Various Artists

From the Heart of Studio A: The Folkscene Collection

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If you like folk music and have ever lived in Los Angeles, chances are you know the names Roz and Howard Larman. Their FolkScene radio show on KPFK has been an L.A. institution since 1970, and one of its highlights has been visits to the studio by just about everybody you can think of from the world of folk. There have been more than 1, 500 such guest appearances over the history of the show, so this 13-track CD of FolkScene performances from the 1990s barely scratches the surface. Still, it's a start, and a fine one. The sound quality is amazingly good, especially considering that the disc contains unvarnished live recordings, with no overdubbing or "fixing in the mix" later on. Noteworthy performances include Bruce Cockburn's "Pacing the Cage," Kate and Anna McGarrigle's "Goin' Back to Harlan," Richard Thompson's "Waltzing's for Dreamers" and Mary Black's "Columbus." The best track, though, is Iris Dement's "Our Town," a self-penned ode to a dying hometown with an aching, heartfelt vocal that will stay with you after the singing has ended.

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