Album: Various Artists, The Village (429)

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The Independent Culture

The village in question is Greenwich Village in New York, which in the 1960s hosted one of the pivotal periods in 20th-century culture when it changed from being the haunt of beatniks and jazzbos to the focus of the burgeoning folk-music boom which spawned the hippie counter-culture.

This mostly excellent tribute features a (slightly) younger generation of roots artists, from Rickie Lee Jones, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Lucinda Williams to Cowboy Junkies, John Oates and Los Lobos, performing classic songs of the period, the lion's share naturally coming from the pen of Bob Dylan. Jones's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is a delight, her languid, bluesy delivery shuffling along like a 3am drunk. Better still is The Duhks' take on "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)", which builds from articulate disquiet to indignant disgust; by comparison, Shelby Lynne's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" and Lucinda Williams' "Positively 4th Street" are simply slowed-down kiss-off ballads. Elsewhere, Bruce Hornsby animates John Sebastian's "Darlin' Be Home Soon" enthusiastically, while Cowboy Junkies and Rachael Yamagata unerringly locate the introspective hearts of Tim Buckley's "Once I Was" and Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now", respectively.

Download this It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding); Subterranean Homesick Blues; Once I Was; Both Sides Now