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Malvina Reynolds

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Album Review

This reissue of Malvina Reynolds' self-titled 1971 album for the Century City label adds a dozen bonus tracks of non-album singles, previously unreleased recordings, and alternate takes. Reynolds was a remarkable lady — 71-years-old at the time this album was released, and full of the passion and sense of outrage that supposedly drains out of people as they get older. Her protest songs attack racism, Governor Ronald Reagan, pollution, war, the Rand Corporation, and sundry injustices large and small. She even wrote hit songs now and then, like "Little Boxes" (not included) and "Morningtown Ride." Her politics and songwriting made her an accidental hipster, and members of the Byrds, the Dillards, and the Sunshine Company backed her on many of the cuts here. Her quavering voice only adds to the appeal and mystique of the granny who cared enough about current events to pick up a guitar and have her say. She was also surprisingly contemporary sounding on record; these aren't spartan folk recordings for musicologists, but folk-country-rock performances of songs that pull no punches. Omni obtained the original master tapes from Reynolds' daughter for the production of this CD.


Born: 1900 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

A topical songwriter who came to prominence in the '60s when she was at an age at which most people retire, Malvina Reynolds is best known as the author of the satirical song "Little Boxes," which was Pete Seeger's only pop singles hit in 1964. She also wrote "What Have They Done to the Rain," a hit for the Searchers in 1965. Her songs also have been covered by Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and others. Reynolds herself recorded for Columbia (Malvina Reynolds Sings the Truth), Folkways...
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