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Down on the River

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Album Review

John Hartford's Down on the River is an old-timey tribute to the Mississippi River and its steamboats, casinos and saloons, filled with campy salutes to a forgotten lifestyles, as well as surprisingly affectionate paens to a lost era. Hartford's approach may be too kitschy for some — after all, there are several songs driven by calliope — yet its a thoroughly entertaining album for listeners that share his obsessions, or at least his fondness for fine, old-timey banjo.

Biography

Born: 30 December 1937 in New York, NY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

John Hartford remains best known for the country-pop standard "Gentle on My Mind," a major hit for Glen Campbell and subsequently covered by vocalists ranging from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin. The song remains among the most often recorded in the history of popular music, its copyright netting Hartford well over a hundred thousand dollars annually for many years. But there was more to Hartford than that curious mix of highly literary folk music and MOR romantic nostalgia, told from the perspective...
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Down on the River, John Hartford
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