Saturday, July 28, 2007

Looking back with Vanguard Visionaries

The fine folks over at Vanguard Records have dug through their vaults to put together a collection of albums from influential artists which they've titled Vanguard Visionaries. Every album contains ten defining songs from each artist, almost a greatest hits album, but with these artists a greatest hits album would have to be something like three discs, not one. Here are three of the thirty four artists they are offering:

It would be difficult to talk about the regeneration of traditional Celtic music in the United States without The Clancy Brothers coming up. Coming straight over to New York City from the Emerald Isle in the 1950's, the Clancy brothers (Tom, Pat and Liam) along with friend Tommy Makem (the group was originally billed as The Clancy Brothers with Tommy Makem) originally had dreams of becoming actors and first performed at fundraisers for a local theater. An appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1961 sealed their fate as musical troubadours.

The Clancy Brothers - Finnegan's Wake : Vanguard Visionaries

Flogging Molly - If I Ever Leave This World Alive : Drunken Lullabies


Although only together for four years before being forced to disband (they later re-formed with various personnel), The Weavers are still incredibly well known as well as immensely influential in bringing American folk music and popular music together. Although its members were all politically active before forming the band, because of the ugly McCarthy years the music they played was as innocuous as possible, which allows one to listen to it now and enjoy it just as much as when it was first played in the 50's. The Weavers' music helped set the stage for later artists such as Bob Dylan and Don McLean.

The Weavers - The Crawdad Song : Vanguard Visionaries

Bob Dylan - Shelter From the Storm : Blood on the Tracks


This last artist might be one that you might not recognize, but you should if you consider yourself a fan of the Blues. Buddy Guy was a key musician in the development of the Chicago blues sound but because his label Chess Records didn't appreciate his raw live sound, he was often forced to work as a session guitarist for other acts for many years before getting his due. When Eric Clapton names you his favorite blues axeman though, you know that you did something right. Besides Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan both cited Guy as a major influence. Listen to his absolutely rocking version of Knock On Wood below to get a taste of Buddy.

Buddy Guy - Knock On Wood : Vanguard Visionaries

Eric Clapton - Hoodoo Man (live) : 24 Nights

You can get a chance to win all 34 titles in their Vanguard Visionaries series (including the 3 above) by heading to their website here to enter.

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