Randy Burns is a minor figure on the Greenwich Village '60s folk scene, but his albums are largely enjoyable examples of post-Dylan psychedelic folk; the first three have the added collector value of being on the legendary New York indie ESP-Disk although they're not as interesting as, say, Pearls Before Swine.
Burns was born in Connecticut in 1948 and ran away from home at the age of 17. After the requisite period spent bumming around with a guitar on his back, the teenager ended up in New York City at the tail end of the folk boom of the early '60s, sleeping in Washington Square Park and busking for spare change. In early 1966, at the age of 18, he landed a regular gig as the permanent opening act at the legendary Gaslight Club on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. Shortly thereafter, Burns was approached by ESP-Disk founder and president Bernard Stollman, who invited the young folk singer to record for his label. Although Burns' style was far more "normal" than anyone else on the label (his cohorts included the Fugs and the Godz, plus the best of the city's free jazz scene), he dutifully recorded his first album, 1967's Of Love and War, a pleasant but fairly unremarkable folk album of the time with Burns' smooth voice accompanied only by his acoustic guitar and Emery Fletcher's occasional 12-string accents. Burns only plays three originals (all quite good), with the rest of the album consisting of scene standards by folks like Eric Anderson and David Blue, with a haunting version of Irene Paul's haunting 1940s anti-war ballad "Mr. War" the highlight.