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Folk/Country — CDs

XA huge range -- from pre-war string bands, to hillbilly music, Bakersfield country, bluegrass, Nashville hits, jug bands, Folkways records, and work from the acoustic underground!

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✨✧ Mason WilliamsMason Williams Phonograph Record/Ear Show/Music By/Handmade/Sharepickers ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
Five really inventive albums from the great Mason Williams – presented here in a single package! First up is the Mason Williams Phonograph Record – amazing stuff, one of those records you see for years, and always pass by – but which yields some real surprises once you dig in! Mason Williams is one of the cooler cats in the Warner Brothers stable of the late 60s – but he's also one of the more subtle, too – a folkie at heart, but an artist with a really great sense of wit, warmth, and variety – very much in the best genre-stepping style of the Burbank scene of the time. The set features, of course, Mason's huge hit "Classical Gas" – an instrumental you'll recognize instantly – but next to that is the sublime "Baroque A Nova", a very cool scatting harmony track that's like some lost late 60s Hugo Montenegro gem – and the camp psych gem "The Prince's Panties" – done with all the wit of late 60s Warner – as is the whole album! Other tracks include "Wanderlove", "Overture", "All The Time", and "She's Gone Away". Next is the Mason Williams Ear Show – a wonderfully weird record from the mighty Mason Williams – a set that's filled with lots of cool little surprises at each new twist and turn – yet which also comes across with a really solid, tuneful feel overall! The album's got a bit of folk, a bit of moog, and a bit of kitsch – but has a way of serving it all up with the kind of warmth and wit we love so much in that unique late 60s Warner Brothers moment – the same sort of vibe you might get from Van Dyke Parks or Harpers Bizarre at their best. Some tunes have Mason Williams singing these beautifully poetic lyrics straight, while others evoke the playful feel of his appearances on the Smothers Brothers Show – but things are really balanced throughout, and give the record that sense of discovery we hardly ever find in albums these days. Titles include a new version of "Baroque A Nova" from Mason's first album, the cool electronic "Generatah Oscillatah" instrumental, the groovy "Last Great Waltz", a "One Minute Commercial", and a wild remake of "Cinderella Rockefella" – plus "Saturday Night At The World", "$13 Stella", and "Whistle Hear". Music By Mason Williams is sublime genius from Mason – one of the most subtle talents in the Warner hip stable at the time – more so than even Jack Nitzsche or Van Dyke Parks! The album is a non-ironic blend of soundtrack styles, country music, and even some pseudo classical numbers – all handled with that youthful sense of nostalgic loss that seems to oddly characterize so much of the best work of the late 60s Warner scene. Titles include "Cowboy Buckaroo", "J Edgar Swoop", "Sunflower", "A Major Thang", "The Brothers Theme", and "Bucko's Memoirs". Handmade is a record that's lovingly handmade by Warner studio genius Mason Williams – an artist who, like so many of Warner's great talents of the late 60s, started out in folk, but soon exploded to great new heights in the recording freedom offered by the label – as you'll hear in this really incredible set! Williams mixes acoustic instrumentation with larger arrangements, offbeat rhythms, and occasional vocals – post-folk, post-sunshine pop, and with these hip undercurrents that were barely understood in the right way at the time – even though Mason himself was enough of a popular figure for some folks. The songwriting is smart, and the instrumentation and arrangements even more so – as you'll hear on a great reworking of his famous "Classical Gas", plus "Jose's Piece", "Find A Reason To Believe", "Saturday Night At The World", "Tomato Vendetta", and "It's Over". Sharepickers is the last album in an amazing run of records that Mason Williams did for Warner Brothers – impossible to define in easy terms, as the whole thing is a mix of acoustic instrumentation, larger arrangements, occasional vocals, and this wonderful interplay between underground artists and top-shelf studio talents on the LA scene of the time! Williams' instrumental chops alone would have made the record great – but he really knocks it out of the park with his overall conception, which fits in that unique late 60s/early 70s Warner space perfectly, next to albums by Van Dyke Parks, Neon Philharmonic, John Hartford, and some of the other genre-breaking talents on the label. Titles include "Train Ride In G", "Poor Little Robin", "Godsend", "Linda Crest Lament", "A Little Bit Of Time", "Largo De Lux", and "Here I Am Again". (Rock, Folk/Country) CD
 
 
 



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