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104 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Studio recordings listed as "Soundtrack" - NEW "folk" sing OLD folksongs - but well done
Important note: Amazon groups both the CD AND vinyl reviews together. When reading a review take note of the format being reviewed. Now on with my review:

Though listed on the package as the "Soundtrack" for this new Coen brothers film (due 12/20/13), which was "inspired by" the life of folk music icon Dave Van Ronk, I'm virtually sure that these are not the...
Published 13 months ago by Steve Ramm

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Variable
Actually this is NOT the "original soundtrack recording", which is to say that, with two or three exceptions, these are not the performances that occur in the film. There's probably some technical reason for this (something to do with wanting the film's to be "live"), but the performances here generally don't try to approximate the performances in the film either. Most...
Published 9 months ago by theta


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104 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Studio recordings listed as "Soundtrack" - NEW "folk" sing OLD folksongs - but well done, November 11, 2013
This review is from: Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording (Audio CD)
Important note: Amazon groups both the CD AND vinyl reviews together. When reading a review take note of the format being reviewed. Now on with my review:

Though listed on the package as the "Soundtrack" for this new Coen brothers film (due 12/20/13), which was "inspired by" the life of folk music icon Dave Van Ronk, I'm virtually sure that these are not the the same recordings you will hear in the film. I did have a chance to see the film in a preview and a Q&A with the film's star Oscar Isaac (but reviews are embargoed until release date) and have read the press notes. The Coens wanted the actors, who do their own singing and playing in the film, to be used to the music, so Music Producer T-Bone Burnett made studio recordings first and then the actors performed live, again, during the filming. But that doesn't affect the review of the CD, it just clarifies some things.

Like their previous film "O Brother Where Art Thou", the Coens incorporate traditional music in the film, but this time there are more complete numbers. The opening cut on the CD "Hang Me, Hang Me" fills the first three minutes of the film, and most of the songs on the CD are performed complete. The next-to-the-last track - a previously unissued version of "Farewell" by Bob Dylan is only excerpted in the film and the closer, Van Ronk's version of "Green Green Rocky Road" is played over the closing credits.

The Coens state that they did not do research into Van Ronk's life and did not want Isaac to either look or sound like DVR. While the film will first attract those over 60 who remember the "folk revival", the CD is aimed at a younger audience with Justin Timberlake playing the role of "Jim", who has a singing partner Jean (Carey Mulligan). There was a real duo named Jim & Jean (Jim Glover, who was Phil Ochs' roommate, and his wife had hits with covers of Ochs' songs) but Ethan Coen says he knew their name but nothing about them. Mandolin prodigy Chris Thile, along with the rest of the Punch Brothers appear on many of the tracks as does Marcus Mumford, lead for Mumford & Son. The only NEW song here is the very forgettable "Please Mr. Kennedy" (about an astronaut) as sung by the Isaac, Timberlake and Mulligan in a nod to Peter Paul & Mary. And Tom Paxton's "The Last Thing On My Mind", sung by actor Stark Sands, is well-done, but certainly out of the chronological time frame of the film since it was recorded in 1964, while the film has him singing it in 1961.

By reading the credits for the performances included in the12-page booklet inside the digi-pak (which includes a fairly esoteric two-page essay by John Jeremiah Sullivan (I don't know who he is) and the lyrics (so you can sing along) I found some interesting surprises that will appeal mostly to those who were listening to folk music in the 1960s and 70s:

" Please Mr. President" Has two guitar players: Canadian Colin Linden and Nashville's Buddy Miller!

"The Roving Gambler" who Burnett says has "The Lost City Ramblers" (not the New Lost City Ramblers, with the late Mike Seeger, John Cohen and Tracy Schwarz) is actually a group called "The Downhill Strugglers" with addition of Cohen on Banjo.

And, the Carter Family song "The Storms Are On The Ocean" sung by Nancy Blake (the only real folk singer in the film) also features her husband Norman as well as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings!

I do like listening to the album and, hopefully, it will draw younger listeners to the original recordings. If you want to know more about Van Ronk, and hear the breadth of his work, check out my review of the wonderful new 3-CD set "Down In Washington Square" on Smithsonian Folkways

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How it was, December 27, 2013
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This review is from: Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording (Audio CD)
I was there and this is how it looked and this is how it sounded. These guys would have fit right in.
TomPaxton
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, January 2, 2014
By 
A. Blewett (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm fairly young and the extent of the folk music I've heard and loved is all Dylan. But watching the movie, right from the first three minutes I was knocked back into my seat. It's sad music, and not just because the movie is a bit of a downer. After I left the theatre with the credits rolling on a Dave Van Ronk original, I gave all the dollar bills I had to the bums on Sunset blvd.

This music makes me feel something so powerfully, like my heart's on a string and the songs tug at it. Its music that has to be heard. I absolutely had to get the soundtrack, and I have to get the vinyl version. It needs that ritual.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good music, December 12, 2013
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Kay M. Hahn (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording (Audio CD)
As a child of the 60's, I was amazed at the feel. The music really is of the era. And while no-one sings like van Ronk, Isaac does a very good job of using his own voice, and his guitar was spot on. Made me dig out all my old van Ronk records.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old songs, new favorites, November 20, 2013
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I am an old folk music fan, and this album presents a fresh take on some old favorites, as well as some I never heard before. The voices and arrangements are delightful. I can hardly wait for the film's release
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than Nostalgia, November 22, 2013
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It's great to see the "no frills" energy of the 60's folk scene reproduced so faithfully. I was expecting only nostalgia but was happy to hear a new vitality in these songs.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really excellent, November 8, 2013
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L. "L. M." (Albany, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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I'd highly recommend this soundtrack, both as a stand-alone record, and as a companion to the film. Oscar Isaac is absolutely captivating as Llewyn Davis, and the choice of songs have a very personal meaning, when coupled with the film. The other artists who appear on the record are equally solid, giving us a fictional glimpse at the folk scene. The only song I itch to pass over is Please Mr. Kennedy, but the urge makes a lot of sense given the context of the song in the film.
I will add that the vinyl indeed does not come with the digital download, but as has been commented, this isn't something that brings down the quality of the album. The vinyl is also missing the song The Roving Gambler, no doubt cut for time, but is still excellent.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Variable, March 7, 2014
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This review is from: Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording (Audio CD)
Actually this is NOT the "original soundtrack recording", which is to say that, with two or three exceptions, these are not the performances that occur in the film. There's probably some technical reason for this (something to do with wanting the film's to be "live"), but the performances here generally don't try to approximate the performances in the film either. Most obviously, the arrangements are different. Violins and banjos and extra guitars have been added, and the affecting a capella final verse of "The Death of Queen Jane" is here accompanied and preceded by an instrumental solo. This means to me that we can't excuse certain bland ("Ten Thousand Miles", "The Last Thing on My Mind") or odd ("The Auld Triangle") tracks on the grounds that the blandness or oddness is intentionally to serve the dramatic or comedic purposes of the film.

The exceptions include Dave Van Ronk's rendition of "Green, Green Rocky Road", played over the film's credits (I prefer actor Oscar Isaac's attempt to imitate Van Ronk's rendition, also included), Bob Dylan's "Farewell" (by far the best track here), and possibly "Please Mr. Kennedy" (I couldn't tell for sure). "Please Mr. Kennedy" is based on a real novelty song also called "Please Mr. Kennedy", but whereas the real "Please Mr. Kennedy" had to do with the cold war, the less amusing "Please Mr. Kennedy" we have here is anachronistically (and rather illogically) about manned spaceflight (still unknown to the public in February of 1961). It affords a small joke in the film, but has virtually no actual musical value. For some reason the Coen brothers desired to purge the film of politics completely (a tactic that inevitably results in great distortion, considering that the "folk revival" was to a significant extent a political movement).

All five Oscar Isaac numbers ("Hang Me, Oh Hang Me", "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)", "The Death of Queen Jane", "The Shoals of Herring", "Green Green Rocky Road") are good songs well sung, although I don't see the need for two versions of Dink's (the one I prefer is a vocal duet with a slightly different lyric). I'd like to have a disc with just these, the Dylan song, and "Ten Thousand Miles" (not because I care particularly for this rendition, but just because the song itself is so compelling). I find "The Storms are on the Ocean" fairly tedious. "The Roving Gambler" sounds to me as if it were sung by a Martian robot. Maybe there's some sort of folky "authentic" justification for it, but if so, I don't care. I hear no music and no humanity in it, only a mechanical ugliness.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful CD, January 20, 2014
By 
Marietta (Marietta, GA) - See all my reviews
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If you loved the movie you'll love the CD. If you just liked the movie, I think you will still love the CD.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Performed & Produced, November 14, 2013
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it's a good album, very folky, well performed and produced. My only knock on it is that it's quite mellow sounding, i guess my expectations with seeing the Punch Bros & T-Bone Burnett's influence is that it would be a bit more raucous sounding. It's still worth the purchase though.
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Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording
Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording by Various Artists (Audio CD - 2013)
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