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Various Artists | Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word (Finders Keepers)
This compilation of late Sixties/early Seventies folk has undoubtedly been released to coincide with the recent surge in muted acoustic activity. Thanks to the recommendations of relatively high profile figures like Devendra Banhart, artists such as Vashti Bunyan and Linda Perhacs (included here) are currently generating a lot of interest, and 'Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word' is Twisted Nerve boss Andy Votel's own addition to the market. However, it's hard to approach an album without prejudice, even as a fan of such music, when its press release deems the music contained within 'folk-funk' and an alternative to the 'countrified croutons' of Joni Mitchell and Crosby Stills and Nash. Such drivel should set the blood of any self-respecting music fan boiling, but press releases should never be taken too seriously, right? Unfortunately, as the portentous 'folk-funk' tag might have suggested, much of this music acts simply as DJ-friendly grooves. Indistinct, bass heavy 'jams' dominate, although there are sublime moments such as Perhacs' quiveringly lovely Hey, Who Really Cares, Wendy & Bonnie's effervescent By The Sea, and The Poppy Family's cheeky Shadows On My Wall. Perhaps due to Votel's DJ-ing background, most of these songs seem to have been chosen for their 'trippy' elements and their obscurity, rather than the quality of the song. As such, it may be acceptable in a bar or coffee house, but at home it's an unsatisfying listen.

Jamie Crewe
February-April 2005

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