Woodyboye The Songs O0405


fye.000000400159451249 4/26/05 Used

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    Woodyboye The Songs O0405 Appleseed Records

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Review Text Joel Rafael's second album of Woody Guthrie songs is more ambitious than his first, 2003's Woodeye, and turns to more obscure material. On Woodeye, Rafael applied his husky voice (perhaps closer to Ramblin' Jack Elliott than to Guthrie) and folk/country band arrangements to some of Guthrie's more familiar songs, though he also dug up some rare stuff and even provided a musical setting to an unpublished Guthrie lyric, "Dance a Little Longer." He goes further into the arcane here, with good results. Again, there are Guthrie songs that are relatively little known, such as "Stepstone" (on which guests Jackson Browne, Jimmy LaFave, and Arlo Guthrie add vocals), "Two Good Men" (part of Guthrie's song cycle about the executed anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti), "Circle of Truth," and "Heaven My Home." And, due to the success of "Dance a Little Longer," Rafael has been given some more Guthrie lyrics to musicalize, resulting in the premieres of "Ramblin' Reckless Hero," "Dance Around My Atom Fire," "Your Sandal String," and "Love Thyself." Rafael even covers one of the Billy Bragg-composed Guthrie songs from Mermaid Avenue, "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key." (He also interpolates one of his own originals, "Sierra Blanca Massacre," which is on the same theme as Guthrie's "Deportee.") There may be no "This Land Is Your Land," but Rafael succeeds in a goal the Guthrie estate has been pushing since the late ‘90s, to demonstrate that there is much more to Guthrie than the songs everybody knows. In some cases, the new songs, as performed by Bragg and Wilco, by the German singer Wenzel, or others, have been stylistically diverse. Rafael is very much in the Guthrie folk tradition, however. He comes up with simple, folkish melodies and sings the songs in a voice that almost sounds like Guthrie, just a Guthrie people haven't heard before. ~ William Ruhlmann

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Rangers Command - 3:19
  2. 2. Stepstone - 4:00
  3. 3. Sierra Blanca Massacre - 6:55
  4. 4. This Train Is Bound for Glory - 3:05
  5. 5. Ramblin' Reckless Hobo - 3:52
  6. 6. Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key - 5:46
  7. 7. Dance Around My Atom Fire - 3:47
  8. 8. Two Good Men - 4:08
  9. 9. Circle of Truth - 4:19
  10. 10. Your Sandal String - 4:38
  11. 11. Heaven My Home - 4:30
  12. 12. Love Thyself - 3:23

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