Various Artists

San Francisco Song Cycle, Vol. 1

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The San Francisco Song Cycle showcases local talent and out of town guests; this two-disc set documents the best of show from 1996-98. Stephen Yerkey contributes his tribute to the Man in Black, "Where Cash Is King"; Chuck Prophet delivers a stinging "Burn This Firetrap Down"; Carmaig DeForest reveals his deftness at storytelling with "Henry and Jason." But lesser-knowns like Adam Elk and Sonya Hunter with the Kaleidophone Brass Band are revelatory in their own unique ways. Oddly, two banjo players are the picks of the pack: Bone Cootes' Waits-ian delight "Clown Fight," and Danny Pearson's dark folk on "1000 Days of Shame." Surprise guests include Sally Timms and Jon Langford of the Mekons covering Alex Chilton, and ex-Thelonious Monster Bob Forrest singing forthrightly about coming off drugs.

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