Phil Cohen

Caution to the Wind

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Caution to the Wind is an old-fashioned folk album, dedicated to social justice. This shouldn't be a surprise to those who know Phil Cohen's background as a labor organizer, or for those who have seen Patricia Ford's labor cartoons. Both Cohen and Ford trade lead vocals on the eight songs that make up the album, accompanied by guitar, harmonica, and the occasional violin or mandolin. "Hard Time Lover" may remind listeners of something Waylon Jennings might have sung during his outlaw heyday. The fiddle adds a nice romantic air to the tune, while Ford's harmony rounds out the chorus. "Hard Miles" is about being a labor organizer, its dangers and difficulties, and the ultimate payoff of unionizing a new factory. This song plays to Cohen's strengths, allowing him to sing about what he knows best. Ford sings the moving "War for the Roses," a song about women whose husbands serve in the military. The flute, fiddle, and light percussion give the song -- despite its grim subject -- a nice ambience. "Palerider" is one of the more atmospheric pieces on the album, an open instrumental with ghostly voices in the background. The album, at 31 minutes, is a little short, and neither Cohen nor Ford are outstanding vocalists. Still, this is a heartfelt effort of people who want, more than anything, social justice. If their music can help spread the word, then Caution to the Wind will have served its purpose.

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