The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46624 Message #956118
Posted By: Fortunato
20-May-03 - 09:16 AM
Thread Name: Review: PHILLY FOLKSONG SOCIETY Reviews
Subject: GORDON BOK, Herrings in the Bay (Mary Garvey)
A Mr. Gordon Dennis Bok of Camden, Maine has a new CD and it's just delightful. Mr. Bok, as you may know, has recorded some thirty albums over the last thirty years and is one of the most honored and successful artists in the folk and "folk" field. (A "folk" song is a composition that is written so much within the tradition that it might as well be as old as it sounds. Other "folk" song writers include Stan Rogers, Cyril Tawney and Ewan MacColl).
This newest CD, "Herrings in the Bay", is a worthy addition to Bok's collection and, in some ways, it is his best work. Backed by his a sterling glee club, The January Men And Then Some, Mr. Bok wends his merry way through an olio of trad and "folk" with a voice so deep that a listener might get the bends between numbers. His guitar is as lyrical and meandering as ever.
Does Bok have some fountain of youth up there in Maine? I swear he sounds exactly like he did forty years ago. Except for that mustache, he looks the same, too. I must confess that I am not as objective as I might be. I have been a friend and admirer of Denny Bok since the early 60's when we played together almost every day (We played, I learned) and I spent a lot of nights sleeping on that red sofa, too tired to drive home to Germantown. But, prejudiced as I may be, I am in good company calling Gordon Bok a great singer and an important figure in the folk music arena.
Perhaps, the most impressive thing about this album is the introduction of a wonderful "folk" writer, Mary Garvey. Three of her songs are on this recording and they are dynamite. Ms Garvey is a resident of Washington State who writes about the folks who earn their bread from fishing and the related industries. Her songs are authentic and truthful and hilarious. "The Cannery Shed" is such a good number that I may claim I wrote it, myself. I am going to play that cut for every female folksinger I know, I will not rest until it is the most sung and recorded song since "Louie, Louie"
Incidentally, the illustrations on the package are from woodcuts whittled by the man, himself. In Maine, "A man without a hobby is a man without cable."
I must add that, while this CD is available at stores and such, it can be purchased through the obligatory web site www.gordonbok.com (I am told that anyone releasing a CD without a web site comes under the scrutiny of Tom Ridge)
Michael Miller for PFS
Reprinted from PFS "Tune Up," by permission