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Captured Alive

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Album Review

Looking at the back cover photo, your first thought might be something like "Oh, good! Aging hippies with a synthesizer and a mandolin!" Look inside and you might think "Hey, even better! One of them has a harmonica!" But don't be afraid. These guys actually have a fairly keen sense of humor and sing surprisingly tight harmonies, and they write original songs that you'd swear were old traditional ballads and sea shanties. If you like Great Big Sea, the Fables, and the Paperboys, chances are good you'll get a big kick out of Tanglefoot. Hearing them in a live setting is a good way to introduce yourselves to their sound, and this CD is the most economical way to do that. It opens with the bracing "Secord's Warning," a charming little piece of Canadian historical jingoism that works well because it's delivered with such brash good humor. "Seven a Side" and the hilarious "There's a Bit of That Goes On" are fine numbers as well, and "Awkward Donald" is a sweet and charming tale of a hopeless young man who finds true love with a patient and determined woman. Other moments are of more mixed quality: "Loyal Americans" is a good song poorly sung, and "Keppel Township Love Song" is a bit overwrought. But there's more than enough here to convince most lovers of contemporary folk music to go exploring in the Tanglefoot catalog.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

When Tanglefoot formed in the early '80s, the group bore little resemblance to the version that audiences see now. Schoolteachers Joe Grant, Bob Wagar, and Tim Rowat used to wear period costumes as they sang old traditional standards and their audiences were usually their students. The theatrical presentation was a way for them to bring Canadian history alive for the kids, whose knowledge of historical events was weighted heavily on America's past rather than their own country's. The students could...
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Captured Alive, Tanglefoot
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