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A Folk Tip Of The Hat,
This review is from: Sowing the Seeds: The 10th Anniversary -- Appleseed Recordings (Audio CD)Most of the musical reviews in this space center on individual and group performers or particular musical genres, especially folk, blues and classic rock and roll. Very occasionally this space salutes record labels like Chess, Sun, Rounder, Smithsonian/Folkway, Red House, and here, Appleseed Records. On those occasions the record label may be as important to the genre as the performances of the artists because they established a genre, drove it forward, keep it alive or acted as a repository, or all of the above. That is the case here with a CD salute to the 10th Anniversary of Appleseed Records (2007).
For the history of the label there is a more than informative booklet that comes with the 2-disc CD set, including plenty of discology-type information about each track. I want to concentrate here on the performers and the performances to give the reader who may not be familiar with any of this some sense of what the label has tried to do. I will just drop the name Pete Seeger in first place here because it is his spirit that has driven this project, his sense of the desperate necessity of preserving and continuing the folk and political protest traditions and because many of the songs here are performed by him, or are covered by other artists. Beyond that the litany of performers range form "born again" folkie Bruce Springsteen, actor and activist Tim Robbins, Pete's half-sister , Peggy, a folk legend in her own right, old time folkies Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and some newer folkies like Ani DiFranco. A nice mix.
Of course, that description begs the question of what is good here. What do you need to listen to get the essence of the Appleseed tradition? Well, Pete and Bruce on Bruce's "Ghost Of Tom Joad" that evokes the original Great Depression "Grapes Of Wrath" pathos (and very timely today when such messages are needed). A patriotic (too patriotic for my tastes) Pete on "Bring Them Home". Tom Paxton's heartfelt and justified tribute to the fallen New York 9/11fire fighters, "The Bravest". David Bromberg's rousing, bluesy "Try Me One More Time". And a today very appropriate Pete Seeger tune, "The Emperor is Naked Today".