American Roots Music [Box Set]

American Roots Music [Box Set]


If roots music is a genre, then this set presents the roots of roots. This 68-track, four-CD set serves as a companion to the PBS television series (available on DVD and VHS, too), presenting the complete performances of songs excerpted or used as background music in the episodes. It's a savvy mix of essential classics (reaching back toSee more details below


If roots music is a genre, then this set presents the roots of roots. This 68-track, four-CD set serves as a companion to the PBS television series (available on DVD and VHS, too), presenting the complete performances of songs excerpted or used as background music in the episodes. It's a savvy mix of essential classics (reaching back to the 1920s), performances from archival film sources, and new recordings, journeying through country, blues, gospel, folk, Cajun/zydeco, Tejano, and Native American styles. Well annotated with an informative 58-page book, American Roots Music is both a history lesson and a compelling listen. The country disc includes originators Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, with western swing from Gene Autry and Bob Wills, bluegrass from Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley, honky-tonk from Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, and Hank Williams, and still-dexterous picking from living legends Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs. The set moves to the blues for the second disc, beginning in the '20s with spiritual sisters Mamie Smith and Bessie Smith. There's classic Delta blues from Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and Son House (in an amazing, scary 1967 archival film performance of "Death Letter Blues"), Chicago blues from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, and B. B. King's soulful classic "The Thrill Is Gone." Disc 3 is half gospel, half folk; although both could merit CDs of their own, the choices are astute. Amid stiff competition from the Golden Gate Quartet, the Staple Singers, and Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe's searing "Down by the Riverside" steals the show. Folk mainstays Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan are here, as are Leadbelly and Peter, Paul and Mary. Disc 4 contains the most radical selections, focusing on mostly contemporary recordings of regional music, with six picks each of Cajun/zydeco, Tejano, and Native American musics. It makes a strong case for including Clifton Chenier, Lydia Mendoza, Flaco Jimenez, and R. Carlos Nakai in the roots pantheon. For scholars and casual fans alike, American Roots Music is required, essential listening.

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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 four-CD box set soundtrack with a 48-page booklet covering the styles covered during the show. Much like a broadened version of the amazing Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970 CD set, American Roots Music has pulled together an impressive list of performers, including the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, B.B. King, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, Son House, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Staple Singers, Clifton Chenier, Flaco Jimenez, and Bob Dylan. The depth of the track selection is impressive, as is the breadth of the performers chosen. The producers have chosen to include some studio recordings, and some audio tracks taken from the film archives, making for a somewhat uneven sound quality. While the previously unreleased nature of these select tracks will appeal to collectors and die-hard fans, those just exploring these styles might be turned off by the rough quality of these performances. The discs span more than eight decades of music, acting as a good overview of these genres for new listeners, while Americana enthusiasts will view it as another great collection of the most influential American roots artists in music history. [Also available from Palm is a 19-song CD sampler entitled American Roots Music: Highlights and a video collection containing the entire television series on DVD and VHS.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
Palm Pictures (Audio


Disc 1

  1. American Roots Music Theme
  2. Waiting for a Train
  3. Wildwood Flower
  4. Take Me Back to My Old Carolina Home
  5. Wabash Cannonball
  6. That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
  7. Sitting on Top of the World
  8. Uncle Pen
  9. Salty Dog Blues
  10. Nine Pound Hammer
  11. Walking the Floor over You
  12. If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time
  13. It Wasn't God Who Made Honkey Tonk Angels
  14. Black Mountain Rag
  15. Earl's Breakdown
  16. Little Maggie
  17. Where Shades of Love Lie Deep
  18. Stomping Grounds

Disc 2

  1. The King Biscuit Time Theme
  2. Crazy Blues @@Mamie Smith
  3. ST. Louis Blues @@Bessie Smith
  4. Black Snake Moan
  5. Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues
  6. Cross Road Blues
  7. Death Letter Blues
  8. Another Night to Cry
  9. Foldin' Bed
  10. Boogie Woogie Dream
  11. Bye Bye Bird
  12. Shake for Me
  13. Got My Mojo Working
  14. The Thrill Is Gone
  15. Take a Little Walk With Me
  16. Henry

Disc 3

  1. Joshua Fit de Battle
  2. Precious Lord, Take My Hand
  3. Blind Barnabus
  4. Down by the Riverside
  5. Move on up a Little Higher
  6. Sit Down Servant
  7. Jesus Gave Me Water
  8. Oh Happy Day
  9. This Land Is Your Land
  10. Goodnight Irene
  11. So Long Been Good to Know Yuh
  12. The Soldier and the Lady
  13. John Henry
  14. If I Had a Hammer ( the Hammer Song)
  15. We Shall Overcome @@SNCC Freedom Singers
  16. The Times They Are A-Changin' @@Bob Dylan

Disc 4

  1. Allons a Lafayette
  2. Madame Atchen
  3. Port Arthur Blues
  4. I'm a Hog for You
  5. Dans la Louisianne
  6. Ossun Two
  7. Mal Hombre
  8. Muchacha Bonita
  9. Rosalito
  10. Las Nubes
  11. Ring of Fire
  12. Sorry Boy
  13. Yeibichei Song
  14. Traditional Powwow @@Renzel Last Horse
  15. Jesus Loves Me @@Everette Red Bear
  16. Wounded Knee
  17. Enchantment Song
  18. The Dance

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mississippi John Hurt   Track Performer
Blind Lemon Jefferson   Track Performer
Lonnie Johnson   Track Performer
Bessie Smith   Track Performer
Mamie Smith   Track Performer
Flatt & Scruggs   Track Performer
Earl Scruggs   Track Performer
Ricky Skaggs   Track Performer
Ralph Stanley   Track Performer
Dewey Balfa   Track Performer
Clifton Chenier   Track Performer
Marc Savoy   Track Performer
Roy Acuff   Track Performer
Gene Autry   Track Performer
Carter Family   Track Performer
Lefty Frizzell   Track Performer
Uncle Dave Macon   Track Performer
Lydia Mendoza   Track Performer
Jimmie Rodgers   Track Performer
Merle Travis   Track Performer
Kitty Wells   Track Performer
Woody Guthrie   Track Performer
New Lost City Ramblers   Track Performer
Peter, Paul and Mary   Track Performer
Pete Seeger   Track Performer
Weavers   Track Performer
Golden Gate Quartet   Track Performer
Mahalia Jackson   Track Performer
R. Carlos Nakai   Track Performer
Bob Dylan   Track Performer
Staple Singers   Track Performer
Albert Ammons   Track Performer
Peter Johnson   Track Performer
Ernest Tubb   Track Performer
Robert Lockwood   Track Performer
Dennis McGee   Track Performer
Cleoma Breaux   Track Performer
Howlin' Wolf   Track Performer
Son House   Track Performer
Robert Johnson   Track Performer
B.B. King   Track Performer
Robert Mirabal   Track Performer
Muddy Waters   Track Performer
Sister Rosetta Tharpe   Track Performer
Hank Williams   Track Performer
Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Track Performer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Track Performer
Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey   Track Performer
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver   Track Performer
Floyd Red Crow Westerman   Track Performer
Fisk University Jubilee Singers   Track Performer
Mark & Ann Savoy   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Willie Dixon   Composer
Mississippi John Hurt   Composer
Lead Belly   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Lefty Frizzell   Composer
Merle Travis   Composer
Doc Watson   Arranger
Woody Guthrie   Composer
Pete Seeger   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
W.C. Handy   Composer
Ernest Tubb   Composer
Walter Vinson   Composer
Jimmy Beck   Composer
Jim Ed Brown   Director,Producer,Executive Producer
A.P. Carter   Composer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Lonnie Chatmon   Composer
Edwin Hawkins   Arranger,Composer
Lee Hays   Composer
John A. Lomax   Composer
Jeff Rosen   Producer
Alan Silverman   Mastering
Hank Williams   Composer
Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Composer
Charles K. Wolfe   Writer,Liner Notes
Holly George-Warren   Liner Notes
John Swenson   Liner Notes
Merle Kilgore   Composer
Wiley Morris   Composer
Zeke Morris   Composer
Beth Middleworth   Cover Design
Manuel Pena   Liner Notes
Mark Weinberg   Art Direction
Richard Bauer   Executive Producer
Traditional   Composer
Robert Santelli   Liner Notes

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