TIME OUT CHICAGO 11/9/07

Top live show
Ruthann Friedman
Four Million Tongues Festival: AV-aerie; Sat 10

Plastic Crimewave, who booked ’60s folkie Ruthann Friedman to play his fourth annual Million Tongues Festival, bubbles with excitement when discussing Ruthann trivia. She recorded a single with Van Dyke Parks, dated Zappa, had an opportunity to join the Jefferson Airplane and (in her only claim to genuine fame, and likely to a degree of financial comfort) penned the Billboard chart-topper “Windy” for her friends the Association.

But the pleasures of listening to her sole LP, the late-’60s masterpiece Constant Companion (reissued last year on Water Records), and its belated supplement (a recent collection of unissued gems, Hurried Life: Lost Recordings 1965–71) have little to do with trivia. At her best Friedman presents spare, almost naked folk music, but its seductiveness lies in the complex melodies and jazzy tendencies that push the boundaries of acoustic-guitar music far beyond the coffeehouse. The recordings (particularly the unadorned sketches on Hurried Life, which includes her own charming take on “Windy”) reveal a soulful voice that is lovely but imperfect, the kind of instrument one would expect to improve with time’s ravages.

We look forward to hearing how that turned out, and we are particularly excited to hear her in this festival context. For though Friedman’s earnestness and the weight of her poetic music is widely acknowledged as influencing freak-folk icon Devendra Banhart, Chicagoans are proud that (through Mr. Crimewave) our corner of the psychedelic/folk scene embraces absurdity and whimsy more so than other bearded bastions of the post–Ptolemaic Terrascope zine psych world. Framed by what is sure to be a diverse, bizarre, mind-bending array of acts, Friedman’s quiet, graceful verse should be all the more outstanding.

— Jake Austen


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Sentinel Fine Arts Critic
Copyright © 2007 San Francisco Sentinel

“Who’s peekin’ out from under a stairway
callin’ a name that’s lighter than air
Who’s bendin’ down to give me a rainbow
everyone knows it’s Windy… ”

Ruthann Friedman is an enduring gem, a jewel in the headband of ’60s culture. She radiates a particular color in the rainbow arc and, with a serious clutch of songs, defines an exact space and time. As a determined musician – her smooth and undulating vocal line is combined with polished stone-washed lyrical poetry. Her legend starts with “Windy”. THE ASSOCIATION took it on and pushed it to the top of the charts in 1967. For Ruthann, “Windy” was a guy. For The Association, it’s Ruthann. Lots of guys really got it about Ruthann. Some really got it about guys with stormy eyes.

RUTHANN FRIEDMAN – Everyone knows it’s Windy

In her on-line bio, Ruthann states, ” After Bob Dylan’s first album [Live at the Gaslight 1962] was released and LSD was discovered by all, I headed down the road. My first paying gig was at the Green Spider Coffee House in Denver. It was the time of the great Hippy Migration and I sang for my supper up and down the coast of California. One summer I lived in North Beach sharing a room with good friend and brilliant guitarist Steve Mann, playing alternate weekends at the Coffee Gallery and The Coffee and Confusion. Tromping down Broadway in my short madras dress and high green boots…”

Coffee and Confusion and CONSTANT COMPANION

In 1964 she encountered defining artist, Van Dyke Parks, who admonished her by saying that if she wanted to become a professional all she had to do was make the commitment. “One truly life changing effect Van Dyke had on me was to introduce me to The Association. Again they were kind enough to let me stay in the spare bedroom of their group house on Melrose Ave. The house was near Vermont Avenue within earshot of the Watts riots. In the midst of all that chaos we had great times together and there was always lots of music being played and strange potions, herbal and otherwise, being consumed.”

Water Records re-released Ruthann’s classic CONSTANT COMPANION. A second CD has followed – A HURRIED LIFE, a compilation of home and studio recordings set down between 1965 and 1971. “My songs have been discovered by a new generation,” she says, “which gives me no end of pleasure. I have refound my joy in music and it is my hope that you will enjoy my efforts.”

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REVIEWS OF RUTHANN'S NEW CD "A HURRIED LIFE...LOST RECORDINGS 1965-1971"


1/7/07:DAGGER


RUTHANN FRIEDMAN- HURRIED LIFE: LOST RECORDINGS 1965-’71- WATER- I’ve gotta admit I have a soft spot in my heart for wispy female folk rock. Having said that I was never much of a Joni Mitchell fan, oddly enough, but some of these other gals now making a name for themselves (Vashti Bunyan, Judy Sill, and the gal I still have not heard yet but am eagerly awaiting to, Karen Dalton). Add Ruthann Friedman’s name to that list. She ended up in L.A. in the late 60,s , a few of her roommates were members of The Association and she then lent them one of her best songs, “Windy.” Yup, Ms. Friedman wrote it and that, along with 14 other tunes make up this collection of home recorded tracks and lost recordings. I believe she recorded most of these in her home on an old Sony reel to reel and the sound is …well, great. It’s Friedman and her trusty acoustic guitar and that voice….she has a strong set of pipes yet there’s a certain vulnerability and loneliness to the songs that give off a certain longing. “To Treat a Friend” and “Looking Glass” are a few of my personal faves on here while “Silver Bird’ and “Typical Sunday” are gems as well (and the booklet, with many photos and notes on each song by Ruthann, is a major plus too ) and as much as I have enjoyed this collection of songs I have yet to pick up Water’s reissue of her debt, CONSTANT COMPANION. Not quite sure what I’m waiting for but I will rectify that situation.

Pat Curran UK


RUTHANN FRIEDMAN
Hurried Life (Lost Recordings 1965-'71; Water; CD)
Ruthann Friedman achieved her 15 minutes of fame in 1967 when her former flatmates The Association got to #1 in the US charts with their version of her song 'Windy'. This was followed up by her 1969 solo album for Reprise, Constant Companion (also issued on CD by Water), where she was accompanied by her then boyfriend Peter Kaukonen (brother of Jorma). I remember importing the album when it was released and being very disappointed it did not include her version of the aforementioned song, but 'Windy' does turn up on this collection of home and studio recordings from 1965-'71 and very good it is too.
Ruthann writes a paragraph about each song except in a couple of cases where she fails to give any information on when and where they were recorded. The songs are great though, many just solo voice with acoustic guitar and others with the minimum of backing. To these ears the whole thing sounds timeless and could easily be the new recordings of some recently discovered "nu-folk" singer. The whole album flows as one, the only departure being 'Little Girl Lost and Found' the only song not written by Ruthann. This wonderful slice of sunshine pop was written by the equally mysterious Tandyn Almer (who wrote 'Along Comes Mary' for The Association) and was recorded by Ruthann and Tom Shipley (of Brewer and Shipley) and released under the name of The Garden Club. Highlights include 'Hurried Life' (her favourite song), 'Looking Glass' , 'Windy ' and 'Southern Comfortable' but this is a wonderful album. A real grower and highly recommended.



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Future Blues - May 2007



Author: Brett Lemke
Added: 05/06/2007
RUTHANN FRIEDMAN: Quite possibly one of the major influences in vocal technique and guitar style for contemporary female songwriters in the vein of Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco, Ruthann Friedman's album Hurried Life is a collection of lost recordings from 1965 to 1973. Most notably known for her folk-pop single “Windy”, she contributes extensively to the liner notes of the record, and answers questions about her music, technique, and life seperate from recording. Released on San Francisco’s Water Records in 2007, Hurried Life is an amazing spyglass into her impact on the San Francisco Folk & Blues scene. www.ruthannfriedman.com

Maximum Ink music magazine

RUTHANN FRIEDMAN: Quite possibly one of the major influences in vocal technique and guitar style for contemporary female songwriters in the vein of Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco, Ruthann Friedman's album Hurried Life is a collection of lost recordings from 1965 to 1973. Most notably known for her folk-pop single “Windy”, she contributes extensively to the liner notes of the record, and answers questions about her music, technique, and life seperate from recording. Released on San Francisco’s Water Records in 2007, Hurried Life is an amazing spyglass into her impact on the San Francisco Folk & Blues scene. www.ruthannfriedman.com


Thursday

RECORD COLLECTOR



Forgotten folk from the West Coast

Fans of Vashti Bunyan and Folk is not a four Letter Word will find plenty to enjoy in this collection of accomplished demos by California folkie Friedman. A worthy partner to Constant Companion (Friedman’s sole LP proper, also available on Water), it includes the original version of Windy, the US No 1 she wrote for The Association in 1967, and much more besides.

Though it’s subtitled Lost Recordings 1965-71, these songs were, in fact, never so much lost as ignored, until nu-folk types such as Devendra Banhart began to champion Friedman in the last couple of years. Surely an influence on folk flavor-of-the-month Joanna Newsom, Freidman hasn’t gone unnoticed further afield either, with closing track Little Girl Lost and Found (originally released under the name of The Garden Club) presumably gracing the stereos of Saint Ettienne and Broadcast at some point.

But most of these songs haven’t been heard by anyone in a long time, having never made it as far as a studio. This affords them an honesty and immediacy that they might well have lacked with further embellishment, and not a little relevance, too. Enjoy this now, before it ends up on an advert.

Simon Hugo
Record Collector
February 2007

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MUSIC: MASHUPS


Ruthann Friedman
Hurried Life: Lost Recordings 1965-1971
BY CHAD RADFORD
Published 12.27.06

Hurried Life is a snapshot of Ruthann Friedman at a time when life was anything but hurried. Her magically wholesome voice exudes an innocence and beauty in these reel-to-reel demos that is of another time and place.

The surreal folk whir of songs such as "That's Alright" and "Typical Sunday" are far removed from her recent liner notes about her first cocaine experience, which resulted in the paranoid strum that drives the song "Method Madness." This is the same songwriter who penned the flower-power classic "Windy" (as in, everyone knows it's ... ), which shines brightly among these dreamy and drug-addled gems. Each song fits together like pages from a diary, capturing a breezy day in the life of the psychedelic '60s.

These sounds still resonate in the chords of neo-folkies such as Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter and Joanna Newsom, but are projected here with breathtaking purity. 5 stars

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OTHER MUSIC



Although California dreamer Ruthann Friedman released a lone solo album on Warner Reprise in 1969, she is best-known for a track of hers that the Association turned into a #1 radio hit in 1967, the baroque pop gem "Windy." Water reissued Friedman's Constant Companion earlier this year. What we have here is a collection of home-recorded demos the young L.A. scenester made both before and after that record was produced -- intimate, spare recordings of Friedman's acoustic guitar and husky vocals. As such, it is a slightly uneven collection, with wonderful high-points like the world-weary "Hurried Life," the haunting "Looking Glass," bubbly blues-vamp "Southern Comfortable" and her excellent "Windy" demo. Thirty odd years down the line, some of Friedman's hippy poetry sounds more than a bit dated but a few of our biggest artists circa 2006 could be accused of similar lapses. And while the informal setting of these recordings leaves a few of the vocal performances a bit shaky, what is lost in technical perfection may be gained in raw emotion, as we pull back the gauzy curtain on the California folk-pop scene. [JM]

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ALL MUSIC GUIDE



When Water Records -- that venerable San Francisco label that is as unpredictable as it is funky -- reissued Ruthann Friedman's only album, 1968's Constant Companion in March of 2006, it was reasonable to assume that was that. Wrong. Instead, they went about repeating a process... Hurried Life is just what it says it is, a collection of home and studio recordings done between 1965 and 1971. They are "lost" because nothing was ever done with them. Pat Thomas and Nathaniel Russell have assembled a true series of lost gems in these 15 cuts. They are raw, utterly unpolished songs written by the woman who wrote "Windy" for the Association. On first hearing, and rightly so, these are songs that seem to come from a time and place far away. They are full of a seemingly naïve innocence: check the "Sky Is Moving South," and "That's All Right," for starters. But when one considers that the Vietnam War was entering full swing when the first of these songs were recorded, and was still raging when the last of them was, perhaps it's not so distant at all. As the Iraq war and cultural wars tear the fabric of society apart, one can find and hear in these simple songs of love, optimism, hope, change, disillusionment, and betrayal, a mirror, a "Looking Glass" as it were, reflecting the present towards the past and the culture wars that began in the '60s.

Certainly some of these tunes are acid-drenched and full of hippie visions, but there's also a tune about the paranoia and danger of methamphetamine abuse ("Method Madness") here (from her personal experience, according to her annotated notes that accompany each cut). The songs about love both realized and unrequited (check "To Treat a Friend") are certainly relevant to any day and age. What all this proves musically is that Constant Companion was no fluke. Her voice is real here, if less polished in places, and steady for the most part, but not undisciplined, and the songs themselves are full of wonderful turns of phrase, rooted as they are in various American styles (check both the words and the blues picking in "Between the Lines"). In addition to Friedman's songs, there is one by Tandyn Almer (who wrote another big hit for the Association called "Along Comes Mary") called "Little Girl Lost and Found"; it's a wild, multi-tracked and tape-sped tune where she is accompanied in places by Tom Shipley of Brewer & Shipley. It's curious, but it doesn't match the rest of the material here. And, oh yes, "Windy" is here, her demo of the song that she gave to her friends and former housemates the Association. Hurried Life is not an acquired taste. If you liked Friedman's Constant Companion this will most certainly appeal to you. If you have no idea who she is but dig the CD cover photo, (and what's not to like? the period photos are all informal and funky), then suffice to say the music sounds similar. Underlying it all, however, is the seriously under-utilized talent of a gifted pop songwriter who could wrangle words and melody alike with a ferocity that is hidden by the simple guise of the recorded medium. Perhaps Waters can coax Friedman to either dig into the trick bag for more material, or maybe even coax her into recording something new? One can almost bet that either Devendra Banhart or Noah Georgeson would volunteer to help. Recommended without reservation, Hurried Life is a sensual, mischievous, and poetic delight. Thom Jurek

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DAGGER


1/7/07:
RUTHANN FRIEDMAN- HURRIED LIFE: LOST RECORDINGS 1965-’71- WATER- I’ve gotta admit I have a soft spot in my heart for wispy female folk rock. Having said that I was never much of a Joni Mitchell fan, oddly enough, but some of these other gals now making a name for themselves (Vashti Bunyan, Judy Sill, and the gal I still have not heard yet but am eagerly awaiting to, Karen Dalton). Add Ruthann Friedman’s name to that list. She ended up in L.A. in the late 60,s , a few of her roommates were members of The Association and she then lent them one of her best songs, “Windy.” Yup, Ms. Friedman wrote it and that, along with 14 other tunes make up this collection of home recorded tracks and lost recordings. I believe she recorded most of these in her home on an old Sony reel to reel and the sound is …well, great. It’s Friedman and her trusty acoustic guitar and that voice….she has a strong set of pipes yet there’s a certain vulnerability and loneliness to the songs that give off a certain longing. “To Treat a Friend” and “Looking Glass” are a few of my personal faves on here while “Silver Bird’ and “Typical Sunday” are gems as well (and the booklet, with many photos and notes on each song by Ruthann, is a major plus too ) and as much as I have enjoyed this collection of songs I have yet to pick up Water’s reissue of her debt, CONSTANT COMPANION. Not quite sure what I’m waiting for but I will rectify that situation.



ROUGH TRADE



beautiful lost recordings from california folksinger ruthann friedman - probably best known as the author of the association's hit 'windy', but a heck of a great artist on her own! the tracks here are all pulled from ruthann's private tapes, and document not only her fantastic (yet under-discovered) talent - but also the fading glimmer of personally crafted folk music as the california scene of the 60s folded into the mainstream of the 70s. many numbers often have a bit of a jazzy flourish - if not in the guitar, then in the vocal inflections - a style that's reminiscent of joni mitchell at her early best, but much more personal and intimate here. titles include friedman's own take on 'windy', plus 'sky is moving south', 'looking glass', 'silver bird', 'between the lines', 'typical sunday', 'hurried life', and 'that's all right'. great package too - with notes on all the tunes by ruthann!

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Ruthann Friedman - Hurried Life: Lost Recordings 1965-1971

LOST IN THE GROOVE


Kim Cooper 12-21-06

Though best known for writing the Association's infectious smash "Windy," on these home demos Friedman is revealed not as a pop songwriter, but as a jazzy, abstract seeker of answers, love and vision. With her sad, husky voice and often convoluted imagery of nature and the human zoo, these rediscovered tracks evoke a tough yet sensitive hippie lady struggling to define herself, survive and occasionally triumph. The original demo of "Windy" swings nicely, "To Treat A Friend" haunts and "Southern Comfortable" is an intriguing period piece exploring American racism on the coasts and elsewhere. Don't tune out before the closing tune, the fully orchestrated Tandyn Almer composition "Little Girl Lost & Found," a psychedelic swirl of children's book characters gone marvelously mad. The glossy booklet includes Friedman's memories of each song and some evocative vintage snapshots.

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A HURRIED LIFE LOST RECORDINGS


The Daily Copper



Ruthann Friedman might be one of rock ‘n’ roll’s all-time greatest housemates. In the late 1960s, she shared abodes with David Crosby and members of Jefferson Airplane and The Association. She could probably get a gig detailing the breakfast-eating and shirt-ironing practices of Baby Boomer icons for Behind the Music. Was Paul Kanter a dunker? Ask Ruthann.

A horde of memories isn’t the only thing left of Friedman’s youth, however – she also wrote and recorded a clutch of delicate, insightful pop songs. Friedman began to pursue a recording and songwriting career in earnest after her friends in The Association scored a hit with “Windy,” a tune she handed to them as a favor. Her time in the music industry was tumultuous and short-lived, though, and only yielded a single LP, Constant Companion, released by Reprise in 1969 and reissued by Water earlier this year. In the early ‘70s, Friedman decided to pursue other interests.

Hurried Life compiles home-recorded tracks that never made their way into the public’s hands and casts Friedman as a versatile talent who deserved as wide an audience as the folks with whom she shared living quarters. As one might expect from such a collection, the material herein varies in production value (some cuts hiss and lack overdubs, while others boast multiple cleanly edited tracks), genre (folk, country, baroque pop, and even jazz fit into the equation), and even quality (“Looking Glass” is mid-grade Buffy Saint-Marie, but the title piece is one of Friedman’s definitive statements). But even in her most candid and unpolished moments, Friedman possesses a distinct songwriting voice that asks us to consider her work on its own terms rather than as a portion of a generalized hippie-dippy Woodstock-era milieu.

“ Little Girl Lost & Found,” one of Friedman’s earliest recordings, is the only cringe-inducing spot in the CD – it’s carnivalesque sunshine psych that miserably apes Curt Boettcher’s production style, coming off as tinny and over-adorned. Otherwise Friedman doesn’t sound strictly of-her-era. Her descriptive language in “Sky Is Moving South” at first smacks of LSD-induced synesthesia: “A chill wind breathes a song / Spread white upon the shore.” Turns out she’s actually reminiscing about clouds drifting over the beach, though, and doing so quite poetically. A similar coastal vibe carries “To Treat a Friend,” which could pass for a particularly dour Smiths song or a by-the-numbers Starflyer 59 song were a moody male voice singing rather than a blissed out female voice – it’s about as timeless as pop songs get.

With reissue labels turning their attention toward under-recognized tunesmiths like Biff Rose, Judee Sill, and Juliet Lawson now that there aren’t very many post-punk records in need of repressing, it would be easy to brush Friedman aside as yet another bedroom craftsperson who couldn’t play the industry game. Try taking heeding her words of wisdom instead: “You’ve got to look into his eyes to know the man.” Spend some quality time with these songs and they’ll whisper back to you, words sliding right between your left ribs. – Phillip Buchan (2006, The Daily Copper)

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BY CHAD RADFORD


Published 12.27.06

Hurried Life is a snapshot of Ruthann Friedman at a time when life was anything but hurried. Her magically wholesome voice exudes an innocence and beauty in these reel-to-reel demos that is of another time and place.

The surreal folk whir of songs such as "That's Alright" and "Typical Sunday" are far removed from her recent liner notes about her first cocaine experience, which resulted in the paranoid strum that drives the song "Method Madness." This is the same songwriter who penned the flower-power classic "Windy" (as in, everyone knows it's ... ), which shines brightly among these dreamy and drug-addled gems. Each song fits together like pages from a diary, capturing a breezy day in the life of the psychedelic '60s.

These sounds still resonate in the chords of neo-folkies such as Devendra Banhart, Jana Hunter and Joanna Newsom, but are projected here with breathtaking purity. 5 stars

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Ruthann Friedman - Hurried Life...
Reflective singer-songwriter gets long overdue recognition.

Best known for penning The Association's 1967 American Number 1 hit Windy and her own wispy 1969 long player, Constant Companion (also reissued by Water), Friedman recently resurfaced on-stage with fan Devendra Banhart. Hurried Life supplements her slim discography by disinterring 15 never-before heard demos and one pseudonymous single - Little Girl Lost & Found, a wonderfully lilting baroque confection. As with Vashti Bunyan, Friedman sounds uncannily prescient - mainly because so much current music draws from the same well she went to and is influenced by the likes of Friedman herself. All acoustic and mostly solo, the demos showcase a talent that shouldn't have retreated to the shadows. Meditations such as the title track and the whimsical Typical Sunday are on a par with the best of Laurel Canyon's late 60s crop. Perhaps, after 35 years, her time has finally come?
Kieron Tyler



III FOLKS BLOG


Ruthann Friedman: "WINDY" Girl


The Association didn't write "Windy." It took one woman to do what five guys couldn't. She's Bronx-born Ruthann Friedman. In '69, she got a shot at solo stardom via Reprise. The sympathetic label gave chances to other songwriters trying to become singers; Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Webb, Randy Newman and even her friend Van Dyke Parks (the guy who helped get her song to The Association). After one acoustic album, they wouldn't ink another contract for her.
Here's that first album, along with the single "Glittering Dancer" that wasn't on the original disc. Married nearly 30 years and with two children, she's alive, and, well, at least she is Inky Friedman again, a signed artist. The new album is "Hurried Life." And yes, THIS particular album probably influenced Devendra Banhart and Ruthann is a fan of Devendra's work.

PS, Ruthann reccomends this website which describes what the world is like, in terms of 100 people: http://users.gazinter.net/melan/Warn/Warnenu.htm


posted by Ill Folks at 7:31 AM

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MUSIC AND NIGHTLIFE AT BOHEMIAN.COM


by Sara Bir

...Ruthann Friedman was a contemporary of Dusty Springfield, but while many of Springfield's songs are rife with symphonic bombast, Friedman's are the cozy, impressionistic reflections of a vagabond. Water Records' Hurried Life: Lost Recordings 1965-1970 reveals to us not only Friedman's confident, easygoing songwriting, but her warm and honest delivery.

Friedman is best known as the composer of the Association's biggest hit, the infectiously buoyant "Windy." Though a long-standing urban myth established her as a teenybopper fan of the Association, in truth Friedman was their colleague, a fellow hippie happily caught in the whirlwind of mind-blowing drugs and creativity that flared up in canyon bungalows across L.A. in the late 1960s. Friedman grew up in the Bronx and came to California during what she calls the "great hippie migration" to pal around with Van Dyke Parks, live in David Crosby's spare room and get high on nitrous oxide with Ken Kesey. In 1969, she released her only album, Constant Companion.

Hurried Life exists in part due to the surge of interest in obscure artists of the '60s that present-day folk-fringe darlings like Devendra Banhart have cited as influences. The songs and liner notes of Hurried Life present us with a true free spirit; Friedman was the essence of the era in her lifestyle and art. Most of the songs on the album are home-recorded demos, intimate and small by nature.

Friedman's version of "Windy" is a revelation; while the Association's classic is all sunny Baroque frippery, Friedman's is affably straightforward and casual--as if she herself were this mysterious, floating and whooshing Windy. But Friedman's Windy is a he, not a she, and it's fun to re-imagine Windy as a blissed-out slacker dreamboat of a man walking down the streets of the city.

Thinking about these great songs sitting around in Ruthann Friedman's attic or basement for decades is both amazing and scary: it delivers a promise that, yes, there must be more great stuff out there, songs by musicians we have and have not heard of. But with that knowledge also comes the sting that much of it will remain rotting in storage, while a steady stream of the latest disposable mediocrity will rocket to the sky only to burn out in mere moments. Perhaps ultimately, greatness has nothing to do with what's forgotten or remembered, but what one person gets around to appreciating.


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BUCKS COUNTY COURIER(PA)



Hurried Life:Lost Recordings 1965-1971-Ruthann
Friedman(Water)

Nobody wants to be known for just one song, but what
if you wrote a hit song and people still don't know
who you are?
In a room at David Crosby's house, Bronx-born
singer-songwriter wrote "Windy" for her friends The
Assocation in 1967. It was a smash hit for them, and
was covered by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. Most
people have never heard her version. It harbors a
mellow, acoustic sound, a far cry from the schmaltzy
Association version.
Friedman went on to release the 1969 album
Constant Companion, was a member of The Garden Club
and Petrus, and sang at the Big Sur Folk Festival.
This album is comprised of home recordings recorded
during these years. It's a true lost classic.
Recorded in a charming, slightly tart voice,
these songs chronicle the dark side of drug
use("Method Madness"), travel and escape("Boy Took A
Ticket") and the not always so mellow times. Also
inlcuded is the wistful "Little Girl Lost and Found,"
by "Along Comes Mary" writer Tandyn Almer. It's a
fine intro to her songwriting. -Richard Antone,
Courier Times

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CONSTANT COMPANION REVIEWS



OTHER MUSIC


at othermusic.com. New York. RUTHANN FRIEDMAN Constant Companion Water continues their seamless reissue streak with this '69 find, the lone album by LA-based folksinger Friedman who a few years earlier had found success by penning "Windy" for the Association. Fans of the recent psych-folk implosion (and hallucinogens) could ostensibly crawl inside this gorgeous, unadorned album of lyrical fantasy, gentle yet sturdy acoustic accompaniment, and unmistakable of-the-times demeanor, and quite possibly live contentedly within it forever...

DUSTED REVIEWS


Artist: Ruthann Friedman
Album: Constant Companion
Label: Water
Review date: Apr. 27, 2006

Ruthann Friedman’s chief claim to fame is having written The Association’s 1967 hit “Windy.” Less well known, however, is Constant Companion , her sole solo album recorded for Reprise in 1969. Water’s reissue of the album seems timed to follow the success of other recently-rediscovered female singer-songwriters (Vashti Bunyan, Judee Sill) and the resurgence of ’60s-inspired folk in general. Constant Companion, however, is no mere nostalgia trip, nor is its re-release a case of opportunistic bandwagoning.


While Friedman’s music will undoubtedly be grouped with that of Bunyan and her present-day heirs (Devendra Banhart, for one), she has little in common with them. Contrary to what her song titles (“Piper’s Call,” “Fairy Prince Rainbow Man”) might suggest, she doesn’t indulge in idyllic flower-power folk. While Constant Companion doesn’t immediately elicit comparison to any particular artist, it is perhaps closest in spirit to the first two albums of Friedman’s Reprise labelmate Joni Mitchell. Like Mitchell, Friedman is a skilled guitarist and gifted songwriter, attributes that separate her from the era’s horde of would-be folkies. She possesses a deep, powerful voice, and her impressive vocal control suggests that she may have been classically trained. In other words, she’s no amateur dilettante who got lucky enough to record a one-shot album, but rather a fully mature and practiced artist.


The songs on Constant Companion cover a range of styles, from Simon and Garfunkel style folk (“People”) and Mitchell-inspired psychedelic ruminations (“Fairy Prince Rainbow Man,” “Danny”) to jazz-inflected pop (“Morning Becomes You”). The arrangements are sparse, consisting solely of Friedman’s acoustic guitar and voice, with the exception of lead guitar by Peter Kaukonen (brother of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna’s Jorma, and creator of Constant Companion’s cover art). Friedman’s wide stylistic range suggests that the suits at Reprise may have been a little too eager to force her into the role of “the next Joni”; several of her songs cry out for further orchestration (the fingerstyle guitar intro to “Looking Back Over Your Shoulder” being one case in point). While they work as acoustic compositions, they may have benefited from more complex arrangements, as does the post-album single “Carry On (Glittering Dancer),” a quirky track that indulges in Van Dyke Parks-style baroque orchestrations (apparently Parks and Friedman were briefly an item, and he executive produced the track.) Given the fact that Friedman hasn’t recorded anything since, Constant Companion can hardly help but evoke imaginings of what might have been had she stayed in the business longer. As it stands, though, the album is a fine effort, and its rescue from the archives is certainly to be applauded.
By Michael Cramer


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This from OTHER MUSIC at othermusic.com. New York.


RUTHANN FRIEDMAN
Constant Companion
(Water)

Water continues their seamless reissue streak with this '69 find, the lone album by LA-based folksinger Friedman who a few years earlier had found success by penning "Windy" for the Association. Fans of the recent psych-folk implosion (and hallucinogens) could ostensibly crawl inside this gorgeous, unadorned album of lyrical fantasy, gentle yet sturdy acoustic accompaniment, and unmistakable of-the-times demeanor, and quite possibly live contentedly within it forever. Friedman's story is one of a musician who had her fun and celebrated only the positives of the peace & love generation, gingerly avoiding its dark side and remaining unscathed, seemingly with nothing but fond, collectively-experienced memories of being in such an invigorating and pivotal social moment, which included everything from joining Joni Mitchell onstage at the Big Sur Folk Festival to dating Van Dyke Parks, palling around with Dr. John the Night Tripper and living with David Crosby. Another feather in the cap of hindsight being 20/20, this time tipping in its favor. Says on the label that it's recommended for fans of Cat Power and Vashti Bunyan, but Friedman often provides a grounded counterpoint to those artists' flights of fancy. Quite a find. [DM]


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JOHNNY LOFTUS writes about music for METRO TIMES


Detroit
March 5, 2006

Constant Companion was Ruthann Friedman's lone album. Originally released in 1969, its stripped-bare style floats alongside Clouds, Joni Mitchell's record of that year. Friedman's vocals and plucked acoustic guitar are dressed only in filmy fabric and misty morning echo, like she's singing her songs to gathered lovers and friends after a night of wine and whatever else. She lived in that famed California scene too — Friedman performed at the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival alongside Mitchell and Joan Baez. But Companion resonates today not as a dog-eared memory, but for its arresting ability to rumple the era's psychedelic themes and folk structure with moments of unique beauty and sudden tales of warning. Hindsight might label "Fairy Prince Rainbow Man" as redundant whimsy. But Friedman's character is a bringer of dreams who's fated to die mysteriously, having "hidden himself for his love of the sun." "People" too is a lament, with the scratchy ache in Friedman's voice pleading for something real, or the recognition that Left Coast bohemia isn't necessarily paradise. With its searching themes, gorgeous artwork and evocative photography of the artist's penetrating eyes, Companion thrives as both a welcome reissue and provoking listen for all the mornings of today.


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ALL MUSIC GUIDE


by James Christopher Monger

Singer/songwriter Ruthann Friedman, best known as the lovelorn scribe behind the Association's 1967 smash hit "Windy," released her one and only album on Reprise in 1968. With a voice that fell somewhere between Linda Thompson and Grace Slick, Friedman's lone collection, the sparse and surprisingly powerful Constant Companion, bristles with the polarizing emotional state of the late-'60s West Coast counterculture movement. Like Jefferson Airplane -- she had previously been in a duo with Peter Kaukonen, brother of Airplane guitarist Jorma -- Friedman's lyrics touched on both the darkness and the good of the era, channeling the literate wisdom of Joni Mitchell and exuding a vocal confidence that brings to mind contemporary artists such as Faun Fables and Cat Power. All of the tracks, besides "Morning Becomes You," which features guitar work from Kaukonen, and the bonus track "Carry On (Glittering Dancer)," which boasts arrangements by former boyfriend Van Dyke Parks, rely only on Friedman's slightly bluesy guitar work and gorgeous voice. Fans of Sibylle Baier's equally haunting lone '70s recording, Colour Green, or Vashti Bunyan's Just Another Diamond Day will find much to love here.


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FOXY DIGITALIS


reviewed by Jamie Townsend

online music magazine and proponent of proper booth plurality
Artist: Ruthann Friedman
Album: Constant Companion
Rating:9/10
Label: Water

Water Records continues to display pysch-folk’s enormous influence on the modern music scene by reissuing this almost forgotten treasure from 1969. Most well know for her song “Windy,” which became a hit in 1967 when performed by The Association, Ruthann Friedman struck real gold with her single solo album “Constant Companion.” Companion veers between the gentle folk melodies and fairy tales of Vashti Bunyan and the dark ruminations of Bill Fay, creating a singular album peopled with pipers and magic men.

Friedman’s songs, some written when she was very young, reflect a child’s world seen through adult eyes; its magic dampened by a slowly growing realization of time and endless change. Ever the shadow, Friedman slips in and out of the light throughout the course of tracks like “Piper’s Call,” “Fairy Prince Rainbow Man,” and the anthemic “People,” where Friedman digs deep below the surface of a dreaming culture. These songs serve as a counterpoint to the idealism of 60s culture as Friedman searches for truth in a “wicked wicked world.”

Friedman’s smoothly intricate guitar playing supports her hugely expressive voice, equal parts Grace Slick and contemporary folk singer Joanna Newsome. She has the type of voice that reminds listeners that “singer” has just as much value in the equation as “songwriter.” Song such as “Danny” and “Look Up to the Sun” display the tension and release of a wavering blues chanteuse. Here she slides in and out of notes, punctuating verses with trills and repetitions before settling into strides of melancholy melodicism.

As an added bonus this reissue includes the Van Dyke Parks produced single “Carry On (Glittering Dancer") a jumble of strings and horns that showcases Friedman’s voice in a whole new setting. As usual Parks injects a sense of innocence and joy into his arrangement creating a musical march to support Friedman’s childlike wonder.

The three lone songs Friedman performed at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1969, passed like spirit in between sets from Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, artists who received their due recognition. Now its Ruthann’s turn.- Jamie Townsend

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h2>PERFORMANCE REVIEW

LATIMES.COM.com July 22, 2006



Music fest is a many-octaved thing
Outsider artists come together for "5 Nights of Soleros and Bandoleros" to give "folk" a punky, esoteric, jazzy tinge.
By Ann Powers, Times Staff Writer

Devendra Banhart was as pleased as tequila-laced punch, holding his empty margarita glass proudly in the El Cid courtyard Tuesday as the first installment of the ambitious five-night outsider folk music festival he programmed slowly turned into a sellout.

He laughed when someone commented on all the bearded males in the room. "It doesn't take any work to grow a beard," he said. "You just let it happen." That's rather like the scene the gifted singer-songwriter has helped define, made up of lone wolves and outsider collectives emerging out of dusty corners from Venice to Granada...

...The only truly notable performer Wednesday couldn't have been more different. Ruthann Friedman took the stage with unassuming sweetness, looking more like someone who'd headline a community picnic than a hipster gathering. The 62-year-old Los Angeles resident, who recorded one album in 1969 that was recently reissued, is best known for writing the Association's vanilla pop classic "Windy," but her set at El Cid showed her talent beyond one-hit-wonder status.

Friedman, a former housemate of David Crosby and the Jefferson Airplane, showed the influence of her peers, but her jazz-touched, melodically complex songs went beyond mere hippie confessions. One reflectively mourned her sister's suicide; another she dedicated to Astrud Gilberto, and, though Friedman's voice and guitar-picking showed the effects of years not performing, she captured that Brazilian lilt. As she shared stories from her long, strange trip, many of the festival's other performers sat rapt, grateful that Banhart had rescued a mentor from obscurity...

SOUND FIX



While she may be best known for writing the Association’s vanilla pop classic “Windy,” Ruthann Friedman’s stunning 1969 solo album Constant Companion is a different flavor altogether, a sparse endeavor with delicately fingerpicked acoustic guitar and intimately confident vocals. While one could easily compare Constant Companion to what Joni Mitchell or even Linda Perhacs were doing at the time, Friedman’s earthy poise (not to mention great songwriting) sets her apart from the other singer-songwriters from that era.


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Ruthann Friedman
SUNDAY November 12th at 8pm
LOBOT GALLERY
1800 Campbell Street Oakland, CA 94607

Ruthann Friedman is best known (or unknown) for writing the '67 hit "windy" for her buddies in The Association. However, her lone album from 1968 is the real thing: not bubblegum pop, but all introspective guitar and vocals, dark and stunningly beautiful songs. Water records recently reissued this album on cd for the first time, along with a bonus track produced by her buddy Van Dyke Parks. And Ruthann has recently begun playing again after a 35 year hiatus! her fourth show this year (and in the past 35 years!) will be at lobot on sunday. her previous shows have been at a devendra banhart curated festival in LA and Arthur Nights. before that i think her last show was in 1969 in big sur with joni mitchell! crazy. she is a wonderful person and lots of stories to tell and some brand new songs, too.
we're going to make it a mellow night, so come early, have a seat and listen to her songs, new and old. there will be an opening act, and some surprise guests.

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LA Weekly on Arthur Nights



LA Weekly..."She wrote "Windy," that zestfully minty-fresh song from the 60'sby the Association. She's also hippie-scenester royalty who happens to be a creator of uniquely harmonized jazz-folk-pop that's been praised to the skies by the likes of Devendra Banhart and Van Dyke Parks


Ruthann reviewed in the book "Rock Beyond Woodstock"
...
Rock Beyond Woodstock

Talented rock Goup fills Poppycock with music,



Palo Alto Times
April 17, 1968
by Terry Ryan

There were few people there to hear them, but Petrus--a rock group with something to say and a fine way to say it--opened for three nights at the Poppycock in Palo Alto Tuesday night.

Talent and music are commodities that Petrus has in abundance.

Many of it songs were written by members of the group itself, and they packed a tremendous amount of music into the evening.

Vocalist Ruthann Friedman provided the spark that ignited Petrus. She sings with a superabundance of intensity, yet manages to come through with reasonable clarity. She has a deep, throaty voice that fitted well with the sound of three guitars.

...."Morning Becomes You" one of Friedman's songs, had to be the most hauntingly beautiful piece Petrus did all evening...

...Another song that could become popular if given the right exposure was "Panther" Miss Friedman rapped it out as if she came out of the jungle with it...


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WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE FOLLOWING REVIEWS SAY...WE HOPE THEY ARE POSITIVE...

THE FRENCH SAY



lundi, octobre 30, 2006
Ruthann rustine la routine
On nous ressort une bonne tripotée de folkeuses obsures ces jours-ci. Dernière en date, Ruthann Friedman. C'est bien, on est d'abord content, pour elle. Alors, on cesse un peu de faire son grognon, et on regarde :
- elle a écrit un truc pour The Association, Windy. . Ah !
- l'album était sorti en 68 chez Reprise. Ah Ah !
- Un titre bonus est produit par Van Dyke Parks ! Aaaaaaah Aaaaah Aaaaaaaah !
- Elle est jolie et la pochette, jolie itou, n'en profite même pas. Ah !

Un peu moins grognon, on écoute :
Mais c'est que c'est bien ! Très Bien ! Très très bien ! Excellent ! Zut alors !
Certains titres sont assez proche d'une Buffy Sainte Marie cristalline(Fairy Prince Rainbow man), d'une Linda Perhacs, d'une... Ruthann Friedman, car la bougresse écrit tout, et bien, chante tout, et bien. Nettement mieux que la Vashti, par exemple, si ça peut vous convaincre ! Et mon billet rageur contre les rééditions abusives de folkeuses obsures, j'en fais quoi, moi maintenant !

<

ROLLING STONE


Cover Story: Crosby Stills Nash and Young
October 18th, 1969 No 44

BIG SUR (Wildly abbreviated for this web site)
By Jerry Hopkins

Big Sur, Calif. - Some of the finest folk singers and musicians in the world positioned themselves on the edge of some of America's most glorious scenery for a farewell to summer and a celebration of nonviolence in mid-September. It was the sixth annual Big Sur Folk Festival, one of the season's smallest (in attendance) and loveliest (in mood)...

...one of the truly fine but sadly unrecognized singer songwriters, Ruthann Friedman, spun three superb musical poems, that nearly topped everything that had come before...

The entire article is here


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h2>The Italians Say: (a Google Translation)

[ Tizia type Perhacs/Joni Mitchell, 1970 ] Ruthann Friedman "Constant


Imagined a balanced one I fresco of compositions
to the Joni Mitchell 1968 ritagliate with the scissors of
Linda Perhacs. Of both there is the freschezza, the taste
for the voice that changes repentina of eighth,
the late-60 tuning on the west coast more isolationist
and magical.

A beautiful ritrovamento, al same time is solar that
to crepuscolare, adapted to the domenicali listenings
afternoon of suit relax.

Particularly attractive and felt onirico disc folk,
"Constant Companion" is the only record medical report
of the dark career of Ruthann Friedman.

And six not gone in depression? The kind e' of those dangerous ones for
the forty-years old one.

In effects this type of discs I find it only but
also much embarrassing one. From a point of view
vitalistico, makes the effect me of the hard of Mendoza & C:
music crystallized in a far geologic age
and from the layers (emotional) paleoliti to us considerably
sequenziati and inamovibili.
The beauty of for himself is not always and necessarily stimulating,
it can be also the icy one to graze of "died art",
obviously no doubt that the true art does not die, but
that it transmits energy is an other speech