Recently Purchased: The Farm's Earth Music

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In 1972, future senator Al Gore, on assignment for The Nashville Tennessean, visited a recently established commune, The Farm, located in Summertown, Tennessee and headed by a former English professor from California, Stephen Gaskin. Somehow, the original 300 members found time that year, in between tending to crops, animals, children and their own nutritional-yeast mail-order company, to start a band, the Farm, and release a double LP of homegrown jams, recorded live in a studio and also called The Farm (Riverman Music, reissue). The vibe is an inspired-amateur spin on Workingman's Dead, with more flute solos and group-hug vocals in awkwardly earnest songs about extended-family bonds and putting shoulders to the plows ("Loving You," "Keep Your Head Up High"). But there is a high that gently eclipses the naivete, a utopian determination that suits the rural-Youngbloods charm and extended grooving — "Being Here With You," with its guitar and violin dueling, has the aura of a period gig by It's a Beautiful Day. The music is of its time, but the commune is still blooming — the Farm celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.

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