Roy Davis Jr. Amanda Whiting After Dark Jazzman. Caoilfhionn Rose Truly Gondwana Records. Out of stock. Memphis Jug Band — Memphis Shakedown 2. Jesse James — Southern Casey Jones 9. Lead Belly — Packin' Trunk Bukka White — Parchman Farm Blues Carter Family, The — Hello Stranger John Estes — Milk Cow Blues Minnie Wallace — The Cockeyed World Mississippi Jook Band — Barbecue Bust In the early s, a young filmmaker, painter, and musicologist named Harry Smith came to Folkways Records president Moses Asch with a proposal to sell Asch his massive collection of American vernacular folk recordings.
Asch's rejoinder was an offer to anthologise the best of those songs, and in , Folkways released Smith's music as The Anthology Of American Folk Music. A CD reissue met high regard and won two Grammy awards, but the gram vinyl reproduction by Portland, Oregon's Mississippi Records is, to date, the most faithful rendering of Smith's vision for his original set. While Revenant Records reissued the fourth volume in the late s with liner notes, Mississippi has decided to exclude any liner notes and superfluous packaging for its issue of Rhythmic Changes.
Robert Christgau's Spin review of the CD set, which came with a rave rating of 10 out of 10, spoke of how Anthology was a subjective view of American folk rather than "the Rosetta stone. Christgau would certainly agree, though, that Harry Smith was simply an obsessive music nerd and not a monolithic institution such as National Geographic — Anthology is Smith's personal favorites from one aspect of his record collection, making it more of a fun mixtape than an unimpeachable history book.
One wonders, though, listening to seminal works like 'Stackalee' on the Ballads volume or The Carter Family's 'No Depression In Heaven' and 'Black Jack David' on Rhythmic Changes , how the folk landscape would have differed in the '50s and '60s if Anthology wasn't the most accepted-as-gospel account of Depression-era American vernacular music.
Imagine Bob Dylan, admittedly chameleonic as he is, having adopted an entirely un-Smith-like set of tropes. He'd still have vaudeville and Delta blues, but an absence of Anthology material would change Dylan's vocabulary in immeasurable ways, creating a domino effect that would, for better or worse, alter the course of American music in the s. That's how influential Anthology is. Ironically, that tremendous influence also comes with the ability to alienate potential listeners. I've enjoyed every bit as much as the original.
Harry Smith was a true genius! For anyone that owns or listens to vols. This anthology is relevant and pleasing to the ear and makes a fine addition to ANY collection of American music.
For the first time in my hobby of reviewing music and books and the occasional film for Amazon, I think all nine reviews here and each of the comments, too, are worth reading. Almost every statement seems valid, even the contradictory ones. In the end, though, if someone is going to purchase this two-CD set, it will be because they have a desire to hear and own a great sampling of '30's and '40's "Americana" records.
I developed that affection quite slowly, as the Kingston Trio led me to Guthrie, and the Clancy Brothers, and to traditional lyrics and earlier, less commercial performers. Each stream I followed over the past 50 years led to discovering new creeks and ponds and swamps.
Now I own some Jimmie Rodgers, and a ton of Carter Family, and some Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt, and I've heard the early records of many artists who did not earn lasting fame, except perhaps in Smith's collection. I had been fascinated by that title for decades, but never heard the song until this week. The long biography of Mr. Smith is interesting to read once, for he was a strange, scattered, talented man, but the packaging, as other reviewers noted, adds too much to the cost and contributes too little to the owner's convenience.
Volume 4 is a well qualified supplement to 'Smithsonian Folkways' volumes 1 through 3, and is very close to what Harry originally intended. Not to mention the several artists you possibly haven't heardjust revel in the acapella beauty of The Heavenly Gospel Singers 'Mean Old World'. Aside from wondrous historic music 'Volume 4' is another loving tribute to the eccentric genius of the irascible Harry Smith. Without this offering, you certainly don't have the entire 'Anthology', and although the packaging doesn't match the Smithsonian set, it is very nicely donejust don't try to put it in your plastic CD rack.
If you're into your folk roots don't miss this one! Jim Otterstrom. It's hard to imagine that anything could be better than the original Folkways box set Volumes , but this album is.
Everything I love about V, there is even more of here. The eerie juxtaposition of darkness and jubilation pretty much sums up the whole 20th Century in an hour and a half. Yes, it's short and pricey, but better in my mind to preserve Smith's original vision - after all, he scuttled the original release of this album in order to stay true to that vision. See all reviews.
Top reviews from other countries. An amazing collection of music from our not so distant past. A small book a companies the cd and works in tandem with the music. This would suit any one who calls themselves a music lovers, this is essential listening and should be part of a music curriculum in schools. Report abuse. Excellent compilation of the early 20th century american music tradition.
Wonderful raw music of early recorded American folk with all the old "98" scratches and blemishes removed.