You should check out this album because: 1. It contains stories from a people's history of the United States, stories of strikes and mining towns, that you're unlikely to find anywhere else, and 2. It has vibe. It is the product of a high-ceilinged mansion (Kingsway House, New Orleans) filled with a kindler, gentler brand of Difranco-funk, then topped off with Utah Phillips intoning poems and songs in front of a live, in- house audience. Accordion and upright bass spin graceful circles around reverberant drums and a punchy acoustic guitar. A searing organ tone cuts in here; a touch of steel guitar there. The whole project is an impressive testament to instinctual process - it was basically written and cut in just three days. So even if you're a cold-hearted capitalist and stories of labor struggle don't do anything for you, there's still something here to inspire you. One more item of note: when we last left Ani and Andrew in Tape Op #12, they were in a quandary over what to do with the bass on "Bread and Roses." Ani wasn't happy with the part she had overdubbed, but some more low end was desired. Their solution, it sounds like, was to gate the bass part with the kick drum signal. That way we get just a taste of some low-end pitch without adding the contours of the whole part. A mix trick to learn from. (Righteous Babe, 1-800-ON-HER-OWN)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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