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I posted this like two hours ago but the tags were all messed up. Fixed! -Ian!

Recorded between 1934-1940 by folklorist John Lomax, this offers an interesting cross-section of songs sung by “real” people in Alabama. And a cross-section it really is, from blues to spirituals to lullabies to work songs. It’s a collection that introduces a voice that should have become well-known — Vera Ward Hall, who opens the set with a startlingly pure “Another Man Done Gone” and keeps cropping up throughout. While the emphasis is on song, there’s also some wonderful harmonica playing on “Train on a Hill” by Richard Amerson (who also reminisces about his days on steamboats), and Tom Bell accompanies himself on guitar on “Worried Blues.

A little bonus track I threw in.

Perhaps the most intriguing piece is “Billy Goat Latin” from Joe F. Williams & Booker T. Williams, a bizarre field holler. All the way through, material that’s become quite familiar over the years pops up in its folk roots — “Honey, Take a Whiff on Me,” “Hush Little Baby,” “Alabama Bound,” and “Go to Sleep (Little Baby)” — all of which have become part of the national consciousness. Lomax proves to be as able as his son in finding great performers (although you have to wonder when he asks one to take a song into double time, obviously a first-time occurrence for the subject of this particular recording). By its very nature — field recordings from the 1930s — the sound quality is sometimes far from perfect, but overall the remastering is little short of miraculous, and the sleeve notes are thorough and extremely informative.



One Comment

  1. This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Do you have any more of the “Deep River of Song” series?

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