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I Know

John Gorka

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Album Review

By the time he recorded his debut album I Know, John Gorka was already a seasoned veteran and it showed. With excellent harmony vocals from Shawn Colvin and Lucy Kaplansky, who also cut their teeth on the New York City folk circuit, John Gorka recorded an album of original songs that had been road-tested and audience approved. The chorus of nearly every song is instantly memorable, and the simple, acoustic arrangements help bring out his powerful voice. The most impressive feature of this debut is the ability of Gorka to move easily from light-hearted humorous songs ("Winter Cows," "Like My Watch") to serious songs about the complexities of relationships ("Love Is Our Cross to Bear"). The versatility in his songwriting and the expressiveness of his warm baritone would become his trademarks, and John Gorka has become a leader of the genre dubbed "contemporary folk." This stunning debut also established Gorka songs in the folk canon, as his inspirational song "Branching Out" is often sung in elementary schools.

Customer Reviews

I Know

This was my introduction to John Gorka and it made me an immediate fan. His lyrics are smart and often deep, but his melodies are catchy. Back-up vocals by Shawn Colvin are an added plus. My favorite on this disk is "Branching Out"—a great song on many levels that was covered on a children's CD by Priscilla Herdman. If you like singer/songwriters, you will love this disk.

A most beautiful album and some extraordinary song writing.

This has been John Gorka's best album, and that is a lot to say. This is a beautiful jewel. "I Saw a Stranger with Your Hair" is extraordinary, and so are "Branching Out" and "Love is Our Cross to Bear". Listening to this album in dim light, with a warm cup of tea, with the stereo (or computer) lights glowing dimly by the side, and hopefully with the one you love by your side is a fine, fine experience. And if alone, John Gorka sings to you as well --perhaps best than everyone. A real treat in 1987 and now. Enjoy!

One of Gorka's Finest...

Some say this is John's best work ever. As a fan that owns everything John has released, it is too hard to declare this album better than his others. Having said that, there are so many classic cuts on here...try Branchin' Out, I Know, Downtown Tonight, Down in the Milltown. Every tune here is a gem to be appreciated!


Born: 1958 in Edison, NJ

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer/songwriter famed for his rich, expressive baritone, New Jersey native John Gorka was one of the leading lights of the new folk movement. Gorka began his career while attending college in Pennsylvania in the early '80s, appearing at open-mike nights at a local coffeehouse before eventually forming his own group, the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band. Soon he hit the road, performing up and down the Eastern Seaboard before finally settling in Texas and winning the Kerrville Folk Festival's prestigious...
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