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Other Voices Other Rooms CD

4.7 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, March 2, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Features guest artists Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke, Indigo Girls,and more. [Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand]

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During the '80s, Texas singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith graduated from modest folk celebrity to find herself signed to a major label and making thoughtful, better-heeled studio albums that were critical favorites but commercial anomalies in the country market where she was initially positioned. This 1993 project finds her returning to her roots, reunited with the producer behind his earlier folk triumphs, Jim Rooney. Taking its title from Truman Capote's first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms is a gentle but whip-smart anthology of excellent songs from acknowledged masters (Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, John Prine, Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, the Weavers, Gordon Lightfoot) and lesser-known but hardly less-skilled writers including Kate Wolf, Frank Christian, and Vince Bell. Griffith's clear-eyed vocals and unswerving intelligence are well served by members of her own band, augmented by vocal cameos from a roomful of fellow folk veterans including Prine, Arlo Guthrie, the Indigo Girls, and John Gorka, among others. --Sam Sutherland
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 2, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Elektra
  • ASIN: B000002HCF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Heinrich on May 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This was my first Nanci Griffith album, and it was something of a gamble (she has her share of critics). But I definitely won in a big way. This album has grown on me so tremendously. This album features an assortment of songs from a long line of great American songwriters (frequently the songwriter is on the track somewhere). The combination of vocals, lyrics, and instrumentation is pure, natural, unforced beauty. The production is clean, bright, and straightforward; no gimmicks or interference. This album is perfect for its genre.
Right now, I can't even name the standout tracks. This is a very rare example of an album that is full of standout tracks; not a weak moment from start to finish (and running at just over an hour, with 17 tracks, that's no small feat). True, no new ground is being broken here, but that's exactly the point. It's back to the basics, yet still fresh and modern. Its beauty and simplicity is wonderfully infectious.
If this sounds even slightly interesting to you, then I think you're likely to enjoy it. Why this 1993 album isn't priced higher is beyond me. So take advantage of it while you can.
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Format: Audio CD
Folkie/singer/songwriters such as Nanci Griffith are the most joyful of live entertainers to watch. Partially because it's almost always in an intimate environment, and you can feel that the performer is almost singing directly to you. Plus the songs have to be heartfelt, or the whole concept just doesn't work.
Problem is, most of them can't sell a record to save their lives. Sure, Bob Dylan isn't starving, but let him try to release a few albums without rock accompaniment and see what happens to his record contract. So what do they do?
Well, how about releasing an album of songs by the masters of the field, as performed by the featured artist? And have the songwriters themselves perform as backup musicians or singers. Then every few months or so, somebody else can do the same thing, and all of a sudden we'd have some pretty good music being released.
For this is one dynamite collection of songs. So what if they're not her songs. They're done in earnest, and open doors to me as to what other artists are capable of. Or sometimes it's nice to hear a song you're familiar with done by somebody else. I actually have had the original album that has "Tecumsah Valley" on it for twenty-five years now. Since we won't be hearing Townes Van Zandt singing anytime soon, this is a great way to revive it. I also find myself playing "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness" over and over again, and as the father of four, "Turn Around" leaves me a sobbing ... every time I hear it.
Like I said, let everyone take their turn in the rotation. This is a very special album to me.
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Format: Audio CD
You know the old game about choosing ten CDs to take with you to a desert island to listen to for the rest of your life. Other Voices, Other Rooms would be on my list.

That may seem like excessive praise for a CD that's not overly original and done by a singer who doesn't have one of the great voices of our time. But I love every song on this album -- save "Turn Around." The coincidence of good songs, good arrangements, and the perfect voice for the material makes this CD exceptional. Arlo Guthrie's duet with Nanci on "Tecumseh Valley" (heartbreakingly sad) is one highpoint. Equally sad and equally beautiful is "From Clare to Here." And Bob Dylan's harmonica on "Boots of Spanish Leather" and Don Edward's yodel on a great cowboy song, "Night Rider's Lament," are outstanding. The wonderful "Across the Great Divide" by the late Kate Wolf if another tearjerker. This one is special for me. I've listened to it for years and it never gets tiresome.

Smallchief
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Format: Audio CD
Need I say more? I adore this CD - not only do you get Nanci Griffith at her best, you also get guesting with her - Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls, Arlo Guthrie, Odetta, John Prine and even Bob Dylan on harmonica on her brilliant version of the Dylan classic BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER! This is her first covers album and the better of the two I think, but only just! ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE, a Kate Wolf song, has some beautiful harmonies in the vocals. TECUMSEH VALLEY is another of the strongest tracks and is both a joy but heart-wrenching as well as you listen to the lyrics. If you read Nanci's book OTHER VOICES - A PERSONAL HISTORY OF FOLK MUSIC then you will appreciate these songs even more and maybe be inspired to check out the original versions. DO RE MI is a fun, uptempo track orignally done by Woody Guthrie. SPEED OF THE SOUND OF LONELINESS has been much covered and is another live favourite with a repetitive but infectious riff throughout. FROM CLARE TO HERE is a true classic - orginally done by Ralph McTell, which shows there's more than just the Streets of London for this guy - this one has some Celtic sounds thrown in for effect and works well. NIGHT RIDER'S LAMENT is an old cowboy song done well, but watch out for the yodelling! This is fun, however, done by one Don Edwards. The CD closes with WIMOWEH, a familiar tune which was massacred by Tight Fit in 1982 under the guise of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, itself a 1960s pop hit - WIMOWEH in its proper form, a protest song sung by waiters back in Africa in the 1940s so it would seem, is far better! This CD is recommended to anybody with a love for old folk music done by perhaps the finest female vocalist to ever come from Texas!
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