Anne Price,
Very Early Anne
(independent, 2009)

What we have here is an exercise in nostalgia. Anne Price discovered some tapes of her performances at folk gatherings at Hunter College in 1965 and '66, when she was a student there. Obviously, they constitute a piece of her development as an artist, but for us, the listening audience, they constitute a trip back in time, back to every night you ever spent in a coffee house, bar or house concert, listening to an earnest, not ready for prime time, guitar-playing soprano run through the standard folk repertoire.

It was a time when singers didn't have to be singer-songwriters, when they built their sets out of traditional tunes, a touch of bluegrass and songs composed by the folk giants of the day, such as Bob Dylan and, especially, Tom Paxton. A look at Price's set list tells you where she was at the time: "Last Thing on my Mind," "Bottle of Wine," "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound," "Daddy, You Been on My Mind," "Mister Tambourine Man," "Wayfaring Stranger" -- they're all here, and they all sound exactly like you think they will: earnest, serious, with just a girl and her guitar, playing often in the same key, with only occasional backup from a second guitar and a harmony vocal that is just as rough and unpolished as the lead.

It's interesting as a nostalgia piece, but unless you're either a great fan of the early '60s folk songbook or Anne Price, you probably won't play it more than once.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

5 December 2009

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