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Mark Dvorak - What A Wonderful World: A Family Folk Sampler

What A Wonderful World:
A Family Folk Sampler

Mark Dvorak

Waterbug Records - WBG 0086

Available from Waterbug Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com).

The term "sampler" in the title refers to anthologization, and this is a collection of outtakes from four of Mark Dvorak's earlier discs, with a quartet of new cuts thrown in for good measure. All the earlier tracks have been remastered, and the result's an hour's worth of tunes mostly quite familiar in this culture. The intent was to provide kids with exposure to their musical heritage but, I strongly suspect, also to remind adults that America's family fare travels much further back than the marvelous Sesame Street.

Dvorak is a guitarist, banjo player, and vocalist accompanied by a bevy of sessioneers playing dulcimer, blues harp, tin whistle, button accordion, and, of course, the more standard instruments. The recitations are pretty much straightforward, as Dvorak is a purist, a preserver of times gone by, careful that modernization doesn't edge out history. Therefore, don't expect a raft of newfangled studio wizardry, board effects, or crazy interpolations. Nor should you look for extensions and such—most of the tracks are quite short, between two and three minutes.

All which should let you know just how to approach Wonderful World. After just so much, though, the fare got a bit thin for me though there are many who desire precisely this kind of unadorned, down home, return to basics material.

Track List:

  • When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin' Along (Harry Woods)
  • Dog-Latin Song (Huddie Ledbetter)
  • Ship in the Sky (Woody Guthrie)
  • Blue Skies (Irving Berlin)
  • I'm A Little Cookie (Larry Penn)
  • Put Your Finger in the Air (Woody Guthrie)
  • The Gray Goose (Huddie Ledbetter)
  • Juba (Jones / Lomax)
  • Jump Little Children (Brownie McGhee)
  • Little Pink Pig (Dave Williams)
  • God Bless the Grass (Malvina Reynolds)
  • Little Bird (traditional)
  • Oh Susannah (Stephen Foster)
  • My Own Grandpa (Jaffe / Latham)
  • Soldier's Joy / Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (traditional)
  • Lay Down, Little Dogies (Woody Guthrie)
  • Wimoweh (Linda / Gilbert / Hays / Hellerman / Seeger)
  • On Top of Old Smokie (traditional)
  • This Land is Your Land (Woody Guthrie)
  • Tumblin' Tumbleweeds (Bob Nolan)
  • She'll be Comin' Around the Mountain (traditional)
  • What a Wonderful World (Weiss / Douglas)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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