Exclusive Daily Download: "Maybe in Another Year," Jennie Pearl


Salon Staff
March 14, 2006 1:01PM (UTC)

Numero Group's latest, "Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies From the Canyon," compiles one track each from 14 of the probably thousands of obscure she-folkies who sprouted up in the early '70s, trailing in the wake of the grand pooh-bah of she-folkies herself, Joni Mitchell. If it seems odd to bother compiling the work of transparently derivative artists, it's worth considering that if a scholar were to sift through the compositions of the legions of stylistically similar but patently inferior composers who labored under the shadow of, say, Mozart, he or she would certainly turn up a large number of gems -- for even middling artists often have one concentrated burst of inspiration in them, the products of which would be lost forever in a sea of mediocrity were it not for intrepid curators like the Numero Group, who have rescued some pretty astonishing specimens and presented them on this wonderful release. My favorite is the haunting, heartbroken "Maybe in Another Year," which has a piano introduction that sounds like the work of a child trying to copy Mitchell's flowing piano style -- which, indeed, it is, this being one of two songs ever recorded by 15-year-old Jennie Pearl.

-- T.B.

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