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Gold In California
A Retrospective of Recordings 1975-1985
March 21, 1987
Members of Wolfs sizable cult and the uninitiated alike will appreciate these
unshowy yet potent songs.
by Phil Hood
For her fans its a must album: For those unfamiliar with her songwriting, its
a good place to start.
by Jack Lloyd
February 27, 1987
Gold In California (four stars) ...a gifted songwriter whose voice glowed with warmth and
a straight-on delivery that was pleasant if not overwhelming.
The Folk Song Magazine
Kate Wolfs death was sad, not only for those who knew her, but also for those who
never met her but who listened to her music. This album is a retrospective collection of
Kates finest songs.
Kate made her music from events which other people might consider ordinary -- a hawk
flying in the sky or a mailbox with the name Emma Rose. But Kate wasn't an
ordinary person; she was a poet who conveyed her feelings with great sensitivity in her
songs. She loved nature, and she loved people, and thats what her music is about.
The material on this two-record album, which was selected by Kate from previous
recordings, has her signature country/folk sound. Most of the songs are the slow-moving
ballads for which Kate is known. They drift slowly, easily, and comfortably, from
Across the Great Divide, which describes an experience in Kates past, to
Here in California, which tells of her life in the hills of her beloved home
state. One song in particular, The Lilac and the Apple, reaches far beyond the
genre to take its place as a classic ballad. In view of Kates untimely death, the
song Unfinished Life is especially poignant. Among those accompanying
Kates warm, alto voice are Don Coffin on harmonies, Nina Gerber on guitar, Bill
Griffin on bass, and Paul Ellis on fiddle. This album is the final work of art by an
extremely talented singer and songwriter.
by Ann Powers
There is a tenderness in American things, a tendency towards sentimentality that, when it
manages to remain subtle, can be very moving. Kate Wolfs music moved with then
sentimentality, simply and without apology. Wolfs presence in the Northern
California folk scene centered the community until her death of leukemia late last year.
Gold In California is a collection of Wolfs music spanning her long and fruitful
career. Throughout, Kaleidoscope Records have provided a document of Wolfs deeply
American, heartfelt art. The finest songs on this uniformly excellent collection tell
stories of life and death in this countrys smaller places: tales of lonely old women
in Emma Rose and Telluride, of ignored rural beauty in The
Lilac and the Apple, and of enduring traditional values in The Trumpet
Vine. Wolfs art endures in these quiet evocations of a personal landscape, and
this double album provides a special glance into her world.