Folk Music Discussion

“Folk” is as big, ambiguous and changing as any of these other boxes into which we try to place music, so come one, come all, o come all ye folk faithful to this virtual campfire jam session!

I’ll kick it off with links to some of my favorite folk-ish albums, not just from the American folk tradition but also from the birthplace of man.


Most people would probably classify this album as Jazz based on the represented musicians, but the pieces on here are so heavily influenced by African folk music that I’ll include it here:

1 Like

One of my favorite newer folk bands

Another favorite band.

Both have lots of good tracks and albums, both became popular during the Folk revival in the late 2000’s early 2010’s.

Big fan of both.

1 Like

This recording is absolutely her finest work imho. There is not too much controversy about the best mastering of it. I am in agreement with many that DCC version " Blue " is the best. I will add that Steve Hoffman and Kenneth Grey are two of the finest masterers in the world. Most all of theirs is mastered by tubes from original master tapes. I might add they are and have not been in print for some time and are very rare to find. I just looked on Ebay and say one for $165 used and another one new for $899. I was fortunate enough to have someone send me a copy some time ago. Review Blue from Soundstage . (there are many reviews)
I am such a believer in original source of material (garbage in - garbage out). I have will always recommend people to check out Steve Hoffman site. . The site has been around forever and as far as I’m concerned the ultimate authority awesome source of material


The 2007 Rhino reissue of Blue was mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at Acoustech Mastering and pressed at RTI. This is an excellent pressing also and created quite a buzz when it was released.


Do I understand correctly that there’s also a CD version of the Rhino reissue?*Version*=1&*entries*=0&ie=UTF8

BTW, something that’s bothered me for a long time is that I almost never hear Joni Mitchell played on the radio. She produced fantastic music, was prolific and seems to be well loved, so I can’t quite understand how she doesn’t get airtime. Anyone have any insights into this?

I think so…I’m only familiar with the LP but Rhino makes both so it is reasonable to expect a CD version.


Life is analog, digital is just samples thereof

Thanks for correction. It is Kevin I said Kenneth.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Well, I’ve ordered it so we’ll see how it sounds!

Life is analog, digital is just samples thereof

True, but life is messy and digital is clean :slight_smile:

Well, it seems that the Rhino CD reissue is exactly the same as the CD I already had from the boxed set. It looks like all Rhino did with this CD reissue is just miniaturize the original LP cover into CD form without actually touching the audio.

Does it indicate who mastered it?

Sadly the liner notes are mum on this point.

1 Like

This statement as they are referring to new reissue on album. I assume cd is close to the same. I thought these reviews come from some folks who know a thing or two. I’m going to buy Blue right after this post. I’d like to post comparisons of the two when I get it. I feel bad for those who have paid hundreds of dollars of the first Hoffman release, especially when he believes he has made it better:

“…As remastered from the original master tapes by maestro Steve Hoffman, Blue has weathered well the ravages of time and storage…the 180-gram reissue features quieter surfaces that dramatically enliven low-level resolution, increase dynamic range, and permit the contributions of ‘sidemen’ like Stephen Stills and James Taylor to shine…Most significantly, there’s a near elimination of the gritty texture that sometimes dogged Joni’s vocal peaks.” – Neil Gader, The Absolute Sound , June/July 2007

“…the reissue has far greater presence and physicality and is more immediate, dynamic, detailed and especially transparent. To their credit, Gray and Hoffman didn’t try to mess with the original’s intent. They’ve remained true to it while improving upon it in every way. Highest recommendation, and a most highly anticipated reissue that lives up to every high expectation.” Music = 11/11; Sound = 10/11 – Michael Fremer,

“…An awesome collaboration between the great Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman – as well as some major hunting in the tape vaults to get to the original tapes – has given us, I think, a masterpiece of vocal repertoire in what is considered a high-point album for Mitchell…A great disc with great sound.” – Richard S. Foster, Hi-Fi+ , Issue 50

One of the truly great recordings. An audiophile favorite for years. NOW MASTERED BY KEVIN GRAY and STEVE HOFFMAN at ACOUSTECH MASTERING and PRESSED AT RTI!!!

Without a doubt, one of the most important and influential artists in all of contemporary music, Joni Mitchell is much more than a legendary icon of the singer-songwriter art form. Since her 1968 debut LP, the five-time Grammy winner has released a long string of stellar albums as emotionally powerful as they are stylistically diverse. This is her 1972 poetic masterpiece, now on 180-gram HQ vinyl. Featuring such memorable songs as “Carey,” “All I Want” and “California.”

“This is a really wonderful album; Joni just laid it all out there for the world to hear. Brave, especially back in the day…I feel that this new version is the true giant killer. Unlike the original 1970’s pressings, this new version was mastered without ANY added compression whatsoever, making it a true problem child in cutting (of our own making) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. After many spoiled lacquer masters and one too many Altoids, it was finished to everybody’s satisfaction. The effort was worth it. The ebb and flow of the music is totally intact. Parts were cut, plated and pressed at Record Tech (RTI) and the actual 1971 Reprise master tape (as recorded and mixed at A&M Recording Studios) was used in disk cutting, bypassing the usual/“EQ’d and Compressed Cutting Master” completely. Unlike the DCC, most of the songs on this vinyl version were cut without ANY equalization at all so this will be the closest you will ever be able to get to the sound of the true master tape of Blue . It was exciting to work on and I’m sure it will please y’all.” – Steve Hoffman, mastering engineer

As I understand it, most all of Keven Gray and Steve Hoffman remove as much compression as possible, thereby leaving the master tapes mastered by him unadulterated. Audiophiles aren’t interested by loud recordings as was normal back in the day. Today we want what’s as close to the master tapes as the artists intended. There are great mastering engineers, but my personal best are Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray . Thanks for reading this long post. Sorry Tom


To be clear, these are the versions I have:

The first is a compilation of discs, some of which were the original CD releases and some of which were later remasters. I think the Blue disc is the same remaster as the Rhino replica that I just bought, though I don’t know who mastered it. Here are the ripped waveforms for comparison. They look close to identical:

I think I’ve got it sorted now. Rhino may or may not have published it early on or 1st, but this is the one everyone talks about and there is no doubt about. It is noticeably improved of any version. The one Steve did was DCC, which he did many for. It is the Gold colored DCC release,

Folk? Grew up in the Poughkeepsie area, went to a day camp that had lots of local musicians entertain the kids.
Didn’t know who they were then but it was the likes of Pete Seeger, Peter Paul & Mary, Weavers just to name a few. I’ve always had a place for folk music, guess it comes from early days. Particularly enamoured with the likes of Lightfoot (and why the hell didn’t the Canadian olympics even mention him? Or Joni?), Rambling Jack Elliot, Dave van Ronk, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs…

Okay back to mastering Blue…


Genre bender – country/folk acoustic metal:

1 Like

I think I’m with @Lotek here. Joni is sort of Folk-Rock. Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That. So is Linda Ronstadt, and I’ve had the Stone Poney’s album almost since I can remember.

The Stone Pony, Atlantic City, NJ

But Folk? Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Odetta, Doc Watson, Burl Ives.

My wife and I just saw Danny and his wife Carrie Elkin perform at a house concert. I hadn’t seen Danny live in over 10 years and it was wonderful seeing him perform after all this time. The whole concert I kept thinking, please, please, please sing Stained Glass, and sure enough he closed with just that song. It brought a tear to my eye just like the first time I heard it.

As a side note - the SPL was mercifully low unlike most commercial shows I attend, but the sound quality of the PA system was pretty awful (way to much reverb), but you know what? It was a fabulous experience anyway!

1 Like