Various Artists

Troubadours: Folk and the Roots of American Music, Pt. 2

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On the second volume of Bear Family's extensive four-part, 12-disc series, Bob Dylan arrives at the midpoint, his introduction as seismic as an atomic bomb. Prior to his introduction on the second disc -- or CD 5, as the packaging denotes -- a disc has been spent on "The Popular Folk Music Era," i.e. the sweet, freshly-scrubbed crossover folk performed by the Kingston Trio, the Limeliters, the Chad Mitchell Trio, the Rooftop Singers, and the New Christy Minstrels. This was the sound of college campuses between 1958 and 1962, spirited three- or four-part harmonies on traditional tunes and songs from newly emerging writers, sometimes coming from within the group itself. The focus remained on songs designed to be interpreted then delivered to a wide audience but with Dylan, the perspective became distinct, precise, and personal. His six songs are split between protest anthems ("Blowing in the Wind," "The Times They Are A-Changin'") and personal songs ("Masters of War" and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" blend the two approaches), and while the former had an immediate impact the latter had a greater legacy, something that's evident on the rest of this set's second disc, which runs through Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, and Eric Andersen, and its third. That third disc rounds up singers and songwriters from Greenwich Village -- Dave Van Ronk, Judy Collins, Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, David Blue -- peers of Dylan's who drew from similar influences, but each developed their own distinct style of writing or performing, something this disc makes plain. Further fallout from Dylan is documented on the subsequent sets but this volume of Troubadours of Folk shows how vibrant and exciting his Greenwich scene was and illustrates just how different the Bard and his peers were from the prevailing folk of the '50s.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:06
2 2:35
3 3:17
4 2:54
5 2:24
6 2:43
7 2:52
8 2:33
9
2:48
10 2:43
11 2:50
12 2:39
13 3:13
14
2:50
15 2:27
16 2:49
17 2:41
18 2:20
19 3:18
20
2:18
21 1:50
22
2:47
23
2:15
24 2:38
25 2:09
26 2:10
27 2:45
blue highlight denotes track pick