The times, they are a-changin'. Still? Fred Small likes to think so. He sees the folk music that he grew to love as a teen-ager in the '60s ("I was hooked from the moment my father first bought home a Kingston Trio album") making a comeback in the 1990s.
"It seems that the cycle is coming around again," Small said by telephone from his home in Cambridge, Mass. Small will perform a benefit concert Saturday night for the Valley Interfaith Council.
"We've already seen several instances of established rock 'n' rollers, like U2 and John Cougar Mellencamp, raise issues of conscience and community," Small said. "As we move into the next decade, my hope is that there will be a resurgence of popular support for social change."
Small gave up a successful career as an attorney for the Conservations Law Foundation of New England to join what he sees as the first wave of the folk revival.
"I can always send my suit to the cleaners and be a lawyer again," Small said.
Judging by Small's growing audiences, he won't need to take the suit out of the closet for some time. Last year, he won two Boston Music Award nominations for his third album, "No Limit" (Rounder). His 1982 single, "Walk on the Supply Side," a spoof of Reaganomics set to the tune of Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side," has become an acclaimed minor hit on the benefit-concert circuit.
Several major record labels have shown an interest in Small's recently recorded fourth album, which is, as always, a collection of witty stories about subjects--American Indians, the disabled, underpaid women, a moose--that Small says "tend to get the short shrift in the media."
"If I played rock 'n' roll, my first priority would be to get people dancing," Small said. "I'd rather make them think."
Fred Small performs Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. for the Valley Interfaith Council at Temple Judea, 5429 Lindley Ave., Tarzana. Tickets are $7.50 in advance and $8.50 at the door. For more information, call (818) 718-6460.