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American Roots Music [Highlights]
     

American Roots Music [Highlights]

 
This single-disc collection -- a distillation of the same-named four-CD box set, itself a companion to the PBS series -- surveys the sounds of America's heartland, spanning country, blues, folk, gospel, Cajun, Tejano, and Native American music. While no one could expect a comprehensive survey of such diverse and long-lived styles in 19 tracks

Overview

This single-disc collection -- a distillation of the same-named four-CD box set, itself a companion to the PBS series -- surveys the sounds of America's heartland, spanning country, blues, folk, gospel, Cajun, Tejano, and Native American music. While no one could expect a comprehensive survey of such diverse and long-lived styles in 19 tracks (or even in the 75 of the box, for that matter), the choices here are astute and remarkably coherent, with a few rarities to boot. The journey begins with the country roots of Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, and Bob Wills (with a stirring version of "Sittin' on Top of the World" taken from an archival film). The transition from Hank Williams's "Cold, Cold Heart" to Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues" reveals the two icons' similar intensity, which may even be trumped by Son House's harrowing "Death Letter Blues" (also from a film source). The set then moves from the gospel of Mahalia Jackson and the Edwin Hawkins Singers to folk anthems from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to regional roots music from Clifton Chenier and Flaco Jimenez. It's an all-star tour, and by setting the styles side-by-side, it reveals the raw emotion that typifies the best of American music. This Cliff's Notes abbreviation of the history of American roots music is accurate and insightful; best of all, it's full of powerful, classic performances that are as thrilling in the 21st century as they were in the 20th.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
The successes of the breakthrough soundtrack from the film O Brother Where Art Thou? and the in-depth PBS television series Ken Burns' Jazz seem to have combined in the 2001 production of Palm Pictures' four-part TV series American Roots Music. The series touches on the development of the distinctly American styles of traditional folk, country, blues, gospel, Western swing, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco, Tejano, and Native American music. Corresponding with the television event, Palm has released a 19-song CD sampler offering prime examples of the styles covered during the show. American Roots Music has pulled together an impressive list of performers, this time including the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, B.B. King, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, Son House, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Mahalia Jackson, Flaco Jimenez, and Bob Dylan. Viewers who have seen the series as a newfound education into these time-honored styles will be overjoyed at this sampler, featuring a perfect introduction to American roots music. As good as the sampler is, the four-CD box set soundtrack (with accompanying 48-page booklet) is almost too good to pass up. While some of the box set's tracks are a little rougher, they also go more in-depth, digging deeper into each of the styles covered on the highlights disc. Those who have seen and enjoyed the series would be advised to invest in the box set, while those curious about exploring these genres could comfortably start with the highlights disc. [Also available from Palm is a video collection containing the entire television series on DVD and VHS.]

Product Details

Release Date:
10/16/2001
Label:
Palm Pictures (Audio
UPC:
0660200207427
catalogNumber:
2074
Rank:
92074

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Cotton   Track Performer
Lead Belly   Track Performer
Bill Monroe   Track Performer
Earl Scruggs   Track Performer
Ricky Skaggs   Track Performer
Clifton Chenier   Track Performer
Marc Savoy   Track Performer
Carter Family   Track Performer
Jimmie Rodgers   Track Performer
Woody Guthrie   Track Performer
Mahalia Jackson   Track Performer
R. Carlos Nakai   Track Performer
Bob Dylan   Track Performer
Mamou Playboys   Track Performer
Edwin Hawkins   Track Performer
Flaco Jiménez   Track Performer
Son House   Track Performer
Robert Johnson   Track Performer
B.B. King   Track Performer
Muddy Waters   Track Performer
Steve Riley   Track Performer
Ann Savoy   Track Performer
Hank Williams   Track Performer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Lead Belly   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Walter Vinson   Composer
Jim Ed Brown   Director,Producer,Executive Producer
Lew Brown   Composer
Lonnie Chatmon   Composer
Edwin Hawkins   Composer
Ray Henderson   Composer
Son House   Composer
John A. Lomax   Composer
Muddy Waters   Composer
Jeff Rosen   Producer
Alan Silverman   Engineer
Hank Williams   Composer
Charles K. Wolfe   Writer
Beth Middleworth   Cover Design
Mark Weinberg   Art Direction
Richard Bauer   Executive Producer
Kevin Yatarola   Producer
Public Domain   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Anna Mae Jackson   Producer

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