Various Artists

This Land Is Your Land: Songs of Freedom

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Although this is a fairly good compilation of songs, mostly well-known, from the 1950s and (mostly) 1960s folk revival, the common threads between the tunes are vaguer than what the title might portend. Indeed, some of these 16 tracks are specific songs of freedom and struggle: Cisco Houston's "This Land Is Your Land," the Weavers' "If I Had a Hammer," and the Chambers Brothers' previously unreleased version of "People Get Ready." Others would probably be more properly described as songs of protest (Buffy Sainte-Marie's "The Universal Soldier," or the duet by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez on "With God on Our Side"), or songs of unity (Judy Collins' live version of "Get Together"). Others, though quality compositions, really fall into no fixed boundary: Collins' versions of "Blowin' in the Wind" and Pete Seeger's "Turn, Turn, Turn," the Kingston Trio's "All My Sorrows," Joan Baez's "There But for Fortune," and Ian & Sylvia's cover of Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game." Perhaps this could have been called "songs of freedom, protest, conscience, and the spirit," or something else so blanket as to be almost uselessly all-encompassing. At its root, it's just an above-average anthology of songs from Vanguard's hallowed folk catalog. Disappointingly, there are no liner notes documenting the original recording and release dates. That's particularly vexing in the case of the two previously unreleased tracks, the Chambers Brothers' "People Get Ready" and Baez's "The Times They Are a-Changin'." Both are live tracks, almost certainly from the Newport Folk Festival, an event Vanguard frequently recorded in the mid-'60s.

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