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CAROL KLEYN/Love Has Made Me Stronger: The label that brought you Joanna Newsome digs deep into the freak folk bag for this mostly charming 35 year old anomaly of a hippie/art chick and her harp doing stuff that was right for the just before disco times. Not your typical hippie chick with a harp, Kleyn toured with both the Allman Brothers and Bert Jansch and entertained at private parties for Led Zep, but still had to release her debut album on her own label. A couple of numbers are as painful to listen to as any 70s hippie stuff can be, but for the most part, whether hitting her harp or keyboards, this Renaissance Faire doyenne really knew how to spread the pixie dust and appeal to the hippie in everyone.

AZITA/Disturbing the Air: Chicago mainstay no waver goes the introspective route in a way that will certainly remind of a new version of old Leonard Cohen. Left leaning for even the left leaning, Azita gives her long time fans something slightly different from her norm but right up their alley nonetheless. Certainly not the kind of act that's for everyone, nor does she try to be, Azita's international dour outlook brings a kind of nu cabaret to the fore with this set of songs that knows how to chart it's own course.

MEG BAIRD/Seasons on Earth: Very much a folkie's folkie, Baird is right out of the classic mold with a voice that matches the vibe step for step. Singing like an old soul, Baird sweeps away artifice and delivers the real goods that can't help but touch you. Her first solo album in a while, she's been further honing her chops in various projects along the way, and there's no dust on her no matter how deep she digs into the past. Sets like this bring the real folk fan s out of the woodwork.

101 THINGS TO DO IN BONGOLIA/various: Take the vibe of the bongo record craze of 40 years ago (that's right the one in the early 70s), add the attitude of Sub Pop when it was a singles only label being too cool for school and drop it just past the fork in the road where world beat became multi culti and you know what's going on with this various artist set that sums up the singles output of the last year or so for this label. At times groovy, at times out there, it's certainly not your father's world beat and young multi culti ears might not even notice it is a world beat flavored collection. Fun stuff that takes you away from the norm for a while.

Volume 34/Number 275
August 4, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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