With Volume 2 of his Great American Songwriter Series, Eric Andersen continues to mine the repertoire of folk icons from the 1960s Greenwich Village scene. Once again producer/arranger Robert Aaron (of Wycelf Jean fame) has given the tracks a warm, shimmering sound.
Andersen has chosen from a few of the same luminaries, notably Fred Neil and Phil Ochs, that appeared on the first volume, but most of these writers, including Andersen’s mentor Tom Paxton (“Ramblin’ Boy”), Tim Buckley (“Once I Was”), Tom Rush (“On The Road Again”) and Happy Traum (“Golden Bird”), weren’t represented on the initial disc. A more atypical choice is Lou Reed’s evocative and bittersweet “Pale Blue Eyes”.
Andersen, whose voice has become deeper and more wistful with time, doesn’t simply replicate the original arrangements, but rather presents them in a very modern setting, one which reaffirms their timelessness. Unlike its predecessor, Waves features less topical material but more road songs, such as a new version of Anderson’s own “Today Is The Highway” and an obscure live version of his “Thirsty Boots” that features Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Arlo Guthrie. Richard Farina’s “Bold Marauder” and Bob Dylan’s “John Brown” gain new relevance in today’s political climate.
As Andersen implies in “Hymn Of Waves”, the sole new original, these songs originally created waves, and the ripple effects are still with us.