He would be forgotten several decades later, but in the early '60s Len Chandler was a reasonably well-known socially conscious folk singer/songwriter. Produced by the estimable John Hammond, his Columbia debut was commendably earnest and goodhearted New York 1960s folk. It's dated, though, in the melodramatic, serious execution of the material. While his concerns are diverse -- including anthemic odes to self-pride, blues, love ballads, and a yearning for a more just world -- and compassionate, the songs are lacking in outstanding or exceptionally moving qualities. That's particularly true of the vocals, which like so many folk recordings of the era have the sort of exhortatory vibrato that would get largely washed out of contemporary folk and folk-rock by the end of the 1960s in favor of more naturalistic styles. In view of Columbia's pioneering folk-rock efforts of the mid-'60s, it's interesting to hear the spiky electric guitar and tambourine on the bluesy "Feet First Baby," as if the label and Hammond were gingerly exploring possibilities of more contemporary backup. That arrangement isn't too typical of the album, though, which largely sticks to acoustic if rhythmic folk.
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