Fast Folk: A Community of Singers and Songwriters

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
?There is always an audience for a good song,? decided The Coop/The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, a musicians? cooperative founded by singer-songwriter Jack Hardy and guided by the late, great Dave Van Ronk, which in 1982 began publishing a monthly critical journal with a full-length LP of new work by predominantly unknown songwriters. And good -- in fact, great -- songs abound on this excellent two-CD 20th-anniversary anthology culled by editors Hardy and Richard Meyer from more than 1,000 songs from the 105 released Fast Folk issues. An in-the-field oral history in the true-to-life Smithsonian Folkways tradition, this collection vibrantly captures the burgeoning new-wave Greenwich Village songwriter scene in ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
“There is always an audience for a good song,” decided The Coop/The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, a musicians’ cooperative founded by singer-songwriter Jack Hardy and guided by the late, great Dave Van Ronk, which in 1982 began publishing a monthly critical journal with a full-length LP of new work by predominantly unknown songwriters. And good -- in fact, great -- songs abound on this excellent two-CD 20th-anniversary anthology culled by editors Hardy and Richard Meyer from more than 1,000 songs from the 105 released Fast Folk issues. An in-the-field oral history in the true-to-life Smithsonian Folkways tradition, this collection vibrantly captures the burgeoning new-wave Greenwich Village songwriter scene in intimate, mostly guitar-and-voice, one-take recordings from the coop’s performance space at the local SpeakEasy club, musician/engineer Mark Dann’s home studio, and the live annual Revue performances at the Bottom Line. Here, you can hear history in the making in seminal standout tracks from the now famous, the almost famous, emerging newcomers, and unsung mainstays -- Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, John Gorka, Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky, Eric Wood, Richard Julian, Frank Tedesso, Frank Christian, Erik Frandsen, Rod McDonald, David Massengill, Lillie Palmer, and many, many more -- as they melodically spin poetry and politics with poignance, wit, and even jazz. And always, the song’s the thing... --Matt Hughes
All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
From the early '80s to the late '90s, Fast Folk magazine was an important document of and voice for the folk-rooted New York singer/songwriter scene. The magazines came with compilation albums -- no less than 105 of them -- allowing subscribers and purchasers to sample the work of many young and unknown, and some veteran and relatively well-known, singer/songwriters. The magazine stopped publishing in 1997, its holdings donated to the Smithsonian a couple of years later. This first retrospective of the massive body of Fast Folk is a 34-track, two-CD set including 142 minutes of music spanning 1982-1997. Some of the performers are famous, like Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin (represented by a 1985 version of her "I Don't Know Why"), Dave Van Ronk, and Steve Forbert; others are fairly well known, like Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, and Christine Lavin. But most of these names will be unfamiliar, even to many folk fans. And while the music is often acoustic folk, sometimes solo, it's sometimes mild folk-rock with fuller arrangements, too. Fast Folk was undoubtedly a valuable organization and medium for exposure, but good intentions don't always make for great music. Most of this is earnest confessional and/or narrative material, on the undistinguished side melodically, lacking the idiosyncratic and arresting vocal personalities of the best singer/songwriters -- and not just Bob Dylan, an obvious reference point for much of this style (though these performers are on the whole far more polite than Dylan), but even Dave Van Ronk, though his "Another Time and Place" wouldn't be considered one of his best performances. What are the best performances on this disc, though? Elaine Silver's "Share the Failure" has the pristine seriousness of the sort heard on early Judy Collins and Joan Baez outings; Patrick John Brayer's "Bourbon as a Second Language" has a refreshing country-influenced lightheartedness; Germana Pucci's "Corpo Gracile," sung in Italian, has a gypsy feel; Christine Lavin's "Don't Ever Call Your Sweetheart By His Name" has her usual comic touch that, while hard to take in concentrated doses, stands out on this comp as a welcome blast of levity. Comic relief's not always a good thing, though, as demonstrated by the bombastic crude wit of Andy Breckman's "Railroad Bill."
Billboard
Top-notch songwriting and vocals...It's hard to imagine a music scene better chronicled.

Top-notch songwriting and vocals...It's hard to imagine a music scene better chronicled.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/26/2002
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074013526
  • Catalog Number: 40135
  • Sales rank: 350,631

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 American Jerusalem (5:58)
  2. 2 What's Wrong With the Man Upstairs (4:38)
  3. 3 Old Factory Town (5:12)
  4. 4 Just Need a Home (Spotlight) (3:38)
  5. 5 Another Time and Place - Dave Van Ronk (4:31)
  6. 6 I Don't Know Why (3:45)
  7. 7 Geza's Wailing Ways (3:53)
  8. 8 Ragman! - David Indian (4:03)
  9. 9 High Times (4:36)
  10. 10 Don't Ever Call Your Sweetheart by His Name (2:21)
  11. 11 Where Were You Last Night? (4:19)
  12. 12 Introduction to Corpo Gracile (0:28)
  13. 13 Corpo Gracile (5:13)
  14. 14 Kilkelly, Ireland (5:58)
  15. 15 Introduction to the Viking Rag (1:32)
  16. 16 The Viking Rag (2:37)
  17. 17 Forget-Me-Not (4:20)
  18. 18 Vacation - Ensemble (2:41)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Gypsy (4:16)
  2. 2 Thirty Thousand Men (4:31)
  3. 3 Margaret (4:04)
  4. 4 Share the Failure (2:55)
  5. 5 Bourbon as a Second Language - Patrick John Brayer (3:47)
  6. 6 King of Hearts (4:10)
  7. 7 Heart on Ice (5:04)
  8. 8 The Courier (5:00)
  9. 9 By Your Eyes (3:22)
  10. 10 Danton (4:27)
  11. 11 Long Black Wall (4:27)
  12. 12 Railroad Bill (3:32)
  13. 13 Gravedigger (3:18)
  14. 14 January Cold (5:11)
  15. 15 Disenchanted - Eric Wood (4:37)
  16. 16 Raphael - Hugh Blumenfeld (3:35)
  17. 17 Your Face - Louise Taylor (3:18)
  18. 18 Crazy Horse - Josh Joffen & Late For Dinner (3:18)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fast Folk Musical Magazine Primary Artist
Hugh Blumenfeld Guitar, Vocals
Andy Breckman Guitar, Vocals
Frank Christian Vocals
John Gorka Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Jack Hardy Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Tom Intondi Guitar, Vocals
Michael Jerling Guitar, Vocals
Josh Joffen Guitar, Vocals
Paul Kaplan Guitar, Vocals
Christine Lavin Guitar, Vocals
Rod MacDonald Guitar, Vocals
David Massengill Dulcimer, Vocals
Richard Meyer Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Pierce Pettis Guitar
Richard Shindell Guitar, Vocals
Shawn Colvin Guitar, Kazoo, Vocals
Steve Forbert Guitar, Vocals
Suzanne Vega Guitar, Vocals
John Kruth Flute
Laura Burns Guitar, Vocals
Dave Van Ronk Guitar, Vocals
Wendy Beckerman Guitar, Vocals
Patrick Brayer Guitar, Vocals
Louise Taylor Vocals
Jeff Berman Drums
Lucy Kaplansky Guitar, Kazoo, Vocals, Background Vocals
Robin Batteau Vocals
John Caulfield Fiddle
Mark Dann Synthesizer, Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Drums, Electric Guitar, keyboard bass, Pedal Bass
Erik Frandsen Guitar, Vocals
Lisa Gutkin Violin, Background Vocals
David Hamburger Pedal Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar
Jeff Hardy Bass
Margo Hennebach Synthesizer, Keyboards, Vocals, Background Vocals
Teresina Huxtable Casio
Richard Julian Guitar, Vocals
Janice Kollar Vocals
Lillie Palmer Guitar, Vocals
Roger Rosen Guitar, Vocals
Frank Tedesso Guitar, Vocals
Bob Warren Guitar
Howie Wyeth Drums
Judith Zweiman Guitar, Vocals
Jennifer Hersch Bass
Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams Banjo, Vocals
Tom Duval Bass, Electric Guitar
Germana Pucci Guitar, Vocals
Nikki Matheson Vocals
Elaine Silver Guitar, Vocals
Susan Fiering Background Vocals
Willie Nininger Guitar, Vocals
Technical Credits
Etta Baker Composer
Frank Christian Liner Notes
Jack Hardy Producer, Annotation
Michael Jerling Liner Notes
Paul Kaplan Liner Notes
Christine Lavin Liner Notes
Rod MacDonald Liner Notes
Richard Meyer Producer, Annotation
Shawn Colvin Liner Notes
Peter Beckerman Engineer, Mastering
Joe Brescio Engineer, Mastering
Mark Dann Engineer, Mastering
Richard Julian Liner Notes
Bill Kollar Engineer, Mastering
Lillie Palmer Liner Notes
Jeff Place Producer, Annotation
David Seitz Engineer, Mastering
Tom Heyman Composer
Pete Reiniger Remastering
Germana Pucci Liner Notes
Traditional Composer
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