Win Stracke is a classically trained, big-voiced folk singer in the style of Paul Robeson who performs traditional material with only guitar accompaniment on his late-'50s album Americana. Burl Ives is another reference point, particularly in Stracke's more jocular moments, but Stracke's controlled, deep bass voice bears a much greater similarity to Robeson. Stracke came to fame as the host of a Chicago children's television program in the '50s and a founder of the Old Town School of Folk Music, but recorded only a few commercially-released albums. Stracke tackles a broad assortment of songs on Americana, from ethnic and Western material to a variety of ballads, even adopting an Irish brogue for "No Irish Need Apply." Americana is emblematic of the days when folk music was regarded as an intellectual pursuit, as evidenced by his accompanist, the respected classical guitarist Richard Pick. Stracke's friend, the esteemed writer Studs Terkel, contributed the liner notes.
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