The story of Connie Converse, the enigmatic folk singer chronicled here on How Sad How Lovely, a vinyl reissue of the 2009 collection, reads more as PR hype than reality: after having kicked around the folk scene for a few years in the ‘50s and early ‘60s, during which time these recordings were made, she packed up her car and simply vanished. That was 1974. No one has heard from her since. As intriguing as this story may seem, it runs secondary to the recordings she left behind. Initially, these songs play as fairly staid folk performed in a casual, slightly rudimentary manner. But following a closer listen to the melodic constructs of each and, most importantly, the lyrical content, the siren-like allure of Connie Converse becomes impossible to resist.
From the striking lyric “that sort of a squirrel thing” in the opening track “Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains)”, it’s clear these aren’t your typical folk songs. Largely adhering to traditional themes, she delivers each in a refracted, skewed manner—an alien approximation of the folk tradition. Endlessly fascinating and full of childlike wonder, these recordings deserve the time and attention they were denied so long ago. Whether or not Connie Converse is still alive somewhere is of little consequence in the context of this music. She’s found eternal life within these moments captured in a kitchen some 60 years ago, both in song and charming asides.
- “Talkin’ Like You (Two Tall Mountains)” SoundCloud
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