Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ruthann Friedman - Constant Companion (1969)



Ruthann Friedman - Constant Companion (1969)

Ruthann Friedman’s chief claim to fame is having written The Association’s 1967 hit “Windy.” Less well known, however, is Constant Companion , her sole solo album recorded for Reprise in 1969. Water’s reissue of the album seems timed to follow the success of other recently-rediscovered female singer-songwriters (Vashti Bunyan, Judee Sill) and the resurgence of ’60s-inspired folk in general. Constant Companion, however, is no mere nostalgia trip, nor is its re-release a case of opportunistic bandwagoning. While Friedman’s music will undoubtedly be grouped with that of Bunyan and her present-day heirs (Devendra Banhart, for one), she has little in common with them. Contrary to what her song titles (“Piper’s Call,” “Fairy Prince Rainbow Man”) might suggest, she doesn’t indulge in idyllic flower-power folk. While Constant Companion doesn’t immediately elicit comparison to any particular artist, it is perhaps closest in spirit to the first two albums of Friedman’s Reprise labelmate Joni Mitchell. Like Mitchell, Friedman is a skilled guitarist and gifted songwriter, attributes that separate her from the era’s horde of would-be folkies. She possesses a deep, powerful voice, and her impressive vocal control suggests that she may have been classically trained. In other words, she’s no amateur dilettante who got lucky enough to record a one-shot album, but rather a fully mature and practiced artist. The songs on Constant Companion cover a range of styles, from Simon and Garfunkel style folk (“People”) and Mitchell-inspired psychedelic ruminations (“Fairy Prince Rainbow Man,” “Danny”) to jazz-inflected pop (“Morning Becomes You”). The arrangements are sparse, consisting solely of Friedman’s acoustic guitar and voice, with the exception of lead guitar by Peter Kaukonen (brother of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna’s Jorma, and creator of Constant Companion’s cover art). Friedman’s wide stylistic range suggests that the suits at Reprise may have been a little too eager to force her into the role of “the next Joni”; several of her songs cry out for further orchestration (the fingerstyle guitar intro to “Looking Back Over Your Shoulder” being one case in point). While they work as acoustic compositions, they may have benefited from more complex arrangements, as does the post-album single “Carry On (Glittering Dancer),” a quirky track that indulges in Van Dyke Parks-style baroque orchestrations (apparently Parks and Friedman were briefly an item, and he executive produced the track.) Given the fact that Friedman hasn’t recorded anything since, Constant Companion can hardly help but evoke imaginings of what might have been had she stayed in the business longer. As it stands, though, the album is a fine effort, and its rescue from the archives is certainly to be applauded. -Dusted-

Track Title

1. Topsy-Turvy Moon
2. Piper's Call
3. Fairy Prince Rainbow Man
4. Too Late To Be Mourning
5. Ringing Bells
6. Looking Back Over Your Shoulder
7. People
8. Morning Becomes You
9. Peaceable Kingdom
10. No Time
11. Danny
12. Look Up To The Sun
13. Carry On (Glittering Dancer)* *Bonus Track Length

Line Up and Credits

Ruthann Friedman - Vocals, Guitar Peter Kaukonen - Improv Electric Guitar on Morning Becomes You Van Dyke Parks - Executive Producer [Carry On (Glittering Dancer)] Ed Thrasher - Art Direction (Original Release)

Ruthann Friedman - Constant Companion (1969)

11 comments :

Vlasdance said...

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i have downloaded some discs from you..
you have some hidden treasures..
i decided to make my own blog too..
today its just the first day..
check it out if you want..

http:\\vlasdance.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Freaky Lady,
The commenter prompting readers to "Visit Our Site" sounds somewhat dubious. I'm not going to click something that points one to "http://www.always-cruising etc etc extra_cash/. An insincere commenter methinks.
However, as i'm here, I'll make the comment that you have a great site. In particular the Ruthann Friedman is good. Thanks so much.

mauricio said...

I love this record

Anonymous said...

I haven't downloaded this Ruthann Friedman album, although I must admit I'm tempted :) As I'm a bit of a musical nerd I just thought I'd mention, in case people didn't realise it, that the guitarist on this album, Peter Kaukonan, is Jorma Kaukonan's younger brother. Jorma being the superb lead guitarist with the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. Peter later recorded his own solo album on the JA's Grunt label. This Friedman LP may have been one of the first record session's he did.

Anthony Harland

Anonymous said...

FANTASTIC RECORD this one from Ruthann Friedmann........This is also a great blog for there is THE BEST MUSIC I HAVE EVER HEARD.....

Anonymous said...

I like her!

ruthann friedman said...

Hi...
I am very glad you like my music...It makes my day...HOWEVER...I do need to eat so please do not give it away...
OK a track of two but not the whole thing...both CDs...just not right...
Thanks Y'all
Ruthann

Anonymous said...

that is not ruthann friedman that posted that comment above!!!!!

Anonymous said...

freaky_lady
would be great if u could upload the albums again
and on other websites as well
not only on rapidshare
your collection is just Awesome
!

Anonymous said...

yes that was ruthann visit her myspace buy her music great stuff...

for some reason constant comapanion album makes me want to great in a good way beautiful stuff buy the music =)

Anonymous said...

Now that I can't hear it here, I'm certainly rushin' out and buyin' me some copies! ~stupiddle