Various Artists

Selections from the Best of Broadside

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Broadside was a small underground magazine created in a New York City housing project by a group of dedicated musicians and social activists. During its 26-year run (from 1962-1988), Broadside published many important political songs by an impressive list of songwriters, including Bob Dylan, Janis Ian, Phil Ochs, Malvina Reynolds, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, and many others. A five-disc box set called The Best of Broadside 1962-1988 was issued in 2000, featuring 89 songs that first made their appearance in the pages of the magazine. Selections from the Best of Broadside is exactly that, an 11-song promotional sampler spotlighting the variety of performers, topics, and musical styles found in the box set. Brief as it is, there are wonderful tracks on the sampler, including Rev. Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick's robust "Nothing But His Blood" and Ewan MacColl's humorous, bomb-manufacturing saga, "Legal-Illegal." Malvina Reynolds, a brilliant and unsung political songwriter (she had a hit on AM radio with the delightfully satirical "Little Boxes"), has another of her gems collected here, the slumlord-skewering "The Faucets Are Dripping." Then there is the case of "Blind Boy Grunt," whose "The Ballad of Donald White" reveals its writer and singer to be none other than Bob Dylan. The sampler and the box set provide a great glimpse of a time when songs of strong moral and political conviction were being born.

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