SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Milk Of The Tree: An Anthology Of Female Vocal Folk & Singer-Songwriters 1966-1973 Various Artists CD Set


4 hours and 60 tracks on this brilliant new compilation of one of the greatest era’s of music of the 20th century. As much a social shift as well as a musical one, prior to the mid-sixties you just didn’t hear that much solo female output, especially on the radio, in retrospect it was a largely male dominated pop world.

However with womens liberation gaining (quite rightly) swift progress in 1966 new voices started to make themselves heard. From Greenwich Village coffee houses to laid back canyons in L.A. came artists who would become household names led by Joan Baez, Jackie DeShannon, Melanie, Laura Nyro, Linda Ronstadt and Janis Ian, all included here and to name just a few. Of course it wasn’t just the USA producing new artists our homegrown talent, again included here and again to name just a few included the likes of Beverley Martin, Marianne Faithfull, Sandy Denny, Bridget St. John and Mary Hopkin. This release concentrates on rarer tracks and not the over compiled that is usual. Its hard to pick one highlight from another but personally i’d mention Laura Nyro ‘Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp’ Jackie DeShannon ‘Come And Stay With Me’ (a hit for the aforementioned Marianne Faithfull) Sandy Denny ‘ Late November’ and Buffy Sainte Marie ‘ The Dream Tree’. Buffy ive learnt over the years is a ‘marmite’ artist people either love or loathe her voice, I have everything she’s ever recorded and her lyrics never fail to move me, so I guess you can gather what camp I’m in! Along with all the solo offerings we are also treated to bands such as Stone Poneys, Mellow Candle, Pentangle, Spirogyra, Ithaca and Trees, wonderful. Also some tracks appear for the first time like the female American duo based in London with the wonderful monicker of Emily Muff! This compilation has something for everyone, it may introduce the young to music they weren’t around to hear at the time and equally for those of us that were it’ll get the synapses firing and bring back some memories of a golden era. When did you last here Principal Edwards Magic Theatre?! 3 CD’s a 44 page booklet full of info and great sound. Grapefruit Records show again how good they are at compiling interesting music collections to whet our musical tastebuds. Lets hear it for the girls.   For more information go to

Til next time……..Colin      


Andy Qunta… Great review, Colin! Thanks!

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