The live portions of Takoma Park coffeehouser Tom Prasada-Rao’s current release, The Way of the World, make one wonder why more artists toiling in the singer/songwriter genre don’t release concert recordings. Portions of TWOTW document sets Prasada-Rao delivered last spring at an Institute of Musical Traditions-sponsored gig at the Silver Spring Unitarian Church and at Baltimore’s Coffeehouse Uptown. Prasada-Rao’s original material alternates between highbrow pop (the Jackson Browne-y “Star in Her Crown”) and traditional folk (the muted anti-military rant “Incoming”). The recording quality of the moody live takes couldn’t be much more sanitary, so the between-cut audience applause comes as a welcome addition. (Prasada-Rao’s inclusion of each song’s chord progression below the lyrics is another nice touch.) Prasada- Rao’s appeal to disparate audiences is evident from the new CD’s promotional material, which boasts endorsements from both folkie fixture Christine Lavin and Lynyrd Skynyrd survivor Ed King. On Sunday, Dec. 18, Prasada-Rao delivers another set at the Silver Spring Unitarian Church. TWOTW can be obtained by mail ($16.50 for CD, $11.50 for cassette, includes postage) from Ahimsa Music, P.O. Box 5734, Takoma Park, MD 20913-5734.

More from WCP