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A comprehensive overview of a classic label,
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This review is from: Make It Your Sound, Make It Your Scene (Audio CD)
Vanguard Records was one of those rare labels in the sixties and early seventies, a bit like Elektra, where you could be pretty sure to like almost anything they released - even if you did not know the artist before listening. Joan Baez was probably their best known singer at that time, and she is featured here, of course, as is her sister Mimi Farina. Vanguard didn't have a huge amount of hit singles in the UK, more an album label, but there are a good sprinkling of well known tracks to be found here and plenty of classics and undiscovered gems.
Ace Records look after Vanguard's interests in the UK and this comprehensive overview of the label was produced by them to their usual very high standards. The set was compiled and comprehensively annotated by John Crosby and has an introduction by Samuel Charters - a name that will be familiar to most people with a Vanguard record in their collection!
There are 83 tracks across 4 CDs in this set and it will appeal to anyone who likes their sixties music with a bit of an edge. Kicking off with Skip James' I'm So Glad - as covered later by Cream - Vanguard and Ace take us on a musical journey from the Blues through Folk and on to Rock with many musical shades and the edges blurred on the way.
An excellent collection on many levels this set now serves to remind us just how important a label Vanguard was in its heyday. A triumph of quality against commercialism the music featured here still reaches out to us today - just try not singing along to Country Joe and the Fish! There was plenty of music on this collection that I was unfamiliar with, along with much I already own; I am pleased to have now caught up with some great music I might have otherwise missed.