Recorded live at the Coffeehouse Extemporé in Minneapolis, MN, and initially released by the club's record label (with a reissue five years later on Red House Records), Bill Staines' Bridges is a satisfying concert album that finds the veteran folksinger covering folk favorites (Woody Guthrie's "Pretty Boy Floyd," the traditional "I Bid You Goodnight"), repeating old favorites of his own that are beloved of his singalong listeners ("A Place in the Choir," introduced as "my animal song for all you animals out there in the audience"), yodeling ("The Happy Yodel"), and introducing new material ("Moving It Down the Line"). Throughout, Staines, interweaving acoustic guitar lines with Guy Van Duser, sings in his calm, reedy voice, lending a sense of reassurance to his tales of travel and travail. After leading the crowd through "A Place in the Choir," he explains the inspiration for a line about a porcupine, telling a story about his encounter with such an animal on a camping trip ("The Porcupine Talks to Itself"). Although this is his most sustained break from singing, it is of a piece with his songs, gentle, touching, and at times lightly amusing.
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