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Review: Adam Miller: Radio's Taking Our Songs Away

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Joe Offer 10 Mar 17 - 04:03 AM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 17 - 04:21 AM
Joe Offer 10 Mar 17 - 04:38 AM
Joe Offer 11 Mar 17 - 07:32 PM
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Subject: Review: Adam Miller:Radio's Taking Our Songs Away
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 17 - 04:03 AM

I'll take my time posting a review of this album because I don't have time right now. I'll give you basic information and a track listing to get you started.

The Radio's Taking Our Songs Away
Adam Miller
PO Box 951, Drain, Oregon 97435
(650)804-2049
http://www.folksinging.org/
Available through CDBaby and the usual MP3 outlets.

1. The Radio's Taking Our Songs Away (Frank Hamilton & Adam Miller)
2. Tell Old Bill
3. Take Your Time (Peter Mundey)
4. Zebra Dun
5. The Rivers of Oregon (Adam Miller)
6. By the Dry Cardrona (J. Baxter / J. McNeish)
7. Summer Wages (Ian Tyson)
8. Bury Me in My Overalls (Malvina Reynolds)
9. The Two Sisters
10. Billy Venero
11. Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn
12. Damyankee Lad (Jimmie Driftwood)
13. Admiral Benbow
14. I Wish I Had the Shepherd's Lamb
15. Billy in the Low Land
16. Harry Herman (Albert Baily)
17. Gentle Annie (Stephen Foster)
18. Cowboy's Barbara Allen
19. Times a-Gettin' Hard (Lee Hays)


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Subject: RE: Review: Adam Miller: Radio's Taking Our Songs Away
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 17 - 04:21 AM

Adam Miller is about the hardest-working folksinger I've ever come across. He spends much of his time doing performances in schools, but he does all sorts of other performances and he's available for house concerts. He has recorded a good number of albums, and he worked with pianist George Winston to publish some of Sam Hinton's recordings. He's a darn good song researcher, and he keeps digging up great songs. He claims to have a repertoire of over 5,000 songs, and I believe him. It's hard to stump him.

He has a good voice, and he does interesting and innovative arrangements of the songs he records. I don't always like his arrangements ("Tell Old Bill" doesn't quite work for me on this recording), but he keeps at it and isn't afraid to try something new. I really like his interpretation of almost every song on this CD. Most of the songs Adam sings are familiar American folk songs, and that's what I like best about him. He sees treasure in American folk songs, and he's eager to preserve that treasure and share it wherever he can. His instrument of choice is the Autoharp, and he plays it very well. Not bad at guitar work, either.

Adam was good the last time I saw him in a house concert, but he seemed just a bit too polished and practiced. It felt like he was putting on a well-practiced performance and not quite connecting with the audience. Not so on this CD. His performances are relaxed and very "real," and I felt he was right here in the room with me.

Good job, Adam!


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Subject: RE: Review: Adam Miller: Radio's Taking Our Songs Away
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Mar 17 - 04:38 AM

I'll use this space for more comments on the songs. But not tonight. It's almost 3 AM.


1. The Radio's Taking Our Songs Away (Frank Hamilton & Adam Miller)

2. Tell Old Bill

3. Take Your Time (Peter Mundey)

4. Zebra Dun

5. The Rivers of Oregon (new lyrics by Adam Miller)
    "Down by the Umpqua"? Well, I guess if anybody was going to do it, it would be a guy from Drain, Oregon.
6. By the Dry Cardrona (James K. Baxter / J. McNeish)

7. Summer Wages (Ian Tyson)

8. Bury Me in My Overalls (Malvina Reynolds)

9. The Two Sisters

10. Billy Venero

11. Young Man Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn

12. Damyankee Lad (Jimmie Driftwood)

13. Admiral Benbow

14. I Wish I Had the Shepherd's Lamb

15. Billy in the Low Land

16. Harry Herman (Albert Baily)

17. Gentle Annie (Stephen Foster)

18. Cowboy's Barbara Allen
    What Art Thieme said on Mudcat about this version: In l962 a friend and I were heading west. Stopped in a bar in Cheyenne, Wyo where we met Del Bray, an older gent who had been a cowboy. He got a 6-pack (I was too young to drink legally then) and we went up to his room in his hotel and we swapped some songs. Mostly he knew Country songs---Hank Williams etc. I asked if he knew any older songs or ballads & he sang me a version of "B. Allen" that I scribbled down on the back of the proverbial envelope. It was a cowboy version of the song. Adam's version sounds very much like Art's.
19. Times a-Gettin' Hard (Lee Hays)


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Subject: RE: Review: Adam Miller: Radio's Taking Our Songs Away
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 07:32 PM

I guess the thing I like best about Adam, is that he takes the time to explore American music, and there's a lot of good stuff in the American compendium. I'm not meaning to be nationalistic, but I think that many American folkies have a modicum of self-hate, and seem to think that British songs are more valuable than the American ones.

It's all good, folks, and Adam proves that.
-Joe-


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