Based on many of the songs on this CD it's tempting to write Uncle Dave off as an early Dylan imitator. But there seems to be more here than that. The vocals, guitar work and harmonica playing are decidedly reminiscent of very early Dylan, complete with sometimes ear-splitting harmonica breaks. His Hard Times in Baltimore Town is taken directly from Dylan's Hard Times in New York Town from 1961. The wit is not as incisive as Dylan's but it is a worthy effort nonetheless. The same can be said for Talkin' Orange Sunshine Explosion Blues, Uncle Dave's take on the war on terrorism. There are three other original songs on the CD, all pretty solid and indicative of a promising young songwriter.
The rest of the album features four traditional songs and a Woody Guthrie song, The 1913 Massacre (mistakenly credited as traditional). Uncle Dave does a good job on all of them. Mixing-wise the harmonica is a little loud at times but Dave's guitar and vocals are well suited to the material. He's a capable interpreter of traditional songs and there can never be too many of those in the world. The copy I received was without CD booklet (assuming there was one) and there is precious little biographical information on Uncle Dave's web site, so I don't know how old he is exactly but the photos seem to indicate not very. It's good to see a young artist delving into this type of material and he could do worse than to take the young Bob Dylan as an example to follow. Although he was doing mostly original songs by the time he started recording, Dylan's early repertoire was made up of traditional songs and he was quite good interpreting them.
This is a very basic style of presentation but there's nothing wrong with that. It just may not be what folks are used to these days. If you like traditional folk songs and preferred early Dylan to later, then you find this album as entertaining as I did.
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