Donnerstag, 11. März 2021

Bonnie Dobson - At Folk City (1962)

For Bonnie Dobson, protest singing must have run deep in her veins. The Toronto-born singer-songwriter was the daughter of a trade unionist who would send her to socialist camps when she was barely into her early teens. "As a teenager I went off to summer camp in Quebec, and also in Ontario," she told Randy Jackson at "We used to have people like Pete Seeger and Leon Bibb come up and give concerts on the weekends and that's when I really got into it and started playing the guitar and got really keen, really interested."

While pursuing an English degree at the University of Toronto and when her folk music was nothing more than a hobby, she was offered a chance to tour the U.S. with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. That 1960 summer tour stretched out for a couple of years, and by 1960 Dobson, who never did make it back to complete her degree, ended up in Greenwich Village at the legendary Gerdes Folk City to record a live set of songs for the Prestige label. Most of At Folk City featured Dobson's sober, high-pitched warble, and most probably drew comparisons to the great Joan Baez at the time. And like the bulk of Dobson's records, At Folk City was hardly a million-seller. But tacked on at the end of side two was a song that would become a touchstone for hippies and peaceniks during those turbulent years at the close of the 1960s.

The anti-nuke 'Morning Dew' chronicled the chilling prospects of total nuclear annihilation just as the U.S.-Soviet arms race was really starting to escalate in earnest. Dobson had drawn inspiration several years earlier back home in Canada after seeing Stanley Kramer's post-apocalyptic expose. "I saw a film called On the Beach and it made a tremendous impression on me," she recalled, "particularly at that time because everybody was very worried about the bomb and whether we were going to get through the next ten years." 'Morning Dew' is a supremely haunting piece of music, Dobson's vocals especially so, as she sings of the survivors after a nuclear attack ("Oh, where have all the people gone? / Won't you tell me where have all the people gone?").

This live album is very much a relic of its age: reverently interpreted folk songs with a high, clear voice, conscientiously chosen to represent numerous regions and styles. So you get a French song, Australian Christmas carols (no joke that), anti-nuclear protest ("Two Carols for a Nuclear Age"), an "Irish Exile Song," and more. Certainly it's honorably intentioned and listenable, but it's not that inspiring. The notable exception is Dobson's self-penned "Morning Dew," her moving and melodic song about the damage of nuclear holocaust, which makes its first appearance on record here.


A1 Once My True Love
A2 Love Henry
A3 Irish Exile Song
A4 Shule Aroon
A5 Bonnie's Blues
B1 Peter Amberley
B2 C'est L'Aviron
B3 The Holly Bears A Berry
B4 Two Carols For A Nuclear Age
B5 Morning Dew

(192 kbps, cover art included)

6 Kommentare:

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Moahaha hat gesagt…

I should pop by more often and show some gratitude for all your unique shares. But thanks for this beautiful album (and many others)!

zero hat gesagt…

Thanks for your nice feedback, Moahaha!

I added the new blackwalls blog to my blog list. Stay safe!

0 hat gesagt…

thanks, added you too.

Bob Mac hat gesagt…

Thanks for this one.

zero hat gesagt…

That´s great, thanks for adding!

And thanks to Bob, always welcome!

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