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Larry Hanks: Reviews

Praise for the music of Larry Hanks & Deborah Robins

(On “No Hiding Place”)  It's both wonderful and challenging. Wonderful, because (they) are both such excellent musicians, challenging, because the music is so historical, both in content and style.  It hits me in many out-of-the-way places, between old-time music, old-time folksongs, old-time sentimental sentiments.  It contains the ghost of voices past…I feel the sound and presence of Sam Hinton and Bruce Phillips, and the history they brought to us.  I feel the presence of an earlier idea of "folk singing" which is sort of gone now.  You have the earnestness and outlook of the Weavers: no show, no cynicism, sarcasm or critique. 

I feel the social concerns, the relevance and struggle of those whose life stories are where the songs came from…but I don't hear that in your voices.  Instead, I hear beautiful tones and harmonies…which are most comfortable. 

I've listened quite a few times, and am hooked on some of the songs, and some of the memories. ..Today, "Miss The Mississippi" feels as comfortable as the chair I'm sitting in.

Thanks again, and I hope you keep making  your music…it's rolling now. 

—John Cohen (May, 2011)

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Love the CD!  I was particularly surprised (favorably) in how well the CD captures the spirit of your live performances!

 – Pete Peterson (Oxford, PA July, 2011)

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Home Music at its best — soulful singing accompanied by nothing more complicated than a couple of guitars or a Jew's harp.  Larry (bass) and Deborah (alto) have voices that blend beautifully, and they play to this strength by singing together on most of the songs on this album, using traditional harmony.  I strongly recommend that you get this record, pop open a cold one, and pay close attention. Even the sad songs will lift your spirit.

  – Lyle Lofgren (May, 2011)

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Whenever Larry starts to sing, people perk up and listen. He has a head full of great songs, and a wonderful, rich, bass voice.  He's a legend here - go to one of his concerts and find out why. Every song he sings, you're gonna like.

  – Joe Offer (via Mudcat Café)

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Larry and Deb just performed on the Folk Music Society of New York's spring weekend (www.folkmusicny.org)  They were splendid. Don't miss them if they come your way.

   – Heather Wood

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(On "No Hiding Place") Larry and Deborah’s versions of all of these songs are wonderful, unpretentious and close to the bone.  They have a genuine feel for protest songs that are not preachy, but derive their power from the innate dignity of the people who created them to tell the stories of unsung heroes who labored in the industrial south during the Great Depression.  When Larry and Deborah sing them you believe you are listening to the real people whose lives they etch into being.  …An excellent, heartfelt album…

With Larry Hanks and Deborah Robins you get what you pay for—a full album of great music.   Larry Hanks and Deborah Robins come out of that old tradition, one that values the old songs they sing so well. I am delighted to recommend this album. There just aren’t that many folk singers any more who still sing folk songs, and very few with their authority and natural feel for the idiom. They have put this album out for the world to see, hoping like the orphans they so eloquently sing about, to be taken in. 

You will thank me for making it a member of your family.

     - Ross Altman, L.A. Folkworks excerpt (July 17, 2011)

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 They offered up a masterful performance at the Sail Power and Steam Museum at Sharp's Point South in Rockland, Maine. See 'em when you have the opportunity.  

    - Maeve (Camden, ME June, 2011) 

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Don't miss this RARE opportunity to hear a folk music legend!

      – Brooklyn Folk Festival 2011

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We LOVED Larry Hanks & Deborah Robins! They did a wonderful concert in our barn for a nice turnout of people. Great harmonies; great songs What a great time we had. Love their voices!

     - Patricia Campbell

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For many, Larry Hanks & Deborah Robins were the highlight of the festival!

 – Gordon Jones (2010 Furness Traditions Festival, UK)

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I caught Larry and Deborah when they did a house concert for FSSGB on June 4, 2011. They were awesome!  Most folks in the room had never seen or heard them before, and many of their songs were new to us, but they were all extremely singable and great fun. Their performance featured tight, interesting harmonies and strong guitar accompaniment.  They developed a great rapport with the audience and preceded each song with informative introductions.  I hope folks who aren't familiar with them will go check them out - especially if you like concerts where you can join in a lot!

  –  Lori Fassman (Folk Society of Greater Boston)

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They did a lovely house concert here in NJ a week ago. Audience was enthralled. They're definitely worth hearing.

  – Dick Greenhaus (June 13, 2011)

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Charming people!  Gorgeous voices, excellent harmonies, wonderful guitar playing, good songs! We all will get to hear them again at Old Songs.

  -Rosalie Friend (Brooklyn, NY July, 2011)

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It was wonderful to see and hear them; I love the body of songs they do, songs from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, U. Utah Phillips.  He plays the hell out of the Jew’s Harp, they both play guitar with cogent simplicity.  If you have the opportunity to see them you will not regret it!

  – Murray Callahan (Havertown, PA June, 2011)

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Quite the fresh aire afternoon listening to Larry Hanks and Deborah Robins. Beautiful voices, great stories, fine pickin'.  Simple. 

 – James McFarland (Newtown, CT June, 2011)

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Just got the new Larry Hanks/Deborah Robins CD, "No Hiding Place"  Breathes new life into some music you don't hear enough of any more.

 – Tom Sample (July, 2011)

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Marvelous (thought-provoking at times) tunes!  You both were S'WONDERfull!  -

--Christine "Fang" Harnage, (Herndon, VA Folk Club June, 2011)

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I enjoyed your concert more than any in recent memory. I think you choose really good songs and sing them very well and accompany them excellently. What more could a person want? (And I am thankful that you don't sing an endless
litany of self-penned I-Me-Mine songs.)  When I listen to your singing, I remember what it is I love about folk music.

– Michael Cooney (July, 2011)

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You know, for over thirty-five years on KPFA, I’ve had a whole mess of fine players and singers live on the show.  Gotta say that Larry and Deborah rank right up there at the top of my list.  The only thing better than listening to their new album, “No Hiding Place” is being in the same venue with them as they feed off each other and do their magic!  A couple of personable, super-talented folks who know what they like and have all the chops to pull it off! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

- Ray Edlund, “Pig in a Pen” Radio Program, KPFA Berkeley, CA  1/28/11

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If you are hungry for the real thing, this is it! ‘No Hiding Place’ doesn't need one!  This down home collection is full of roots and love. 

 -Sandy Miranda, Host, KALW, San Francisco (May, 2011)

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(On “No Hiding Place”) A bunch of fine old-timey songs sung and played in fine style…A good listen from start to finish and one you'll keep in your collection a long, long time.

-Lou Curtiss (reprinted from the San Diego Troubadour 03 11)

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Masters of their genre!!!

-Bruce Davis (Folk Scene Radio Program. Mankato, MN)

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Reviews and Comments from Larry Hanks & Deborah Robins CD, "No Hiding Place", and live performances (Jul 21, 2011)