On The Street Was Always There, Andersen presents the many creative facets on the ’60s Village-based songwriters, spanning the protest and personal approaches to what was lumped under the heading of “folk music” and proving the timelessness of both. With vibrant production and arrangements by longtime Andersen associate and multi-instrumentalist Robert Aaron (whose usual gig is leading international hip-hop/rap star Wyclef Jean’s band), Andersen applies his time-seasoned baritone to all-too-relevant anti-war songs – Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” Sainte-Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” Ochs’s “I Ain’t Marching Anymore” and “White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land” – the latter featuring an explosive reggae-flavored closing rap by guest Wyclef Jean, who also plays electric guitar and bass on the track – as well as Fred Neil’s deep-running, bluesy ballads (“Little Bit of Rain,” “The Other Side of This Life”), a shimmering bossa nova take on Tim Hardin’s “Misty Roses, an angry reading of Peter La Farge’s “Johnny Half-Breed,” and a gliding, unsettling version of David Blue’s “These 23 Days in September,” among others. Andersen also revisits his own poetic “Waves of Freedom” (from 1969’s A Country Dream album), and provides the newly-penned title track, a tribute both to the tightknit Village community of the ’60s and to the endless options for expression and experience provided by the metaphorical street of independent-minded people, real-life encounters, and the mysterious possibilities of the open road. The CD closes with a ghostly spoken collage of brief, still-topical statements by the late Phil Ochs.
Joining Andersen (vocals, electric guitar) and Aaron (bass, guitar, keyboards, melodica, woodwinds) are special guests (the afore-mentioned) Wyclef Jean, former Lovin’ Spoonful leader and longtime solo artist John Sebastian, fellow ’60s Village songwriter Patrick Sky (whose “Many a Mile” is covered on this CD), Pete Kennedy of the roots/pop duo The Kennedys on guitar, longtime Woodstock based folk musician (and another Village graduate) Happy Traum (acoustic guitar), and a supporting cast of top-flight sidemen. The CD booklet includes three sets of liner notes by Andersen, Aaron, and wellknown journalist Glenn O’Brien, as well as numerous historic photographs of the songwriters whose work is brought back to the public ear on this CD.
Reviews"The album has guest musicians of the calibre of Patrick Sky, John Sebastian, Happy Traum & Pete Kennedy and Wyclef Jean, well it has just GOT to register as being somewhat above the run-of-the-mill. The album has well-known Protest "standards" like Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier", Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", Phil Ochs's "I Ain't Marching Anymore" and Patrick Sky's "Many a Mile", all well-delivered in an Andersen voice that has aged like a good wine."