The first album by Northampton, MA's Cordelia's Dad makes plain the trio's roots in the western Massachusetts punk scene. Although nearly all of the 13 songs are traditional American folk songs (the exception, "My Frozen Hedgehog," is by guitarist Tom King, based on a traditional folk motif), the guitar-bass-drums power trio format, complete with feedback and often anguished vocals by bassist Tim Eriksen, is at heart not that different from that of fellow Northampton residents Dinosaur Jr. Surely there's a post-punk sense of desperation to the death song standard "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still," one of the album's highest points. Similarly, the punky version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" owes little to the other best-known pop-related cover by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The squealy, lo-fi production is not always to the songs' benefit -- producer Dave Schramm would do a much better job with the folk and rock balance on the follow-up, How Can I Sleep? -- but Cordelia's Dad is an intriguing and often excellent musical hybrid akin to a post-punk American version of early Fairport Convention.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason