At Town Hall [Bear Family]

At Town Hall [Bear Family]

by Carolyn Hester


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There are few vintage concert recordings that capture the spirit of an artist and the audience as aptly as Carolyn Hester at the Town Hall. Although the infusion of rock & roll would take Hester's chosen brand of traditional folk to the proverbial next level. Unlike many around her, she remains faithful to the core-governing principles of the genre. She never complicated the already involved tales with unnecessary instrumentation or oblique lyrical references, à la the direction that Bob Dylan moved the genre. Along with George Tomsco (acoustic guitar), Hester also accompanies herself with her own intimately lyrical acoustic six-string fretwork. The repertoire is packed with traditional renderings of folk standards such as "Water Is Wide," "Buckeye Jim," and the Scottish "Jute Mill Song." There are also a fair number of modernized classics, including "Come on In," "High Flying Bird," and a languidly picked reading of the Gershwin pop standard "Summertime." Perhaps the most noteworthy cover is an adaptation of Walt Whitman's "Captain, My Captain," which conjures the memories of Jawaharlal Nehru, John F. Kennedy, and Winston Churchill. Her slight Texan drawl contrasts her clear, chiming vocals. Undoubtedly the simple recording procedures and productions of Norman Petty likewise have a great deal to do with the enveloping atmosphere that not only accurately reproduces the stage performers, but also captures the enthusiastic audience. The audience is particularly vocal and participatory on "Sing Hallelujah" as the hosannas ring with overwhelming, if not slightly intimidating solidarity. When this title was issued on CD in 1990 by the German Bear Family label, the contents of her two volumes of Town Hall material were augmented with an additional four sides from a different performance from the mid-'60s with Stanley Lark on acoustic upright bass.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/27/1994
Label: Bear Family
UPC: 4000127155207
catalogNumber: 15520
Rank: 169391


  1. Come on Back
  2. Come on In
  3. 2:10 Train
  4. Captain, My Captain
  5. Water Is Wide
  6. Carry It On
  7. High Flying Bird
  8. Three Young Men
  9. Outward Bound
  10. The Weaving Song
  11. Sing Hallelujah
  12. That's My Song
  13. Summertime
  14. It Takes So Long
  15. Ain't That Rain
  16. Buckeyed Jim
  17. Will You Send Your Love?
  18. Jute Mill Song
  19. What's That I Hear?
  20. Where Did My Little Boy Go?
  21. Sidewalk City
  22. I Saw Her
  23. The Bad Girl
  24. Playboys and Playgirls

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