record when I finally found a copy, and upon first needle-drop I was slightly disappointed. I just wasn’t ready. He was so gentle. So dreamy. I found myself tip-toeing around my apartment, worried I might shatter this fragile vibe issuing out my speakers, leaking into my apartment building, and […]

A. Paul Ortega: Two Worlds

Native American folkie A. Paul Ortega is definitely one of the most unique things I’ve heard recently. Or ever for that matter. So much so that I find I have little frame of reference right now while writing about this lp. Ortega’s songs (or renditions of traditional songs) sound ancient, completely futuristic, and totally hypnotic […]

CKUA Presents: The ACME Sausage Company

This is a private compilation put together for a community radio station (CKUA) in Edmonton, Alberta circa 1972 in a run of 1,000. The compilation was produced by then musical enthusiast Holgar Peterson. Holgar went on to form Stonyplain Records and become a local celebrity, his label still quite active. I was a little skeptical […]