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Ear to the Ground


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Audio CD, May 23, 2000
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. It Isn't Nice 2:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. On the Rim of the World 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. What Have They Done to the Rain? 2:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Look on the Sunnyside 2:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The World's Gone Beautiful 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Little Boxes Intro0:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Little Boxes 2:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Little Red Hen 2:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Dialectic 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Bury Me in My Overalls 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. There's a Bottom Below 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. The Little Mouse 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Rosie Jane 3:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. The Money Crop 1:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Magic Penny 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. The Albatross 3:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Skagit Valley Forever 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. The Judge Said (Intro)0:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. The Judge Said 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Mario's Duck 5:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Carolina Cotton Mill Song 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Boraxo 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. This World 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 23, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • ASIN: B00004SU9Z
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,498 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Personnel includes: Malvina Reynolds (vocals, guitar); Steve Goodman (6- & 12- string guitars); Julie Thompson (guitar, background vocals); Clark Maffitt, Brian Davies, Dick Rosmini, John Horton, Antero Jakoila, Nono Soderberg, Richard Rosmini (pedal steel guitar, harp); Jethro Burns (mandolin); B. Simpson, Bob Hoban (violin); Janet Bergano (cello).Producers: Alex Hassilev, Julie Thompson, Kim Kuusi, Steve Goodman.Recorded between 1960 & 1978. Includes liner notes by Rosalie Sorrels. PREVIEW :

Amazon.com

Possessing the creaky voice of a little old lady and the feisty disposition of a life-long rabble-rouser, Malvina Reynolds in the twilight of her career stood as a commanding matriarch of the topical-song movement. Ear to the Ground, which consists of 23-tracks the Berkeley, California-based broadside balladeer recorded between 1960 and her death in 1978, captures Reynolds in all her irascible glory. Best known for penning Pete Seeger's only hit ("Little Boxes," a poke at conformist housing) and the environmental lament "What Have They Done to the Rain?" (which the Searchers put on the charts), Reynolds's stuck to basic melodies that were given workmanlike arrangements. It was as a lyricist that she shined, delivering doggedly leftist screeds brightened by playful witticisms and unwavering conviction. A line from one of her late songs captures the spirit of the woman: "This old world is mean and cruel / Still I love it like a fool." --Steven Stolder

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 14 customer reviews
It's a true treasure and anyone who likes good music will love this album.
David L Hutchins
The sound on this 23 track CD is excellent and we owe Smithsonian Folkways for putting it out.
Lance Frodsham
Thes songs are gems with simple melodies and performance backed by powerful lyrics.
Eric Eberhard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Lance Frodsham on June 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you are a conservative Republican, you might as well skip this CD. It probably would be good for you but you wouldn't care for it. Rosalie Sorrels has put together a fine collection of Malvina's songs in Ear to the Ground . Malvina Reynolds self published her recordings in her later years and many people have anxiously awaited a CD collection of hers for years. The subtitle of this collection is Topical Songs 1960-1978.
Malvina Reynolds was born to a socialist family in 1905. She wasn't allowed to have her high school diploma because of her parent's beliefs. She went on to earn her Ph.D but wasn't allowed to teach. She held a myriad of jobs including social work before she discovered folk music. When she became a singer / songwriter she had truly found her niche. At the age of 50 she would hit the open mikes along with a young Bobby Zimmerman (Dylan) She didn't allow sexism, ageism or any other "ism" to deter her. She took part in activism and music until her death at age 75.
This collection contains classics such as Little Boxes and Magic Penny. It also has songs that will hit you in the solar plexus such as Rosie Jane and The Judge Said. In Wisconsin, a judge ruled that a sixteen year old boy was provoked by a sexually permissive culture to rape a 15 year old girl. He was quoted as saying,"Whether we like it or not, women are sex objects" Malvina wrote the song, had it produced by Steve Goodman and distributed it through the midwest as a 45, including information demanding the judge be recalled. The judge was recalled and was replaced by a woman.
The sound on this 23 track CD is excellent and we owe Smithsonian Folkways for putting it out. My only criticism is that the beautiful Turn Around (known to millions as the Kodak commercial song) and Morningtown Ride were not included. Perhaps Smithsonian Folkways and Rosalie Sorrels will be kind enough to release Volume 2. Lance Frodsham
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David L Hutchins VINE VOICE on December 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
One reviewer said that Republican conservatives wouldn't find much to like here. That's complete rubbish. I am conservative as they come, but I was absolutely thrilled to discover this album and loved all the songs. It's a true treasure and anyone who likes good music will love this album. Most of the songs are about things that concern us all, regardless of our political leanings. Regardless of the messages the songs may convey, Malvina Reynolds has a delightful, powerful, mature voice. She was not that young when these recordings were made; already a white haired lady. Such a refreshing change from the young female singers that tend to dominate the music field with their too sweet, over-instrumented, childish voices. Malvina is a fiesty little old lady with a powerful, interesting voice who can really belt the songs out. She is just an absolute joy to listen to. You might not like every song, but there's a lot to pick from here. There is humor, poignancy, beauty and grace. Too bad she didn't record a lot more. Little Boxes is a masterpiece, but there are plenty of other amazing songs here. This is the one of the best folk albums ever made and makes some other folk singers sound second rate. This is a MUST HAVE album. I can't say enough positive about it and find in inconceivable that anyone would be indifferent to this album or not like something on it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cracker Commmoira Vetter on October 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
If it hadn't been for the showtime program "Weeds" I might never have discovered Malvina Reynolds. This music is incredible. Like uncovering a lost treasure. I recommed this to anyone who appreciates simple music with a strong message.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on July 5, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Some of the 1960s folk revival musicians and writers whose work I have reviewed in this space I know first-hand from hearing them live or listening to them in some other form. Those would include the likes of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and Pete Seeger, among others. Others, I know second-hand from their work being covered by the above-mentioned artists, or others. That is the case with the singer/songwriter under review, Malvina Reynolds.

Long before I had heard her doing her own songs herself I had heard covers of such Reynolds classics as "What Have They Done To The Rain?", "It Isn't Nice" (Joan Baez) and "Little Boxes" (Pete Seeger). In those days I didn't think to inquire about who actually wrote songs, although I think that I assumed in the folk genre that most contemporary songs were sung by those who performed them. Needless to say, covered, or as here, sung be herself Malvina Reynolds was the kind of folksinger whose work I could appreciate as an example of the part of the genre that I gravitated toward, social protest songs.

I defy anyone to classify Malvina's work otherwise. Sure, she might have done some songs with love in mine, or some other thwarted thing but the grit of her work, what makes it work, is that folk troubadour tradition that she worked to perfection. For those not familiar with that tradition it actually goes back to the town criers (and other such wandering figures) in medieval times that would cry the news of the day and put their own spin on it. Is that Malvina's pitch? Of course. And all you have to do is listen to the three examples mentioned above to confirm this.

But don't stop there for this CD is actually something of a Malvina "greatest hits" compilation.
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