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New Wood

Si Kahn

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Album Review

This is an early effort by this folksinger and political organizer who is based out of Charlotte, NC. Although originally a self-produced venture, the rights were eventually picked up by the Philo label. An added appeal of the first pressings was the handmade booklet, printed on handsome bond paper. It is definitely worth reading through the lyrics; in fact sometimes Kahn's words come across better on paper than when sung, as he has a tendency to sing everything with a kind of toneless, deadpan smirk. The listener might also wish that the accompaniment could be a bit more lively, as the efforts of players such as John McCutcheon are not obtrusive but only add to the uniformity of the sound. Sometimes touches such as vocal choruses seem to perk up a song; at other times it seems as if it was a bit early in the game for Kahn to really know how to put the glow on this type of material. The album retains stature as a classic based more on its high points than the overall listening experience. The best songs on the album, such as the hard-hitting "First Time at a War" and perhaps Kahn's most famous song, "Aragon Mill," prove him to be a marvelous writer of protest songs.

Biography

Born: 23 April 1944 in Boston, MA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

The political balladry of Woody Guthrie, Tom Paxton, and Phil Ochs is reflected in the songs of North Carolina-based singer/songwriter Si Kahn. Although his love songs are nearly as effective, Kahn's greatest strides have come with his lyrical looks at the unemployed, the racially abused, the sexually harassed, and the working-class oppressed. Kahn's songs, including "Go to Work on Monday" and "Aragon Mill," have become labor union anthems. Together with singer/songwriter, John McCutcheon, Kahn has...
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