Jim Post,
Reach Out Together
(independent, 2009)

Jim Post is a veteran folkie who has never gotten the attention he deserves. Over a string of close to 30 albums for a variety of labels, he has created a body of work that will stand favorably next to any of the major figures of the Great Folk Scare.

With Reach Out Together, Post teams with guitarist Jerry Miller from Moby Grape, fiddle giant Randy Sabien and multi-instrumentalist Andy Stell to create a set of the best music he's made recently. The players are superb, Post is in fine voice and the material is first rate.

Over the years, Post has learned how to build a set. The album opens with the uptempo "The Paradise Bar," a song celebrating everybody's local watering hole, where working people can throw away the tensions of a working day, let loose, enjoy themselves and maybe fall in love. "Rag Time Love" is sort of a western swing love song and is followed by a beautiful ballad, "Live by a River."

In an earlier career incarnation, Post wrote and, as Friend and Lover, recorded the top-10 hit, "Reach Out of the Darkness." On this album, he reinterprets the song, turning it into a mashup with Dino Valente's "Let's Get Together." The fusion works; both songs are enhanced by being heard in a new light and a combination of the old becomes new.

As a tribute to his old friend, Steve Goodman, Post sings "City of New Orleans" and closes the album with a version of the old folk and gospel standard, "Twelve Gates to the City."

Post has a clear, ringing and expressive tenor voice that is one of the wonders of folk music. He can hold a note until daybreak and can come up with a vocal glide that will remind you of Hank Williams. The man can sing, he can play and he can write.

Since the early '70s, Jim Post has been a respected cult figure in folk music, with a loyal following but without the mass audience of, say, a James Taylor. It's time that situation ended.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

17 May 2014

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