Part of Your History - The Songs of John Hartford
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Jamie Hartford's Part of Your History: The Songs of John Hartford is an intriguing, slightly off-center release. One can reasonably ask why the younger Hartford chose to re-record versions of his father's songs, since John Hartford's work is available. The thing is, these are good songs, so it's nice to have other versions of them whether it's John Hartford singing them or someone else. It's also interesting that Jamie Hartford chose mostly his father's early work (at least two-thirds of the album), in essence offering his interpretation of his father's legacy. "Back in the Goodle Days" and "In Tall Buildings" from the '70s, then, are of more value than most of the stuff John Hartford recorded after 1980. The acoustic arrangements have an authentic, down-to-earth feel on Part of Your History, and never attempt to copy the originals. "Back in the Goodle Days," for instance, is much lazier, and this works well with Jamie Hartford's gruff vocals (in other places, like "In Tall Buildings," Hartford sounds much closer to his father). The downside to Part of Your History is that Hartford isn't a great singer, and songs like "Holdin'" and "First Girl I Ever Loved" just don't match the vigor of the originals. Even in its failings, however, Part of Your History holds on to the musical values that made John Hartford a musical rebel during the '70s. For that reason, the CD will be appreciated by anyone who remembers great albums like Aereo-Plain and Morning Bugle. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi