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DOC & MERLE WATSON/Columbus Stockade Blues-Best of the 70s: The good doctor had a special freedom at United Artists in the 70s that he didn't have earlier at Vanguard or later at Sugar Hill. With Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle and Dottie West pulling the commercial train, Watson was free to be the cred act on the label after Country Gazette et al proved too costly. With smarts he picked up hanging around those New York record makers, when UA inherited Watson from Poppy, it set off a nice 7 album run that was one fine Americana statement after another, even if it was known as hillbilly music back then. Culled from those seven albums, this fatly tracked set might as well have been a box set as there was almost no wasted tracks in the bunch. A definitive, delightful set of organic music that'll be inspiring pickers for years to come. Guitar fans ought to check it out.

RICHIE HAVENS/Mixed Bag-Something Else Again: The young and hungry Havens recorded works have been pretty well represented over the years, but they come and go out of print in small batches. This twofer collects his first two albums, pre-Woodstock, pre-million dollar advances and shows what it was to want to break out and really make it. Mixing the familiar with the off beat and quirky, Havens used his unique voice and unusual tunings to grab the ear---and he did it well. A nice rocket to the past when times and tides were vastly different and something on the ball was really respected.

Volume 33/Number 221
June 10 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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