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The Ottawa Citizen Library

Patrick Langston
1101 Baxter Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K2C 3M4

Tributes to Woody Guthrie are nothing new, but Joel Rafael's is an especially fine one. Rafael -- who first toasted Woody on 2003's Woodeye --includes several complete Guthrie compositions, four tracks of Guthrie lyrics with Rafael's own music, and one original tune. He also covers Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, a Guthrie work that Billy Bragg set to music. And while the topics are the standard Guthrie ones (rambling, injustice, the plight of illegal immigrants), they are also subjects that, thanks to Guthrie's vigorous and insightful writing, never tire. Rafael has wisely kept the arrangements simple, giving melody and lyric equal weight. He is accompanied by guitar, violin and a little vocal backing by guests Arlo Guthrie, Jimmy LaFave and others.

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