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American Avatar by The Lyman Family
Released: Mar 1969
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
The tale behind the making of this record could fill an entire book: Folk singer (Lisa Kindred) records album, Boston-based hippie cult (Mel Lyman Family) steals album, album appears on Warner Bros./Reprise four years later. Setting all that aside, American Avatar is a landmark in avant-garde folk music. The music is dark and disjointed, while the fidelity is more or less proto-lo-fi. Pay special attention to the feminist "James Alley Blues"; Kindred's vocals are slathered in venom and spite and real-world pain.
Justin Farrar
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