Music Reviews

The singer and the song explored

The Voice of the People: A 20 CD collection of folk song by Topic Records

By Paul Bond, 5 March 1999

The recent release of Topic Records' 20 CD collection The Voice of the People makes available many long-deleted recordings of traditional folk-singers and musicians from the British Isles. Compiled by Dr Reg Hall, himself a fine musician, the collection draws primarily on Topic's own output of some 120 albums, but also on previously unreleased private recordings and other long-unavailable commercial recordings. Coinciding with last year's centenary of the English Folk Dance & Song Society (EFDSS), it marks a highpoint of what is being described as a revival of folk-song in Britain.

Struttin' with Some Barbecue: Louis Armstrong and the growth of jazz

The music of everyday events

Review of Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life by Laurence Bergreen

By Ian Bruce, 25 February 1999

Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life by Laurence Bergreen. Broadway paperback edition, 1998, 564 pages, $16.00


I Married a Communist, by Philip Roth, Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1998, 323 pp., $26.00

By David Walsh, 13 January 1999

"At any rate, all I can do with my story is tell it. And tell it. And tell it."-- My Life as a Man

Experiencing Porgy and Bess

By Barry Grey, 11 June 1998

The opening night performance of Porgy and Bess by the Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit was a deeply emotional, even overwhelming experience.

Arnold Schoenberg on Gershwin

11 June 1998

Arnold Schoenberg wrote this remarkable appreciation in 1938, the year after Gershwin’s death.

A conversation with Dave Van Ronk

By David Walsh, 7 May 1998

The name of Dave Van Ronk is inextricably linked, first and foremost, to the folk music scene in New York City's Greenwich Village in the 1960s. He played with and knew virtually everyone of musical significance in that decade.

Music should not be a selfish thing

An interview with Sleepy LaBeef

By David Walsh, 16 December 1996

Sleepy LaBeef is as gracious in an interview as he is generous in performance. After the show I asked him:

The country boogie-woogie of Sleepy LaBeef

By David Walsh, 16 December 1996

The recent appearance by Sleepy LaBeef at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, Michigan, confirms his status as one of the greatest living performers of American popular music. It is hard to imagine anyone surpassing LaBeef in honesty, enthusiasm and intensity. All this accomplished at the age of 61, after 40 years as a professional musician.