This two-CD release exhaustively documents the 1980s-'90s Greenwich Village folk music scene via recordings for the Fast Folk record label and Fast Folk magazine, which helped jump start the careers o

This two-CD release exhaustively documents the 1980s-'90s Greenwich Village folk music scene via recordings for the Fast Folk record label and Fast Folk magazine, which helped jump start the careers of dozens of artists. Compiled from more than 100 records released by the label, the set features early, little-known works from such artists as Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplansky, and the late Dave Van Ronk. Top-notch songwriting and passionate vocals drive the train on such memorable cuts as Kaplansky's haunting "You Just Need a Home (Spotlight)," filled with New York imagery; Colvin's beautiful "I Don't Know Why"; and Gorka's quirky "Geza's Wailing Ways." Suzanne Vega's "Gypsy" is delicate, insightful, and perfect, and Forbert's "Thirty Thousand Men" is rough and powerful in the best folk tradition. Elsewhere, "Bourbon as a Second Language" by Patrick John Brayer is delightfully scruffy country for the "immigrants of loneliness," and Judith Zweiman's "Heart on Ice" is sharp as a knife. It's hard to imagine a music scene better chronicled.—RW

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