Anthems of the American Underground from the Pages of Broadside Magazine
"The Best of Broadside 1962-1988"
Smithsonian-Folkways 2000

Broadside MagazineRight-wing readers, please skip this review. This one is for the old left, the political protest movement of the 60's. American folk music always had its roots in the political and social causes, particularly labor union organizing, protest and workers songs. "Folk" songs to the 60's generation didn't mean music that was old- it just have to matter.

Before the 60's Woody Guthrie was the "voice of the people" and social change, a "protest singer" and advocate against injustice, inequality and poverty , armed only with powerful verse and simple guitar chords. By the time the protest and anti-Vietnam war movement and the coinciding "Folk Revival" came along, a new generation of Woody's disciples emerged. People like Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Joan Baez rose from this tradition and their songs become anthems of a generation.

Here are 5 CDs and eighty-nine songs from the pages of "Broadside" magazine, anthems of the American Underground. "Broadside" was a small underground magazine of new radical songs by artists who were openly critical of society- and especially the Vietnam war. Bob Dylan, Janis Ian, Fred Kirkpatrick, Phil Ochs, Malvina Reynolds, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger, and dozens of others first published sharp-edged and culturally vital songs that shaped an era, songs like "Blowin' in the Wind," "Little Boxes," and "I Ain't Marching Anymore". "This Folkways Records collection including some tracks released on other labels, and tells stories rooted in the 1962-1988 period: warfare, nuclear threat, ethnic conflict, immigrants' suffering, unequal treatment of women, ecological devastation and social injustice" according to Folkways. This is collectors box-set contains rare protest songs by outspoken singers and represents one of the best documentaries of the underground press movement of the period. The peace, labor and civil rights movements of the 60's is depicted in a book format with essays by music historians, lyrics, press clips, rare photos, reproductions of period artwork from the legendary periodical.

If you were a "Broadside" reader back then, this is your life. If you weren't this is your chance to catch up. Most importantly, if socio-political music and protest song is part of your heritage, this is the box-set for you. Rarely heard songs by some of the best musical activists from Dylan to Lucinda Williams, Bernice Johnson Reagon, the Fugs and many others make this a truly wonderful collection. Some of the contents are great song treasures, some are more relevant politically then musically. That's folk.