Friday, January 14, 2011

Pack Up Your Sorrows - Ruthanna

This gives me an excuse to talk about the New England folk singer Ruthanna who began releasing albums in the mid-1970s. I've been stalking her work on ebay for some time and was able to spend some Christmas money to pick up her second album, the live recording Radiant Circle.

There is surprisingly little about her on the web, possibly because she is very much around and the music-sharing web-sites are reluctant to share her albums. On e-bay she's sold as 'weird folk' and much of her stuff is gospel influenced - although her own MySpace website hints at a bit of a spiritual journey, possibly away from the church. Her first album sells for 50 dollars.

If  you collected the Ancient Star Song site's Christmas albums you would have picked up her collaboration with the Catholic priest Richard Ho-Lung - the astonishing Star Lullaby.

I would say she's somewhere between Joan Baez and an Appalachian singer and fits neatly into the genre of remarkable New England musicians that includes Dana Lee Price and more recently the Innocence Mission.

Anyway Radiant Circle, which I am still playing on continuous loop, includes a version of 'Pack Up Your Sorrows'. It's  more derived from the jingle-jangle Joan Baez version than the Parchment rendering - which, like so many Parchment interpretations, seems to have been utterly unique and was a deeply moving adaptation of the song.

Ruthanna uses an instrument called the lute-guitar and that may be responsible for some of the tingly backing music on the album.

Here's our last report on Pack Up Your Sorrows

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