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Cordelia's Dad

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Album Review

The first album by Northampton, MA's Cordelia's Dad makes plain the trio's roots in the western Massachusetts punk scene. Although nearly all of the 13 songs are traditional American folk songs (the exception, "My Frozen Hedgehog," is by guitarist Tom King, based on a traditional folk motif), the guitar-bass-drums power trio format, complete with feedback and often anguished vocals by bassist Tim Eriksen, is at heart not that different from that of fellow Northampton residents Dinosaur Jr. Surely there's a post-punk sense of desperation to the death song standard "Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still," one of the album's highest points. Similarly, the punky version of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" owes little to the other best-known pop-related cover by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The squealy, lo-fi production is not always to the songs' benefit — producer Dave Schramm would do a much better job with the folk and rock balance on the follow-up, How Can I Sleep? — but Cordelia's Dad is an intriguing and often excellent musical hybrid akin to a post-punk American version of early Fairport Convention.

Customer Reviews

Can't comment on the whole album, but I really like 1 song.

I stumbled across this version of Scarborough Fair quite by accident. Puts a really great twist on the song. Definitely will stay on my favorites play list for a while. Sorry that I can't comment further on the remaining album, but to love the one track!

What a (Fabulous) Racket

The first Cordelia's Dad album is really quite wonderful - a handful of mostly traditional American and British folk songs battered into pieces and lovingly reconstituted by some kids from Northampton, MA. As unique a noise as you'll come across. Highlights: "Will the Circle...," "Her Bright Smile...," and "Johnny Has Gone..." True folk music (although the purists at Passim would strangle you with their hemp wristbands if you told them so).


Formed: 1987

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Although Cordelia's Dad started as a standard punk-influenced guitar-bass-drums rock band, their repertoire from the beginning has consisted entirely of traditional American folk tunes. Although the electric instrumentation became less pronounced in their music after their first few albums, Cordelia's Dad have remained known for both their intensity and playfulness. This element is particularly evident on-stage, where lead singer Tim Eriksen will spin humorous stream-of-consciousness stories between...
Full Bio