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Many Great Companions

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Seven albums and 17 years into her recording career, Dar Williams certainly has a body of work that justifies a "greatest-hits" album, but she's opted to do something a bit more ambitious than just slap a bunch of her best-known tunes onto a CD. Many Great Companions is a two-disc set, with one disc collecting 20 songs from Williams' previous albums that have become fan favorites over the years, and the other consisting of new recordings of 12 tunes from her catalog six of which appear on both discs, performed in stripped-down acoustic format with a few guests, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks who also co-produced the new ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Seven albums and 17 years into her recording career, Dar Williams certainly has a body of work that justifies a "greatest-hits" album, but she's opted to do something a bit more ambitious than just slap a bunch of her best-known tunes onto a CD. Many Great Companions is a two-disc set, with one disc collecting 20 songs from Williams' previous albums that have become fan favorites over the years, and the other consisting of new recordings of 12 tunes from her catalog six of which appear on both discs, performed in stripped-down acoustic format with a few guests, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks who also co-produced the new material. Though the new recordings are well done, the nature of the performances puts the focus on Williams' folky side, at the expense of the pop- and rock-influenced material that has represented some of her best work; Williams has been fortunate enough to work with producers who've fleshed out her songs without burying their lyrical and melodic strengths, and the no-frills versions of "Spring Street" and "What Do You Hear in These Songs" sound like pale shadows of the originals. Also, some of the numbers, such as "The Babysitter's Here" and "When I Was A Boy," were not especially far from solo acoustic recordings in the first place, and while Williams is a more confident and nuanced vocalist in 2010 than she was in 1993 when those songs were recorded for The Honesty Room, the differences are not so dramatic to keep the new recordings from seeming like footnotes in comparison to the original versions. However, both discs offer abundant evidence that Williams has been one of the best singer/songwriters to come out of the contemporary folk scene in the past two decades, and her material -- heartfelt, soul-searching, and often witty and full of fascinating detail -- is invariably impressive stuff. Ideally, Many Great Companions would be best purchased by two people going halves on the set -- a devoted fan who wants to hear the new recordings can take disc one, someone unfamiliar with Williams can take disc two, and they'll both go home with something likely to please them.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/12/2010
  • Label: Razor & Tie
  • UPC: 793018311229
  • Catalog Number: 83112
  • Sales rank: 108,862

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Calling the Moon (4:56)
  2. 2 If I Wrote You - Gary Louris (4:02)
  3. 3 Spring Street - Gary Louris (5:17)
  4. 4 I'll Miss You - Gary Louris (4:14)
  5. 5 The Christians and the Pagans - Sean Watkins (3:16)
  6. 6 What Do You Hear In These Sounds - Gary Louris (3:53)
  7. 7 The One Who Knows (3:36)
  8. 8 The Babysitter's Here (4:25)
  9. 9 As Cool As I Am - Gary Louris (3:30)
  10. 10 You Rise and Meet the Day - Gary Louris (2:51)
  11. 11 Iowa - Gary Louris (4:56)
  12. 12 When I Was a Boy (5:17)
Disc 2
  1. 1 It's Alright (3:26)
  2. 2 Are You Out There (3:05)
  3. 3 As Cool As I Am (3:36)
  4. 4 If I Wrote You (3:50)
  5. 5 February (3:53)
  6. 6 The Mercy of the Fallen (4:11)
  7. 7 The Easy Way (3:30)
  8. 8 The One Who Knows (3:46)
  9. 9 Teen For God (3:30)
  10. 10 After All (4:48)
  11. 11 Book of Love (3:34)
  12. 12 The Beauty of the Rain (2:59)
  13. 13 The Babysitter's Here (3:57)
  14. 14 Better Things (3:23)
  15. 15 Spring Street (4:50)
  16. 16 The Ocean (5:18)
  17. 17 Closer To Me (3:40)
  18. 18 Empire (3:46)
  19. 19 End of the Summer (4:10)
  20. 20 When I Was a Boy (4:44)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Dar Williams Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Patty Larkin Guitar
Motherlode Vocals
Mary Chapin Carpenter Vocals
Gary Louris Guitar, Vocals
Sara Watkins Violin, Vocals
Sean Watkins Guitar, Vocals
Terry Textor Platz Vocals
Stacy Labriola Vocals
Patti Pelican Vocals
Technical Credits
Ray Davies Composer
Dar Williams Composer, Producer
Gary Louris Producer
Glenn Schick Mastering
Traci Goudie Cover Design
Joe Johnson Engineer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Had a nice afternoon listening to this

    I've been a Dar Williams fan for many, many years. Her music is very beautiful and I feel strongly connected to it. Her subjects and lyrics are simply gorgeous and I was eager to see what this sort of "best of" album was all about. Disc 1 contains the new stuff, acoustic updates of "fan favorites" featuring guests like Mary Chapin Carpenter. I liked it a lot, though, as the editorial review points out, some of the tracks aren't terribly different than their original versions. I did, however, really enjoy the updated version of "Christians and Pagans" as I felt the earlier recording was a tad flippant and lacked the seriousness and sentimentality that this version contained. Disc 2, however, contains remastered hits from previous albums. This is where I discovered that I'm missing quite a few songs from my so-called "complete discography." Oh, no! All in all, if you're new to Dar Williams and are interested in getting the most bang for your proverbial buck, this set is a great buy. It's two CDs for the price of one and it's practically guaranteed that you won't be disappointed in it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews