Joel Rafael's second album of Woody Guthrie songs is more ambitious than his first, 2003's Woodeye, and turns to more obscure material. On Woodeye, Rafael applied his husky voice (perhaps closer to Ramblin' Jack Elliott than to Guthrie) and folk/country band arrangements to some of Guthrie's more familiar songs, though he also dug up some rare stuff and even provided a musical setting to an unpublished Guthrie lyric, "Dance a Little Longer." He goes further into the arcane here, with good results. Again, there are Guthrie songs that are relatively little known, such as "Stepstone" (on which guests Jackson Browne, Jimmy LaFave, and Arlo Guthrie add vocals), "Two Good Men" (part of Guthrie's song cycle about the executed anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti), "Circle of Truth," and "Heaven My Home." And, due to the success of "Dance a Little Longer," Rafael has been given some more Guthrie lyrics to musicalize, resulting in the premieres of "Ramblin' Reckless Hero," "Dance Around My Atom Fire," "Your Sandal String," and "Love Thyself." Rafael even covers one of the Billy Bragg-composed Guthrie songs from Mermaid Avenue, "Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key." (He also interpolates one of his own originals, "Sierra Blanca Massacre," which is on the same theme as Guthrie's "Deportee.") There may be no "This Land Is Your Land," but Rafael succeeds in a goal the Guthrie estate has been pushing since the late '90s, to demonstrate that there is much more to Guthrie than the songs everybody knows. In some cases, the new songs, as performed by Bragg and Wilco, by the German singer Wenzel, or others, have been stylistically diverse. Rafael is very much in the Guthrie folk tradition, however. He comes up with simple, folkish melodies and sings the songs in a voice that almost sounds like Guthrie, just a Guthrie people haven't heard before.
Performance CreditsJoel Rafael Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Arlo Guthrie Vocals,Guest Appearance
Jackson Browne Vocals,Guest Appearance
Van Dyke Parks Piano,Accordion,Guest Appearance
Jennifer Warnes Vocals,Guest Appearance
Burns Sisters Vocals,Guest Appearance
Carl Johnson Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Jimmy LaFave Vocals,Guest Appearance
Mauricio-Fritz Lewak Percussion,Drums,Guest Appearance
Matt Cartsonis Banjo,Slide Guitar,Mandola,Guest Appearance
Jamaica Rafael Violin,Vocals
Will Landin Bass,Guest Appearance
Ruslan Biryukov Cello
Technical CreditsWoody Guthrie Composer
Billy Bragg Composer
Jennifer Warnes Vocal Arrangements
Paul Dieter Engineer
Abraham Guthrie Engineer
Bill Lane Engineer
Rich de Paolo Engineer
Guy Logsdon Liner Notes
Donald Miller Executive Producer
Joel Rafael Composer,Producer,Engineer,Executive Producer,Audio Production
Jamaica Rafael String Arrangements
Cree Clover Miller Executive Producer,Management
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Woodyboye: Songs of Woody Guthrie and Tales Worth Telling, Vol. 2 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Once I was actually able to find this CD (Barnes & Noble has Joel's name spelled incorrectly as Rafel - so it's almost impossible for any staff member to locate the CD - FYI Barnes & Noble - it's RAFAEL!!), I have enjoyed the album thoroughly. A must have for any fan of acoustic music.
Joel Raphael Band is one of the best groups out there- dedicated to carrying on the tradition of Woody Guthrie. Their own songs are remarkable for their composition and lyrical message. Their previous albums are also top notch. If you happen to read this review and B & N is still misspelling Joel's name- send them an e-mail or give them a holler.