This CD, a real bargain, contains 2 complete albums from around 1970 when Tom - and the music scene generally - had moved on from Folk. On his previous album - 'The Circle Game', Tom's classic, but rather clumsily produced valedictory effort for Electra - he gave notice of the direction he was moving in: new, unknown writers (Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Jackson Browne-and Tom Rush, inter al.)who could match articulate lyrics to articulate music. Here, on CBS Tom found himself with a company who understood how to produce this new music - Electra was always an accoustic label at heart. The results are still a delight to the ear and the mind, though, sadly and inevitably, the world which they inhabit seems either long-gone or only from yesterday: either way, it's beyond recall except as a memory captured so sensitively here. Listen to 'Driving Wheel': a homesick, road song; 'Lullaby' avoids mawkishness and Tom sounds every inch the besotted modern father. But for the most part, to really enjoy this first album, you'd have to have been there the first time round; there are a lot of what would now be regarded as post-Hippy, kaftan songs for sociologists: unfair, but that's how my daughters see it. The second featured album, 'Wrong End of the Rainbow' has aged much better - younger listeners in my house actually speak well of it; it contains 4 songs by Tom - always modest about his talents in this area and generous in his efforts to promote other talents and acknowledge their influence and talent; there's even a song by one Gilbert O'Sullivan, then an unknown, on this. There are many highlights on this album - 'Wrong End of the Rainbow', 'Merrimac County', 'Starlight', 'Rotunda' and 'Jazzman' are my particular favourites. In the mid to late sixties, Tom was a regular visitor to England and I was lucky enough to see him many times - he was an electrifying but totally unpretentious and honestly intimate performer at a time when stage presence and professionalism were held in suspicion by audiences. But there were never many who could sing and deliver a song the way he could. This CD is a celebration of a hugely influencial figure who never really made the name for himself that his talent merited - and that he worked so hard to make for others. It's not a comforting thought but Tom Rush, whom I last saw in his twenties, must be about sixty years old now - it's time he returned.
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