Richard
Shindell
Last updated:  7/28/2002

Story-teller, spell-binder, this warm-voiced folksinger from Baltimore by way of Long 
Island is a poet and a mystic.  Richard is a lover of history, but unlike Al Stewart, who is 
more likely to survey the battle from the hilltop, Richard sees it through the eyes of the 
war-widow or the drummer-boy, and is more likely to focus on the hawk overhead, or the 
mist on the river, than the signs of the times.  Richard's new life in Argentina has given him an added perspective.

To discuss Richardís music, sign on to his mailing list by sending an e-mail to majordomo@smoe.org with the following message in the body of your email: subscribe shindell-list.  Traffic is usually moderate, about 10 messages a day as of this writing (7/2002).  Archives are on the web at http://grassyhill.org/stax/shindell/

You can order Richardís own albums from  his website and most of his newer releases from Signature Sounds website.  Better yet, buy from Richard at a show!

Discography: 

(You can also find Richard's lyrics and chords at Ron Greitzer's great site)

Albums

Courier (Live) - Signature Sounds, 2002
Somewhere Near Paterson - Signature Sounds 2000
Cry, Cry, Cry (covers sung by RS, Lucy Kaplansky and Dar Williams) - Razor & Tie, 1998
Reunion Hill  - Shanachie 08/19/97 
Blue Divide  -  Shanachie 09/26/94 
Sparrows Point  - Shanachie 03/13/92

Other
(List of "Shindell songs not on his albums" supplied courtesy of fan Arthur Wood)

Richard Shindell EPs:

The Sonora Sessions - Live sampler bonus when offered with initial orders of "Courier"
Spring (including a fine song "Shades of Black, Shades of Blue")
The 3 x 2 Sampler [also featuring Peter Mulvey]
Scenes From The Blue Divide - (Live) And More - Shanachie 1995 (6 cuts)

"Fast Folk" CDs (listed earliest to most recent):
 
  • FF # 808 Live at The Bottom Line 1996 - "The Next Best Western"
  • FF # 702 Live at The Bottom Line 1993 - "May"
  • FF # 607 Songs From The Garden State 1992 - "A Summer Wind, A Cotton Dress"
  • FF # 603/604 Live at The Bottom Line 1992 - "Are You Happy Now ?"
  • FF # 510 Live at The Bottom Line 1991 - "The Courier" [also included on 20th Anniversary Fast Folk recording]
  • FF # 509 Live at the Postcrypt Coffeehouse, Columbia University - "Sparrow's Point"
  • FF # 508 Detours - "Memory Of You"
  • FF # 506 Emotional Voices - "Castaway"
  • FF # 501 Human Pride - "On A Sea Of  Fleur-de-Lis"

    Songs included on Other Compilations or elsewhere
     
  • Wonderland - A Winter Solstice Celebration "Before You Go"- Signature Sounds 2001
  • "I Am" mp3- previously available from website with donation re 9/11
  • Main Stage Live - Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2000?) "Paddy's Green Shamrock Shore" (trad.)
  • The River 92.5FM - Live From The River Music Hall, Version 2.0 - "Fall On Me" (by R.E.M.)
  • A Lost World: Poems of Robert Graves Set As Songs by Jay Ansill - "A Jealous Man" & "A Lover Since Childhood"
  • Tree Star Revue - "The Kenworth of My Dreams"
  • Bleecker Street - Greenwich Village in the 60's - "The Last Thing On My Mind" (by Tom Paxton)
  • Signature Sounds 2000 Collection - "Abuelita" [album version]
  • Signature Sounds Collection v. 5 - "Transit" [album version]
  • A Tribute to Bob Dylan Volume 2, Sister Ruby Records 1994 - "She Belongs to Me"
  • Greenwich Village Folk Festival : W. 4th and 6th Ave. - "Arrowhead"
  • Kerrville Folk Festival 25th Anniversary Album "Arrowhead"
  • When October Goes - "Are You Happy Now ?" [pre the release of first Shanachie album]
  • The Postcrypt:  Celebrating 30 years of  postcrypt coffeehouse 1964-1994 - "Fishing" (live) Available from 1-800-PRIME-CD
  • Big League Babe, The Christine Lavin Tribute Album Pt. 1 "Fly On A Plane" [a Lavin song]
  • WWUH Folk Next Door #1 - "Home Team" (1992)

     

    Not-so-New Review... Richard Shindell at the Iron Horse, Northampton, Massachusetts, 
    October 19, 1998

    Richard Shindell at the Iron Horse
    Here's to Covers

    Sunday night, after a rousing show by Dee Carstenen (a tough act to follow), Richard put on his usual spellbinding performance.  By turns exuding vocal power and quiet intensity, he had the packed house silent, mesmerized by "Cold Missouri Waters," and then shouting out favorites and stamping for more.  I've been listening to some of those songs for six years now, and they don't pall; the stories change from time to time, though, and Richard seemed more assured and relaxed than his last visit.  He played a lovely new tune, written on the plane from Argentina where his wife's family lives.  He played one of his older covers, "Friend of the Devil," although I *think* he muffed a verse or two.  He played "Money for Floods," a masterpiece, all those  subtle shades of meaning packed into brief, pain-filled words.  (It would also make a rallying cry for liberals, for the restoration of welfare benefits, in my book.)  He managed to make "Are You Happy Now" sound new.  The chemistry with Dar Williams was great, so nice to see friends at work together.  There were the usual tuning mishaps that Richard handles so gracefully, a  request for the Yankees score, and a few missed verses.  Isn't "Reunion Hill" one of the most  beautiful songs ever?  Can you think of anyone else who could have written "Blue Divide"?  A great show, a great show.

    As usual I get to pondering just what makes Richard's music rise above the rest.  Thinking about "Cold Missouri Waters," written by James Keelaghan but sung by Richard, and listening now to "Cry, Cry, Cry" (the latest CD by Richard, Dar Williams, and Lucy Kaplansky, all of it cover tunes), I have a theory.  He doesn't compromise with himself.  With a very few exceptions that are probably just a matter of taste, all his songs are careful works of craft, written with "density," (Richard's own word), rich, because they can be mined for so many levels of meaning, personal and philosophical.  And except when he's physically exhausted or (in my opinion) somewhat  misguided by arrangers and an unfortunate predilection for country music :) all his songs are  performed with exquisite care.  That is, he cares about the songs and the stories they tell, not about his own image or the bottom line. 

    And because he doesn't compromise, that's why you won't get an album a year from Richard, but instead, one song at a time, eked out slowly, supplemented by terrific cover tunes.  He'd rather sing someone else's masterpiece than churn out just another song.  He's not merely a
    "singer-songwriter," he's a real singer, and a real writer, and each have value.  Here's to cover songs, and would that other artists chose the same path.  The folk tradition is all about passing on the best, sharing the music.  Be "lazy" if you have to be.  Give your muse some space, and cover.

     

     
    Richard Shindell at the Iron Horse, Northampton, Massachusetts, December 14, 1997

    If it wasn't already obvious, Richard's show at the Iron Horse said loud and clear that Richard has "arrived," and I guess those of us who used to enjoy church basements will just have to learn to share!   Richard had the slightly bemused look of a man who's had a lot to absorb in the last six months, new baby, touring with Dar Williams, touring with Joan Baez, England, Europe, Ireland, then, his first gig back, packing the Iron Horse.  I sat next to the stage and had the pleasure of turning round now and again to observe the rapt, mesmerized gaze of the audience.  As is often the case, he started off quietly, and warmed up progressively, giving us a few more great stories, including one or two about his little daughter (3 years old) that were sidesplitting.  Well, he is a storytelling singer, after all!

    Particularly effective were "Reunion Hill" and that incredibly singable song "Next Best Western" (who among us has *not* sung it in the car), Nora, as usual; a very subtle interpretation of "By Now," "Sittin' On Top of the World" that always makes me wish he'd do more blues.  One excellent quality of these newer songs, "Reunion Hill," "Next Best Western," "Money for Floods," and "I Saw My Youth Today" in particular, is that they are so compelling that the performer himself can't really get jaded and bored. Or so it feels.  The same might be said of "Nora," and various others.  "Fishing" is a great song, no question, but the speed and rhythm can drive it too fast occasionally, and that's also true of some of the other up-tempo songs.  I'd be interested to know if Richard feels that way about his songs, that some of them he performs, others just happen and he is carried along.

    Difficult moments involved a broken string, and of course, Richard's inimitable tuning style  -- I noted the absence of his usual funny stories about that, but maybe gentle self-deprecation could be taken amiss in such a lofty venue!  I spoke to Richard before the show and it sounded like he might have had a slight cold, that probably could not be detected from his performance. I hope after all his travels Richard can slow down and rest.