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  • The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake
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The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake


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Audio CD, September 3, 2013
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 3, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blackfeet
  • ASIN: B008A6QAR8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,938 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Garden of Love
2. Hear the Voice of the Bard
3. How Sweet I Roamed
4. On Anothers Sorrow
5. A Dream
6. I Heard an Angel Singing
7. I Rose Up At the Dawn of Day
8. A Poison Tree
9. The Ecchoing Green
10. The Fly
11. Why Should I Care for the Men of Thames
12. Sleep Sleep Beauty Bright

Editorial Reviews

Although "The Garden Of Love: Songs of William Blake" is Martha Redbone's third album, she considers it "a sonic rebirth and fuller flowering of her own rootsy ethos". It's easy to understand Redbone's thought process. William Blake was an 18th century visionary. An acclaimed poet and artist, an idealist, free thinker and republican, an advocate of free love and a scourge of organized religion. That's a heady mix for a man born in the 1750s, in pre-industrial London, and it's his words that Redbone has chosen to sing. No wonder they instill feelings of liberation and rebirth.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If you enjoy any type of authentic American music, I think you would love it.
J. A. Green
Martha Redbone's "The Garden of Love" entices the listener with her astonishing voice and her musical interpretation of Blake's poetry.
Patricia A. Fluker
I brought up her youtube video "Garden of Love" and 15 seconds in knew I had to buy the album!
Jacqueline Van Allen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Leicester Bangs on September 27, 2012
Format: MP3 Music
Martha Redbone Roots Project - The Garden Of Love: Songs of William Blake (Blackfeet Productions)
Although "The Garden Of Love: Songs of William Blake" is Martha Redbone's third album, she considers it "a sonic rebirth and fuller flowering of her own rootsy ethos". It's easy to understand Redbone's thought process. William Blake was an 18th century visionary. An acclaimed poet and artist, an idealist, free thinker and republican, an advocate of free love and a scourge of organized religion. That's a heady mix for a man born in the 1750s, in pre-industrial London, and it's his words that Redbone has chosen to sing. No wonder they instill feelings of liberation and rebirth.

Upon listening to the album for the first time, it's fascinating to hear how contemporary it sounds. Blake may have written his poems over 200 years ago, but Redbone has placed them in a thoroughly modern Appalachian folk setting - if that's not an oxymoron. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen produced the recordings, and he's done quite a job. The sound is splendid; warm, energized and inclusive, and Redbone is in fine voice; passionate and when the material requires it, sensitive and gentle. I'm sure it will be filed away under folk, but it's soulful and infused with gospel, and transcends simple genre classification.

They begin with the barnstorming title track, a shadowy, backwoods reading, which places the garden on the swampier side of the tracks. "On Anothers Sorrow" is equally intense, though the simple arrangement relies utterly on Redbone's outstanding vocals, and "A Dream" reflects its English roots until a flute and Seminole chants break the spell. It makes for a wonderful juxtaposition, and provides just one of many standout moments on this exceptional record.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on September 25, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Here's an interesting and unusual concept: Take a singer/songwriter of both Native American and African-American decent (with a great-great-grandfather who migrated to Virginia from England) whose previous records were in a blues and rhythm& blues groove, ask her and her writing partner to add music to a dozen poems by late 18th Century English poet William Blake, put her in a studio in suburban Nashville with a group of top-notch instrumentalists (like bassist Byron House and the world-music guru David Amram) and bring in the multi-talented (and founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), John McEuen to write the arrangements (and play more than a half-dozen instruments!). Well, that's what this 32-minute album is all about. And, surprisingly it works! (I have to give a lot of credit to McEuen, whose work I've admired from the early days of the NGDB.

Standout tracks for me here are "On Anothers Sorrow" with McEuen's banjo backing Redbone's well-honed voice in a nice Appalachian mountains arrangement and "I Rose Up at the Dawn of the Day", where Blake's poem gets a gospel arrangement. (Oh, did I mention that McEuen also plays guitar, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, autoharp, and lap dulcimer?) For "The Evening Green" Redbone goes it alone in a solo a Capella version. The only other voice on this album is that of Joanthan Spottiswoode who adds spoken word to "Why Should I Care for the men of Thames", and that -at least for me - was the weakest.

I'll be frank. I'm not a huge fan "olde English" poetry and wondered what to expect but in McEuen's hands, and with Redbone's voice, I was drawn into the songs by their music and texture. I'm still not sure what some of the songs were about but,mostly, the combined production worked for me. Check out some samples and decide for yourself.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
wonderful concept beautifully executed....i have to write sixteen more words to submit and i dont mind.....i hope this has helped........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Green on November 18, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't buy that many CD's but I heard Redbone on NPR and I loved the sections of the tracks they played, so I waited until Amazon had this CD in stock and ordered it. I cannot stop listening. The music is haunting and gorgeous. I did my graduate work in English Literature, so I have some familiarity with Romantic poetry, but still I just can't get over that the words were written hundreds of years ago. The way the poetry has been juxtaposed with the music is magic. You don't have to be an expert in literature or in any type of music to like this. If you enjoy any type of authentic American music, I think you would love it. And so would many of the people on your Christmas list, if you can get your hands on the CD within the next few weeks. As I write, it's out of stock again. Good luck!
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By M L Hill on April 11, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Can't say enough about it. These are fascinating, sometimes surprising settings of some great poems. The songs really made me go back to the poems and love them in a different way. Martha Redbone is a fabulous artist, who deserves lots more attention!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
---it does! The pairing of William Blake's poems with American folk tradition inspired musical compositions is remarkably--and surprisingly--effective. Redbone's voice is interesting and her diction is clear enough to deliver the poems. For this old folk music fan who is also a classically trained musician and a life-long literary geek, this was a real find.
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