There Was A Time
APR CD 1067
Appleseed Recodings is dedicated to exploring the roots and branches of folk and world music, and sowing the seeds of social justice through music. These are the words we find in every release by this label, and it is just obvious and natural that veteran singer songwriter Tom Pacheco releases a CD with Appleseed records.
Pacheco started his career in the 60's, in the US., but never really received more than a few lines in the history of American folk. He was "just" another new Dylan roaming the streets of Greenwich Village, getting a record deal here and there and disappearing for long periods and then reappearing again. He wandered to Europe and became a household name in Ireland, and a maker of hits and Top 10 CD's in Scandinavia. Many of his CD's are only available from U.K. small labels, or from even harder to find Scandinavian labels.
Mercury Records tried to re-launch his American career in the United States without success. So it is good to see that a small label is releasing another CD, in which America will be able to hear the mastership of one of its finest folk singer-songwriters; a songwriter of 2,500 songs, a collaborator of the Band, covered by Jefferson Airplane, and one of the longest careers in folk history.
I cannot tell you exactly how many records Pacheco has released, but I think that his peak is the two double sets Bare Bones Vol. 1 and 2 (on the UK The Road Goes On Forever label), in which he sings with his guitar 64 songs recorded in a minimum time, directly into a microphone without editing or overdubbing. He has also collaborated with Steinar Albrigtsen for two very successful CD's, and has countless others you may want to look for on the web or in used CD stores.
There was a Time is a rather acoustic project, with very little drums, more folky than many of his more folk-rock oriented CD's. The CD shows a strong influence of Irish songwriters, like Luka Bloom, Christy Moore, Jimmy Macarthy and others, but his Dylanesque voice still keeps his music clearly in American folk territory. His social comments have changed from the "power to the people" of the hippies to the social discrepancies of globalization. The wars are not in Vietnam these days but in New York, and the heroes are everyday people from Flight 93 on September 11. There is a very strong feeling of the mess in which the world is today, and that our hopes for a better future have to change drastically.
Pacheco can very well stand in a line of great folk singers, ranging from Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Pete Seger, and Bob Dylan. There is nothing that makes him less relevant or important than them, except the demands of capitalist culture. Artistically he ranks very high, and with a similar career and fate as the great Eric Andersen.
Europe has already discovered and rediscovered the greatness of Tom Pacheco. There Was A Time is a lyrical and touching project and Pacheco is at his best. It's a great place for the American audience to start listening to one of its best hidden treasures.