Mark Spoelstra

The Times I've Had

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This album was originally issued as The Songs of Mark Spoelstra With Twelve-String Guitar in 1963 on Folkways, with a different cover. It's rather drab white folk-blues, delivered in a far less gutsy voice than that of one of Spoelstra's friends in Greenwich Village in the early '60s, Bob Dylan. Most of the songs are traditional, some quite familiar ("Corinna Blues," "Jail House Now," "Sugar Babe"), and none are Spoelstra originals, though he does cover Woody Guthrie's "Slip Knot" and Mance Lipscomb's "Sugar Babe." Spoelstra is a capable 12-string guitarist, but the album's a timepiece of the early-'60s folk boom, when such colorless vocalists could record for fairly big labels mainly by virtue of their still-unusual repertoire and their accessible diction.