Harp: A Time to Sing

Editorial Reviews

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In the early autumn of 1984, four American folk icons came together to perform together for the first time. The four self designated themselves as HARP: Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert,and Pete Seeger. Taken as a whole, they represented the full spectrum of the American folk tradition --from the storyteller to the lyricist, from the topical to the stylist. They also embodied the best of multiple generations and transformations of the art form. In this re-release of that landmark live concert, some 13 additional songs have been added, and the result is a musical memory and gift for us all. What we now have is an amazing snapshot of the range of contemporary American folk music as it was during those painful...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
In the early autumn of 1984, four American folk icons came together to perform together for the first time. The four self designated themselves as HARP: Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Gilbert,and Pete Seeger. Taken as a whole, they represented the full spectrum of the American folk tradition --from the storyteller to the lyricist, from the topical to the stylist. They also embodied the best of multiple generations and transformations of the art form. In this re-release of that landmark live concert, some 13 additional songs have been added, and the result is a musical memory and gift for us all. What we now have is an amazing snapshot of the range of contemporary American folk music as it was during those painful years when yuppies ruled the land and American political progressives were struggling to find a voice to deal with the anger of a time out of joint. This important CD emerges as a musical document of the Reagan years, filled with the pain of the ongoing struggle for women’s rights and issues, the voices of gays and lesbians emerging from many American closets, and a culture running riot with materialism. This is the context for this great two-CD set. Holly Near’s song "Singing for Our Lives" went on to become a generational anthem, but it starts as a deeply moving plea for understanding and unity. Ronnie Gilbert’s hauntingly breaking voice on "Mothers, Daughters, Wives" gives a vivid musical poignancy to the women’s movement, then still in its early stages of acceptance. Echoes of the pioneers abound, as well: Arlo Guthrie performing Dylan’s "Mr. Tambourine Man," or the quartet singing "Guantanamera," or Guthrie’s "City of New Orleans." Fitted in among these are the very personal songs of Holly Near, as well as Guthrie’s brave attempt at a love song for a confused time ("You and Me"), and a lively version of one the legendary Weavers' greatest songs, "Twelve Gates to the City." Musically, there is something here for everyone: a historical moment captured, angry voices singing gentle songs, gentle voices singing angry songs, and unceasing reminders of the vitality of the folk movement and the conviction that, in its contemporary form, we are always “singing for our lives.” How far we’ve come; how far we have to go. Listen to this wonderful CD, and find hope and inspiration. Some dreams are bigger than the age that gives birth to them. Elena Pinto Simon
All Music Guide - Jeff Burger
Recorded in 1984 and originally released the following year, this concert album unites four longtime friends from two eras: Holly Near and Arlo Guthrie from the '60s generation and ex-Weavers Ronnie Gilbert and Pete Seeger from their parents' generation. HARP combines the first letters of their four names. This double-CD re-release certainly has its moments, some of which are among the 13 songs that have been added to the original recording. Among the best tracks are Seeger-led renditions of "Wimoweh" and "Guantanamera" and Guthrie's readings of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and Steve Goodman's "City of New Orleans." Some of the between-song storytelling -- such as Guthrie's tale of how he first heard the Goodman composition -- is also worth hearing. Its high spirits, abundant talent, and strong moments notwithstanding, however, A Time to Sing never quite takes off. Like most albums with long spoken bits, this one will have listeners hitting the fast-forward button during its frequent monologues after a few plays. Listeners may want to hit the same button during some of the topical material here, some of which seems lyrically dated and musically thin. It's also disappointing that little collaboration seems apparent. Instead of an album from a real quartet, much of this sounds like a sampler of tracks from four solo CDs.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/21/2012
  • Label: Calico Tracks Music
  • UPC: 611587105424
  • Catalog Number: 1054
  • Sales rank: 66,483

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Oh Mary Don't You Weep - Jeff Langley (3:02)
  2. 2 Somos el Barco/We Are the Boat - Jeff Langley (5:19)
  3. 3 Singing With You - Jeff Langley (3:12)
  4. 4 Oh Mom - Jeff Langley (3:39)
  5. 5 Emma - Jeff Langley (3:31)
  6. 6 You and Me - Jeff Langley (3:23)
  7. 7 Mothers, Daughters, Wives - Jeff Langley (5:09)
  8. 8 What's Going On/Foolish Notion - Jeff Langley (4:25)
  9. 9 Jacob's Ladder - Jeff Langley (4:10)
  10. 10 Take Back the Night! - Jeff Langley (4:10)
  11. 11 The Water Is Wide - Jeff Langley (5:19)
  12. 12 City of New Orleans - Jeff Langley (5:34)
  13. 13 Wimoweh (Mbube) - Jeff Langley (2:55)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Twelve Gates to the City - Jeff Langley (3:18)
  2. 2 Fine Time - Jeff Langley (3:48)
  3. 3 Icicle Blue - Jeff Langley (2:53)
  4. 4 Ghannu Ma'i - Jeff Langley (5:46)
  5. 5 Tarantella - Jeff Langley (1:59)
  6. 6 All Over the World - Jeff Langley (3:43)
  7. 7 Small Business Blues - Jeff Langley (3:22)
  8. 8 Estadio Chile - Jeff Langley (4:00)
  9. 9 Guantanamera - Jeff Langley (4:39)
  10. 10 Mr. Tambourine Man - Jeff Langley (9:23)
  11. 11 Good for Theworld - Jeff Langley (3:51)
  12. 12 Pallet on the Floor - Jeff Langley (3:01)
  13. 13 Singing for Our Lives - Jeff Langley (3:51)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
HARP Primary Artist
Arlo Guthrie Synthesizer, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Piano, Vocals
Pete Seeger Banjo, Percussion, Recorder, Vocals, Guitar (12 String Acoustic)
Holly Near Percussion, Vocals
Ronnie Gilbert Percussion, Vocals
Jeff Langley Piano
Technical Credits
Steve Goodman Composer
Arlo Guthrie Liner Notes
Pete Seeger Liner Notes
Holly Near Composer, Liner Notes, Reissue Producer
Bob Dylan Composer
Lorre Wyatt Composer
Joseíto Fernandez Composer
Ronnie Gilbert Liner Notes
Leslie Ann Jones Engineer
Jeff Langley Arranger
Paul Stubblebine Mastering
Jo-Lynne Worley Producer
Charles Tobias Composer
Carol Ehrlich Art Direction
José Martí Poetry
Al Frisch Composer
Traditional Composer
Tom Goodkind Composer
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