Various Artists ”“ Make It Your Sound, Make It Your Scene ”“ Vanguard Records & The 1960s Musical Revolution(Ace/Big Beat)
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Between the late 1950s and early 70s, Vanguard Records led the way in releasing top notch folk, blues and roots music. Recordings of artists as diverse as Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Dylan, Buffy Sainte- Marie and Country Joe & the Fish charted the rising coffee house and festival folk scenes and the moment when these trends transformed into the psychedelic rock of the late 1960s. The Newport Folk Festival recordings brought a host of artists other than Vanguard’s own roster to an international audience.
Founded in 1950 by the Solomon Brothers ”“ Seymour and Maynard ”“ Vanguard began by releasing some of the very best recordings in the jazz, classical and folk arena. When the fledgling folk revival scene began to emerge in the late 1950s, Vanguard really came into its own. Assembled and noted by John Crosby, this amazing four CD, 83 track set (with a 56 page accompanying booklet containing many exceptional images, including album artwork, magazines covers and advertisements, sales flyers and band photos) illustrates how the label evolved to cover all manner of musical styles and the social changes during the tumultuous 1960s musical revolution.
Obviously the folk musicians who recorded for the label, either in the studio or live at the ground-breaking Newport festival, are well represented: Dave Van Ronk’s wired ”˜Cocaine’, John Herald with The Greenbriar Boys’ rousing version of Woody Guthrie’s ”˜This Land Is Your Land’, Tom Paxton’s ”˜The Last Thing On My Mind’,Ian& Sylvia’s version of Gordon Lightfoot’s ”˜Early Morning Rain’ (later covered by Elvis in 1972, Joan Baez’s brilliant interpretation of Bob Dylan’s ”˜Farewell Angelina and a previously unreleased-on-CD Bob Dylan Newport performance of ”˜North Country Blues’.

Yet the blues singers who recorded albums for the label are also particularly well represented – Charlie Musselwhite’s ”˜Clay’s Tune’ (Tom Waits’ harmonica player of choice on his 2011 Bad As Me LP), Reverend Robert Wilkins’ ”˜The Prodigal Son’ (covered by The Rolling Stones on their 1968 Beggars Banquet album) Big Mama Thornton’s ”˜impassioned ”˜Ball And Chain’recorded at a prison concert), Buddy Guy’s fevered live rendition of ”˜Fever’, John Hammond’s convincing take on Muddy Waters’ ”˜I Can’t Be Satisfied’, Skip James’ joyous ”˜I’m So Glad’, Mississippi John Hurt’s laid back, bad ass version of ”˜Stagolee’ and Junior Wells’ heartfelt ”˜You Lied To Me.’

With the rock of the Notes From The Underground’s ”˜I Wish I Was A Punk’, the spiritual fervour of the Golden Gate Quartet’s ”˜Gospel Train’, the Cajun Band’s ”˜Bosco Stomp’, the folk-rock of The Serpent Power’s ”˜Dope Again’,a rare orchestral version of Country Joe’s song for Janis Joplin, ”˜Janis’, only available previously as the B-side of an obscure 45rpm Vanguard single, and the sardonic humour of “the Frank Zappa of Country Music”, Kinky Friedman’s ironic country ”˜Get Your Biscuits in The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed’,Make It Your Sound, Make It Your Scenerelates a huge swathe of music to discover and enjoy. This compilation is really the summation of an era.

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