Roger McGuinn

Treasures from the Folk Den

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In late 1995, as part of his official website, Roger McGuinn launched a feature called The Folk Den, in which each month he recorded a traditional folk song in his home studio and posted the results on his web page along with brief essays on the histories of the songs and how he came to learn them. McGuinn used this ongoing experiment as the inspiration for his album, Treasures from the Folk Den, which was recorded in a series of informal sessions (mostly in people's homes, none in a traditional recording studio) using McGuinn's Apple G4 computer as a mobile recording setup. Unlike the online "Folk Den" recordings, which feature McGuinn solo (occasionally overdubbing himself for accompaniment), for these performances he enlisted a number of friends as accompanists and duet partners, including Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Eliza Carthy, and Tommy Makem. The results are a shade more polished than McGuinn's Folk Den sessions (several of which have been released on disc by and McGuinn is in fine voice, as are his guests (though neither McGuinn nor Odetta and Jean Ritchie have quite enough grit to do justice to "John the Revelator"). Treasures from the Folk Den, however, is flawed somewhat by the material; while nearly all of these songs are foundation blocks of the folk repertoire, as a consequence they've been recorded dozens of times by a number of major artists (including several who appear on this disc), and while these recordings are strong, they aren't that much different than the others that are already available. Treasures from the Folk Den would make a good introduction for someone just dipping their toes into the basic folk repertoire, and it's always a pleasure to hear these artists in strong and committed form, but there isn't much here that longtime folk enthusiasts haven't heard before; it's enjoyable, but hardly essential.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:38 Spotify
2 4:17 Spotify
feat: Judy Collins
2:16 Spotify
4 3:42 Spotify
feat: Eliza Carthy
2:33 Spotify
feat: Jean Ritchie
3:34 Spotify
7 2:28 Spotify
feat: Pete Seeger
3:24 Spotify
feat: Tommy Makem
2:25 Spotify
feat: Pete Seeger
4:13 Spotify
11 3:30 Spotify
12 2:42 SpotifyAmazon
feat: Odetta
3:01 Spotify
feat: Judy Collins
3:37 Spotify
15 2:42 Spotify
feat: Tommy Makem
3:57 Spotify
feat: Odetta
1:59 Spotify
feat: Pete Seeger
9:38 Spotify
blue highlight denotes track pick