Tony Scherman
May 22, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Free and Equal Blues

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Josh White
Producers
Smithsonian Folkways
genre
Blues, Folk

We gave it a B

Until he sang for Joseph McCarthy in 1950, this silky-smooth folk balladeer was the toast of Manhattan’s left-wing intelligentsia. White’s burnished voice and mellow guitar are underrepresented on CD, so this 26-song collection from his ’40s heyday is welcome. Unfortunately, Free and Equal Blues has more than its share of forgettable antiwar tunes and Popular Front agitprop. There’s better material out there — some of White’s mid-’40s Decca albums. Let’s have it. B

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