Arrangers: Elouise Burrell; Evelyn Harris; Linda Tillery; Bernice Johnson Reagon.
EarthBeat! Records celebrates its 20th anniversary with a compilation drawn from both the EarthBeat! and Music for Little People labels, originally issued on albums between 1989 and 2002, focusing on some of the best-known songs of the folk revival and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. There are stirring performances by unusual combinations of artists, starting with Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," performed by Willie Nelson, Maria Muldaur, Tom Paxton, and John McCutcheon. Other notable folk, blues, and soul performers include Richie Havens (on a medley of spirituals), Taj Mahal ("Follow the Drinking Gourd"), and Wilson Pickett ("Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down"). A cappella groups the Persuasions and Sweet Honey in the Rock are featured, and there are narrations spoken by actors Ted Danson and Danny Glover. Although the music was recorded primarily in the 1990s, it speaks to a continuing tradition of activism and the songs that have accompanied it in earlier decades, and that seems to be the point -- that the movement for freedom, extending back to the abolitionism of the 19th century and the labor struggles of the Great Depression, and which found mass recognition in the '60s, continued to progress through the end of the 20th century, singing hopefully all the while. ~ William Ruhlmann
This Land Is Your Land - John McCutcheon/Tom Paxton/Willie Nelson/Maria Muldaur
Swing Low Sweet Chariot - The Persuasions
Ain't No Mo' Cane on Dis Brazos - Elouise Burrell/Kelly Joe Phelps/Cultural Heritage Choir