From blues to folk to jazz to protest songs, Barbara Dane’s discography is full of overlooked essentials. Merely a sample, these five albums capture her essence.
TROUBLE IN MIND (1957) The spirit of Bessie Smith informs Dane’s debut, which found her belting an array of classic blues, from the title track to “See See Rider.”
ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK SONGS (1962) Around the time the folk revival gave us Baez and Dylan, Dane cut this record of traditional material that still sounds evergreen. Backed by acoustic guitar, Dane performs a grave rendition of “When I Was a Young Girl” that will haunt you.
ON MY WAY (1962) Her lone album for Capitol Records was a saucy, swinging affair replete with horns, backup singers, and saloon piano.
BARBARA DANE AND THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS (1966) A definitive musical document of the civil rights movement, this call to arms is both rousing and deeply heartfelt.
I HATE THE CAPITALIST
SYSTEM (1973) The title alone was a statement on Dane’s aversion to consumerist culture. “That album turns out to be more autobiographical than anything else,” she now says. “It’s very eclectic in terms of sound.”