Reissue of this live archive release from the Folk music legend. In 2001, The Woody Guthrie Archives received two spools of wire recordings from a live Woody Guthrie performance held in Newark, New Jersey in 1949. With the help of many talented recording engineers, the Woody Guthrie Foundation transferred this rare live performance from a delicate wire recording to digital audio, and, with state-of-the-art technology, restored it to near-perfection.
This reissue of a 1993 live album was never intended to memorialize Townes Van Zandt (in the saddest of posthumous ironies, its Sugar Hill sleeve includes a phone number to call for bookings), but it'll do for now. Originally released by Sundown, a tiny Austin indie with limited distribution, the 17-song set finds Van Zandt in fine form – upbeat, gracious, apparently sober – and in good company, with fiddler Owen Cody and guitarist Danny Rowland adding a dimension of musical enhancement that never overwhelms the nuances of the material. As anyone who ever saw Van Zandt fall off a stool recognizes, there was no such thing as a typical Townes performance, but when he was good, no one working in the Texas troubadour tradition has ever been better.
Mirrorball is a melodically affecting exercise in ethereal ambience – precisely what you might expect from two artists whose CVs list collaborations with Harold Budd. That's not to set Budd up as an overarching influence, though: Foxx and Guthrie come to this album with their own long-established and distinctive pedigrees, the former as an electronic pioneer and the latter as chief architect of the Cocteau Twins' unique dream pop lullabies. Mirrorball bears the musical fingerprints of both, combining Guthrie's trademark hypnotic, echo-laden melodies with the kind of otherworldly, cavernous spaces that Foxx mapped on Cathedral Oceans.