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14 Nov 2016

Monte Dunn And Karen Cruz “Monte Dunn And Karen Cruz” 1969 US Psych Folk




Monte Dunn And Karen Cruz “Monte Dunn And Karen Cruz” 1969 US Psych Folk
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Monte Dunn was one of a small group of guitar players who supplied musical accompaniment for Greenwich Village-based singer-songwriters of the 1960s. Although he never attained the heights of Danny Kalb, who went from backing up Phil Ochs and Judy Collins to leading influential folk-rock group, the Blues Project, and John Herald of the Greenbrier Boys, who recorded with Joan Baez, Dunn managed to play on some very influential recordings. A sideman on Ian and Sylvia’s albums, Northern Journey in 1964 and Early Morning Rain, a year later, Dunn gained further notoriety when the then-married Canadian folksingers attributed their version of the traditional folksong, “Nancy Whiskey”, to him and folksinger Logan English. He went on to appear on Cher’s album, All I really Want To Do in 1965, the debut self-titled album by Dylan pal, David Blue in 1966, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Fire & Fleet & Candlelight in 1967 and Peter, Paul and Mary’s Late Again in 1968. When a duo album, recorded with vocalist Karen Cruz, in 1969, failed to generate much sales, Dunn returned to studio work, subsequently appearing on albums by Tim Hardin, Richie Havens and Fred Neil. ~ Craig Harris…… 

“Monte Dunn was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. When Tim Hardin and Richie Havens recorded their most recent albums, they called him in to play guitar. This is not unusual as, for almost a decade, Monte has been working live and in session with Tim, Ian and Sylvia, Peter Paul and Mary, Sonny and Cher, Fred Neil, Jack Eliot, Bob Gibson, and quite a few others. It was unusual that he’d never struck out on his own. 

Now, with his wife and partner Karen Cruz, an album has been made and, instead of having his name on the back cover, it’s headlining the front. Their music ranges from the earthy, to light baroque, to country. Karen Cruz was born in New Orleans, and spent most of her earlier years as a model, dealing blackjack, selling real estate, and painting portraits in order to finance her travels throughout Europe and the Near East, before she turned to music. Now the mother of two children, Pam and Jesse, she writes only when she has something to say. 

As Monte remarked: "She’s carried some of her songs longer than she’s carried some of her children”. Karen wrote most of the songs, and they collaborated on a few of them. The music of Monte Dunn and Karen Cruz is the result of a very pure desire to communicate love and the realities of a life lived to the hilt - a simple statement above the chaos and confusion of artistic survival in a materialistically demanding society. 

The sincerity and beauty of their words and music suggests an honest solution to our complicated and often distorted society" 
Original press release, 1969 

And then one day I met Karen and all we could do was be together. Music was already so important to both of us. Karen sang with bands, in clubs, folk-sang, then started composing, and I picked wherever I could, making a living and loving my music and my woman. I played for Ian & Sylvia, Sonny & Cher, Tim Hardin, Jack Elliott, Buffy St. Marie, Peter Walker, Peter Paul & Mary and others live and on record. But Karen’s music captivated me like nothing I had ever played. Children and music, revolution, a thousand contradictions, joys, pain, life as we’ve been living it together, our music 
by Monte Dunn, 1969 

My personal thanks to the Westchester County Jail for providing the space and atmosphere necessary to enable me to write ‘Outside Looking In’. My personal thanks to the world for providing the space and atmosphere necessary to enable me to write 'Lullabye’ 
by Karen Cruz, 1969……. 

Monte Dunn, since the mid sixties, was an in demand musician on live and studio sessions (Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, Peter, Paul and Mary, Sonny & Cher, Fred Neil, Peter Walker, Jack Elliott, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Bob Gibson,..). In between these sessions he made just one album, together with his wife who’s mostly the main front singer and songwriter. Monte’s experiences seem to have provided him some ideas as a producer. 

Karen Kruz just had her second child, and had already a life of several independent jobs before turning into music. Her inspirations seem to have come from life as small thoughts and experiences. Sometimes the lyrics carry the song well, with emotions and the right arrangements, but more often the songs pass quickly, and are completely absorbed by certain styles which enjoyment to it is given more attention than to the lyrics, thoughts or feelings, like the happier country folk-rock flavours. Despite a bit of lyrical criticism involved and inspired by what the times provided (like on “Outside looking in”, written deliberately inside a prison, with thoughts against religious preachers who are “outside things” but still dare to have opinions on things with which they never shared participations, but it is also about a guy not wanting to go to the army and then having sent to jail for it), the feeling remains an involvement of a sort of let-it-go happiness, singing over each thought with more up tempo directly consuming live energy, something which for the directly vivid approach still remains appealing. Different are folk-rock songs like “Never in my life” showing strong vocally expressive abilities, followed by a more baroque arranged other beautiful song, “Order to things”. But when the last track concludes with a bluesier rock version/cover of a Tim Hardin track, not much of any the expressed thoughts stay with you, so that the album demands repeated listens to dig all the details, which were covered up a bit like with sand, by all the more up tempo energies involved…….. 

A rollicking good, completely hippified time circa 1969 with Tim Hardin, Fred Neil and Richie Havens sideman Monte Dunn and his wife Karen Cruz. Straight up female-fronted folk-rock songs that sound so of an era that at times they resemble something from Christopher Guest’s folk parody A Mighty Wind - in fact one of the tracks, “Outside Looking In”, sounds like it was directly ripped off for one of the tracks in that movie. Other reference points include Curt Boettcher productions like the Goldebriars. The album features A-list session players including Hal Blaine and Bruce Langhorne. A gentle hootenany, with lots of acoustic instruments – no screaming psyche guitars here. Top notch stuff!…by Gordon B. Isnor….. 


Musicians 
*Monte Dunn - Acoustic, Electric Guitars, Mandolin 
*Karen Cruz - 12 String, Classic Guitars 
*Russell George - Acoustic Bass 
*Eric Weissberg - Electric Bass, Fiddle 
*Gary Chester - Drums 
*Gene Estes - Vibes 
*Stan Free - Celeste 
*Russ Savakus - Bass 
*Paul Griffin - Harpsichord, Piano 
*Doug Davis - Cello 
*Robert Bruce - Violin 
*Bob West - Bass 
*Donald Macdonald - Drums 
*Warren Bernhardt - Piano, Clarinet 
*Bruce Langhorne - Bass 
*Hal Elaine - Drums 
*Lyle Ritz - Bass 
*Lazlo Roitch - Tambourine 

Tracks 
1. Never In My Life (Karen Cruz) - 3:05 
2. Order To Things (K. Cruz, M. Dunn) - 2:05 
3. You Don’t Smile Much (Karen Cruz) - 2:45 
4. Loving You (K. Cruz, M. Dunn) - 3:30 
5. Self Satisfaction (K. Cruz, M. Dunn) - 2:15 
6. Outside Looking In (Karen Cruz) - 2:00 
7. Lullabye (Karen Cruz) - 3:25 
8. So Much Loving (K. Cruz, M. Dunn) - 2:00 
9. Tip Of My Mind (Karen Cruz) - 3:50 
10.Yellow Cab (Tim Hardin) - 3:55 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..

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