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Sunday, March 12, 2017

Julie Felix - First, Second And Third-The Complete Three Decca LPs (1964-66 us, tremendous acoustic folk, 2008 double disc edition)

Although California-born, Julie Felix found herself in Britain smack dab in the middle of the folk revival in the mid-'60s, and with her serviceable voice and exotic good looks, she was soon a poster girl for the U.K. scene itself, releasing an album a year for Decca Records between 1964 and 1966, all three of which are collected here in this two-disc set. Felix wasn't Joan Baez or Judy Collins, however tempting it might be to make those comparisons, and her albums sound a bit like live sets tracked in the studio, with little embellishment, giving them at times a kind of a those-were-the-days documentary feel. Felix's faintly husky voice sounds fine but gets a bit generic, and the same could be said of her guitar playing, and she sounded pretty much like a thousand other female folk singers on the scene at the time trying their hand at "The Riddle Song."

But what Felix did have was a fine ear for recognizing a good contemporary folk song, and these three LPs are full of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Ian Tyson, Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Donovan, and Bert Jansch, among others, as well as several selections from the Woody Guthrie songbook. Nothing here really sets the world on fire, but Felix rises well above the ordinary on versions of Jansch's "Needle of Death," Tyson's "Someday Soon," and a jaunty take on Donovan's "To Try for the Sun," and she's never less than pleasant on more traditional fare like "The Maid of Constant Sorrow" or "The Riddle Song." In the end, though, she's more of a flashback to a particular time and place than she is an enduring folk icon, which doesn't diminish what's here, but it hardly makes it essential, unless, of course, you really want to hear "The Riddle Song" one more time. A timepiece. 
by Steve Leggett

Sequenced back to back across this double-disc set are the self-titled solo debut and the imaginatively-titled The Second Album and The Third Album, which first introduced and, then, consolidated Julie Felix as a permanent feature on the British folk scene from the mid-60s onwards.

Recorded with pared-down production while Felix essentially lived in exile in the UK, these three Decca albums mostly showcase her as an interpreter of originals by the likes of Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Donovan, Leadbelly and Peggy Seeger. As such, they reflect the sprit, sentiments and aspirations of the Civil Rights movement transplanted to mid-60s Britain. Though The Third Album was little more than a collection of outtakes from the first two, compiled by producer Hugh Mendl, it did include her hit version of Tom Paxton’s Going To The Zoo, arguably still her most recognisable song.

Following her sojourn with Decca, Felix moved to Fontana and, later, to RAK with Mickie Most. It’s these three albums that remain her most essential recordings.
by Grahame Bent

Disc 1 Julie Felix 1964 
1. Masters Of War (Bob Dylan) - 3:10
2. The Old Maid's Song (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 2:38
3. Hey Nelly Nelly (Jim Friedman, Sheldon Alan Silverstein) - 2:35
4. Cu-Cu-Ru-Cu (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 3:19
5. Tarry Town (John Allison) - 2:38
6. Aunt Rhodie (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 1:34
7. Pastures Of Plenty (Woody Guthrie) - 2:46
8. Tell Old Bill (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 3:12
9. Ship In The Sky (Woody Guthrie) - 2:07
10.Buttermilk Hill (Ronnie Gilbert) - 2:46
11.Sally Don't You Grieve (Malvina Reynolds, Woody Guthrie) - 1:44
12.Don't Think Twice It's Alright (Bob Dylan) - 3:37
13.The Riddle Song (Harry Robinson, Julie Felix) - 1:43
14.Plane Crash At Los Gatos (Woody Guthrie) - 4:42
The Second Album 1965
15.Someday Soon (Ian Tyson) - 3:00
16.Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch) - 3:33
17.The Young Ones Move (Dave Mudge, John Remsbury) - 2:37
18.Guantanamera (José Martí, Pete Seeger) - 2:46
19.The Road Makers (Dave Evans) - 1:58
20.I've Got Nothing But Time (Tom Paxton) - 2:46
21.Days Of Decision (Phil Ochs) - 2:34

Disc 2 The Second Album 1965
1. A Rumbling In The Land (Bob Dylan) - 2:32
2. You Won I Lost (Ian Tyson) - 2:36
3. When The Ship Comes In (Bob Dylan) - 3:08
4. Port Mahon (Sydney Carter) - 2:56
5. Space Girl (Peggy Seeger) - 2:37
6. Judge Jeffries - 1:58
7. The Last Thing On My Mind (Tom Paxton) - 2:29
The Third Album 1966
8. To Try For The Sun (Donovan Leitch) - 3:06
9. John Reilly (Bob Gibson, Ricky Neff) - 3:18
10.The Fox And The Goose (Traditional) - 1:57
11.What Did You Learn In School Today? (Tom Paxton) - 1:39
12.The Maid Of Constant Sorrow - 2:42
13.The Gallows Pole (Alan Lomax, Huddie Ledbetter, John A. Lomax) - 2:00
14.My True Love - 3:09
15.One Man's Hands (Alex Comfort, Pete Seeger) - 1:55
16.Going To The Zoo (Tom Paxton) - 2:30
17.The Spring Hill Disaster (Ballad Of Spring Hill) (Ewan MacColl, Pete Seeger) - 3:00
18.Mound Of Your Grave (Woody Guthrie) - 2:08
19.Come On Billy Home - 1:45
20.I Travelled All Over This World (Julie Felix) - 2:30

*Julie Felix - Vocals, Guitar

1966  Julie Felix - Changes (Vinyl issue)
1967  Julie Felix - Flowers (Vinyl release)
1972  Julie Felix - Clotho's Web (2009 remaster and expanded)

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