Eric Andersen

Today Is the Highway

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Andersen's debut album presented him playing in a folkie style that was just starting to become passé upon its release in 1965. It's an inoffensive set of originals (except for a cover of "Baby Please Don't Go") in the early-'60s Greenwich Village style, accompanied only by his own guitar and harmonica (and, on two songs, by Debby Green on second guitar). Whether by coincidence or intention, or some combination thereof, it's highly reminiscent in spots of early Bob Dylan, although Andersen is gentler and more subdued. At times it especially recalls the Freewheelin'-era Dylan, or at least Dylan on that album's most reflective and low-key cuts, such as "Girl from the North Country." Andersen fills a lot of these early compositions with imagery of bumming around the country (hence the title "today is the highway"), adding some love songs. Certainly, however, it's not as forceful or original as the best singer-songwriter folk of the era, not just in comparison to Dylan, but also in comparison to others, such as his friend Tom Paxton. Nor is it as accomplished as his best material on subsequent 1960s recordings. The finest composition here is "Looking Glass," an elaborate first-person narrative-fantasy with a melody similar to folk tunes such as "Scarborough Fair."

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