The collection consisted of recordings produced between and , a period that Smith perceived as the final years of distinct regional musical traditions. During the late s professional musicians in rural America remained relatively insulated from the influence of the mass market and many were recorded performing vernacular music before they knew how they sounded on records. Smith edited a strange looking booklet, decorated with cut-outs from Sears Roebuck and farm catalogs, facsimiles from the 78 record covers, musical instruments from turn of the century catalogues and photographs of the performers, sheet music and collages, to accompany the release.
Smith thoughtfully divided the collection into three distinct volumes: Ballads, Social Music and Songs and deliberately arranged tracks to conjure a dialogue between performers. The Anthology was re-released in on compact disc with expanded notes and essays and has contributed to the resurgence of the alt-country movement of artists like Wilco, Beck and Lucinda Williams. In the s, Irwin Silber replaced Smith's covers with a Ben Shahn photograph of a poor Depression-era farmer, over Smith's objections, although others have considered this a wise commercial choice in the politically charged atmosphere of the folk movement during that decade.
In , Smithsonian Folkways Recordings , having acquired Folkways Records in , reissued the collection on six compact discs, each disc corresponding to each album of the original set on vinyl, including replicas of Smith's original artwork and liner booklet.
The back cover to this booklet closes with a quote by Smith: "I'm glad to say that my dreams came true. I saw America changed through music. Writing for Allmusic , critic John Bush wrote the compilation "could well be the most influential document of the '50s folk revival.
Many of the recordings that appeared on it had languished in obscurity for 20 years, and it proved a revelation to a new group of folkies, from Pete Seeger to John Fahey to Bob Dylan Many of the most interesting selections on the Anthology, however, are taken from [obscure] artists In its time, it wrested the idea of the folk from ideologues and ethnomusicologists by imagining a commercial music of everyday pleasure and alienation--which might as well have been conceived to merge with a rock and roll that didn't yet exist Somebody you know is worth the 60 bucks it'll run you.
So are you. The Anthology has had enormous historical influence. Smith's method of sequencing tracks, along with his inventive liner notes , called attention to the set. This reintroduction of near-forgotten popular styles of rural American music from the selected years to new listeners had impact on American ethnomusicology , and was both directly and indirectly responsible for the aforementioned folk music revival.
The music on the compilation provided direct inspiration to much of the emergent folk music revival movement. The Anthology made widely available music which previously had been largely the preserve of marginal social economic groups. Many people who first heard this music through the Anthology came from very different cultural and economic backgrounds from its original creators and listeners.
Many previously obscure songs became standards at hootenannies and folk clubs due to their inclusion on the Anthology. Some of the musicians represented on the Anthology saw their musical careers revived, and made additional recordings and live appearances. The "Harry Smith Anthology," as some call it, was the bible of folk music during the late s and early s Greenwich Village folk scene. As stated in the liner notes to the reissue, the late musician Dave van Ronk had earlier commented that "we all knew every word of every song on it, including the ones we hated.
Because of their potential public domain status, some of these recordings are legally available on the Web:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Music portal. Richard, eds. Ithaca, N. ISBN Retrieved In the context of the time, when folk music was linked to protest, specifically to the civil rights movement and the 'national shame' of Appalachian poverty Retrieved July 9, Entertainment Weekly. New York : Retrieved July 20, Rolling Stone.
New York: —2. September 18, New York. The Village Voice. The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, Hidden categories: Articles with short description Short description is different from Wikidata Articles with hAudio microformats Album articles lacking alt text for covers Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz release group identifiers Wikipedia articles with MusicBrainz series identifiers.
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Download as PDF Printable version. Country , folk , blues. Anthology of American Folk Music Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. A . Dick Justice.
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