Various Artists

Imaginational Anthem, Vol. 2

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Everything comes around again, it seems. The old acoustic guitar albums of the 1960s, on labels like Takoma, had a small audience. A couple of decades later, Windham Hill slicked up the product and helped create the whole new age genre. It all came back with the first Imaginational Anthem compilation, and this second volume expands on the idea. There are a number of obscurities and rarities, like "Devil's Brew," recorded at home in 1975 by Fred Gerlach, or "Kowaka d'Amour," a live recording from the late Robbie Basho. The mix of older and young talent is interesting, with veteran Michael Chapman showing his immediately identifiable style and verve with "Leaving the Apple." Jose Gonzalez has recently found some measure of pop fame in the U.K, but whether James Blackshaw, Sharron Kraus, and Sean Smith all have what it takes to become legendary remains to be seen. From the tracks here, the answer might be no. They all tend to be self-indulgent to an extent, noodling rather than really improvising. The first volume in this series deserved its praise. This, sadly, isn't in the same class.

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