Small is beautiful
A few months ago I came across the web-site of Woodstock Records. Of course, I was interested in what's up with such a name.
Well, folks, this is the home of some very special recordings. I've got 4 CDs from their very small catalogue and all of these CDs are gems of a special kind.
Let's begin with the two CDs by the late Rick Danko. Danko? Yep, the real Rick Danko who played in The Band. He passed away last December and I still have to come to grips with this loss.
Rick Danko was one of the finest American musicians, and by "American" I mean that he new all of the roots of music which are there to listen to if one cares to listen to them in the first place.
Rick Danko contributes two CDs to the Woodstock Records catalogue, and both are exceptional to say the least. They are live recordings and Danko seems to feel extremely well in these circumstances. "In Concert", recorded in 1997, presents Danko in the best of all shapes. He has a band with him who plays well-grounded American sounds.
"Live on Breeze Hill" is the other live record, and again, Rick Danko sounds like the historian of American music with a most modern background of arrangements. No, no synthesizers or other high-tech equipment, just plain instruments, some electrically enhanced, but all kept in balanced by the sound engineer. "Live on Breeze Hill" is as down-to-earth as music can get. This is magical stuff.
The third CD I received is by Danko's "playmate" of old The Band times: Levon Helm and the Crowmatix. What can I say? Again, this live recording presents Levon Helm in the best of all circumstances: playing live with a dedicated band. He, too, offers music which we would have expected from The Band if it was still here.
Great three CDs which arrived on these shores and I recommend them whole-heartedly.
The fourth one, I received is an ear-opener of the special kind. The name of the artist is Kevin Doherty and the name of the CD is "Strange weather" (1999). Well, if you're into folk-rock of the highest quality, Kevin Doherty offers just that.
It's a shame that this guy doesn't have a record deal which would enable him to get his music promoted all over the world. Woodstock Records does what it can, but in the context of globalized music business, they can't compete with the big players, of course.
Kevin Doherty's "Strange weather" is as strange as the title suggests. You'll never be the same afterwards, particularly not when your weather was perfectly "normal".