With 40 pages of impressive liner and song notes by Barry Lee Pearson and an introduction by Folkways archivist Jeff Place, 'Classic Appalachian Blues' is a true musical journey through a cherished American landscape. The selections on 'Classic Appalachian Blues' are from recordings made by Folkways Records founder Moses Asch dating back to the 1940s as well as 10 amazing and previously unreleased recordings from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival from the 1970s and 1980s. The result is a strong example of the racially mixed repertoire and style of Appalachian blues performers.
The Appalachian blues tradition is far more integrated than Delta or Texas blues. Appalachian artists ranging from Howard Armstrong to Turner Foddrell make the point that, despite the existence of Jim Crow, they grew up playing with white children of various ethnicities whose parents came to work the mines or railroad camps. Excerpts from interviews with these artists are featured in the liner notes.
Appalachian blues comes in a variety of styles-vaudeville blues, piano blues and boogie, string-band dance blues, guitar and harmonica-based down-home blues, ragtime blues, East Coast rhythm and blues, and so-called white mountain blues. It is an uncommon genre with a common history. Itinerant musicians, both black and white, looking for work-all contributed to Appalachian blues, shared its sound and help transcend racial barriers. 'Classic Appalachian Blues' is a must-have addition to the Smithsonian's 'Classics' series.
Classic Appalachian Blues from Smithsonian Folkways tracklist:
1. Sticks McGhee - "My Baby's Gone"
2. Big Chief Ellis with Cephas and Wiggins - "Louise Blues" *
3. Doc Watson - "Sitting on Top of the World"
4. John Jackson - "Railroad Bill"
5. Bill Williams - "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" *
6. Pink Anderson - "You Don't Know My Mind"
7. J. C. Burris - "Blues around My Bed" *
8. Rev. Gary Davis - "Hesitation Blues"
9. Brownie McGhee - "Pawn Shop Blues"
10. Archie Edwards - "The Road Is Rough and Rocky" *
11. Martin, Bogan and the Armstrong - "Hoodoo Blues" *
12. Lesley Riddle - "Red River Blues" *
13. Peg Leg Sam Jackson - "Walking Cane" *
14. Etta Baker - "One Dime Blues"
15. Roscoe Holcomb - "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues"
16. Josh White - "Outskirts of Town"
17. Baby Tate - "See What You Done Done"
18. Marvin and Turner Foddrell - "I Got a Woman" *
19. John Tinsley - "Girl Dressed in Green" *
20. E.C. Ball - "Blues in the Morning" *
21. Sticks McGhee - "Wine Blues (Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee)"
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