At the beginning of the 1980s, it would have been easy to suppose that the spark that had ignited the folk boom of the 1960s was long since extinguished. The artists who abetted and benefited from that boom had gone in various directions, most of them dropped from record labels by the mid-'70s, and only such minor commercial entities as the Roches and Steve Forbert had made any noise at all using New York's Greenwich Village as a base in the late '70s. But, in fact, a whole new generation of performers was coming up, and if the record labels were going to ignore them, they were nevertheless determined to support their own community and foster songwriting themselves. Performers such as Jack Hardy, David Massengill, and Rod MacDonald set up the Songwriters' Exchange so that writers would have a forum for their work to be heard by their peers. This resulted in an album on Stash Records released in 1980. In 1981, the group formed a cooperative that took over booking of SpeakEasy, a Village club. And in February 1982, the cooperative launched The CooP, a combination magazine and record album featuring the work of new songwriters. By 1997 when its final issue was published, The CooP, which had been renamed The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, was a nonprofit corporation that had published over 100 issues and served as the launching pad for such nationally recognized performers as Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman. Editor Richard Meyer negotiated with the Smithsonian Folkways label to maintain an archive of all of the Fast Folk editions, and in February 2002 the label released a 36-track, two-CD retrospective from those archives spanning the years 1982 to 1997, entitled Fast Folk: A Community of Singers and Songwriters. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi