OLD TOWN SCHOOL OF FOLK MUSIC SONG BOOK: VOL 2 & 3 continues the celebration of 50 years of the venerable Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. The famed institution has had many lives: first as one of the first programs to codify and teach American folk music; second, as the proud alma mater of many '60s and '70s luminaries such as Roger McGuinn, Steve Goodman, and John Prine; and finally, in the '90s and '00s, as a refuge for like-minded folk aficionados who wanted to breathe life into their beloved music.
The SONG BOOK series speaks to the last chapter of the school's existence and sounds less like an academic exercise and more like a group of musicians' collective love poem to the traditions that inspired them. Highlights include Michael Schenkelberg's plaintive version of the chestnut "Lonesome Road," James Hand's countrified "Corrina, Corrina," and Kelly Hogan and Scott Login's gentle version of Ian and Sylvia's "Last Thing on My Mind." The set also foregrounds a few famous offspring: Amy Nelson (Willie's daughter) and Cathy Guthrie (Arlo's daughter) harmonize exquisitely on "Wildwood Flower," and the criminally underrated Amy Allison (Mose's daughter) simply owns "Shenandoah." The package features extensive liner notes about the material and the Old Town School itself.
Uncut (p.106) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he Old Town School Of Folk continues to flourish as flame-keeper of American traditional music."
No Depression (p.100) - "[A]t 42 tracks, every song deathless, there's more than enough spirited performances to justify revisiting."