Raven's generous 2014 double-disc set, Life, Love & Music, contains no less than five albums from folk iconoclast John Hartford: John Hartford Looks at Life, Earthwords & Music, The Love Album, Housing Project, and John Hartford, all released between 1966 and 1969. During this era, Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" turned into a standard due to Glen Campbell's cover, and Hartford's original is here on Earthwords & Music. Its success allowed an already eccentric singer/songwriter to get even stranger; by the time this stint wrapped up, he was writing mock fugues and cramming his song titles with five-dollar words. The records after Earthwords also displayed a slight influence from Campbell's Hollywood Cowboy, finding plenty of room for strings and other wide-screen flair. Unlike, say, Mickey Newbury, Hartford did have a bit of show biz flair to him, something that arose on these later records, and that's what makes this all interesting: it's a testament to how progressive an era it was, with the definition of folk and country expanding along with the sound.
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