Mark Spoelstra - Five & Twenty Questions (re-issue)

Published Wednesday 17th February 2016
Mark Spoelstra - Five & Twenty Questions (re-issue)
Mark Spoelstra - Five & Twenty Questions (re-issue)

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 159648-23573
LABEL: Collectors' Choice CCM676
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Thanks to specialist label Collectors' Choice Music, this elusive album from late Missouri-born singer/songwriter Mark Spoelstra - his debut for Elektra Records in 1965 after cutting some tracks for the Folkways label - sees the light of day once again. Lovingly re-issued with a fascinating retrospective biography that details his friendship with the young Bob Dylan at the time they were both starting out in the New York folk scene, it's perhaps not surprising that the Quaker-raised songwriter's first Elektra release has hints of Dylan, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and other folk luminaries who contributed much to the melting pot of the Greenwich music scene as well as the blues roots that were intrinsically linked to artists such as Spoelstra. Recorded solely with voice and 12 string guitar, much of the material on this album reflects Spoelstra's conscientious objector status and the promotion of peace is most prominent in the thought-provoking "Fife And Drum" and the exemplary "White Winged Dove" which showcase Spoelstra's songwriting skills and social conscience in one fell swoop. Other heavy subjects such as racism and tragic loss are covered in "Won't Allow Mankind To Rest" and "Just A Hand To Hold" respectively - both delivered without ever sounding preachy thanks to Spoelstra's invitingly gentle vocal delivery. His skills as a 12 string guitarist come to the fore in the likes of "Jessie's Jump" and "Untitled Instrumental" whilst the love song "My Love Is Like A Dewdrop" - later covered by Harry Belafonte - is a joy to behold.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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