Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
When artist and anthropologist Harry Smith released his three-volume ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC in 1952, he turned on a generation of young musicians including an impressed Bob Dylan to American folk music. Smith intended his anthology to consist of four volumes, yet the final collection was never released -- until now. VOLUME 4 consists of 28 performances culled from Smith's extensive stash of blues, country, and gospel 78's, and it is every bit as essential as the first three. While the original anthology focused on the 1920s, VOLUME 4 finds Smith immersed in the music of the 1930s. The listener is immediately struck by the changes wrought by the intervening years. First, many of the songs on VOLUME 4 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble
When artist and anthropologist Harry Smith released his three-volume ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC in 1952, he turned on a generation of young musicians including an impressed Bob Dylan to American folk music. Smith intended his anthology to consist of four volumes, yet the final collection was never released -- until now. VOLUME 4 consists of 28 performances culled from Smith's extensive stash of blues, country, and gospel 78's, and it is every bit as essential as the first three. While the original anthology focused on the 1920s, VOLUME 4 finds Smith immersed in the music of the 1930s. The listener is immediately struck by the changes wrought by the intervening years. First, many of the songs on VOLUME 4 grapple with the devastation of the Depression. Explicit wails such as Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?" and the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven" witness the economic desperation of the times. Others, such as the Blue Sky Boy's spine-chilling "Down on the Banks of the Ohio," belie a more diffused sense of dread. The 1930s selections also show familiar musical genres taking shape. Robert Johnson delivers his prototypical country blues on "Last Fair Deal Gone Down," and the Monroe Brothers' "Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy" sounds more like a bluegrass predecessor than like the 19th-century echoes so prevalent on the first volumes. Add selections from Leadbelly, Uncle Dave Macon, gospel singer Sister Clara Hudmon, and some great jug bands, and the ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC, VOL. 4 is the best time machine around. Harry Smith, who died in 1991, has again transported us to a time when American music was raw, strange, and powerful enough to keep the devil or the repo man at bay. Do not miss this stark and startling collection. Karl Hagstrom Miller
All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The Harry Smith-compiled three-volume Anthology of American Folk Music set, originally released in the 1950s and reissued to much brouhaha in 1997, was one of the most important records in launching the folk revival. It was not well known, though, that Smith compiled a fourth volume that was unissued. Revenant finally put it out in 2000, and like its three predecessors, it contains classic pre-World War II American country, blues, and folk music, with some gospel and Cajun too. It does differ from the first three volumes in its focus on a slightly later period, with all the tracks culled from the years 1928-1940. Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Joe Williams, Bukka White, Memphis Minnie, and John Estes are all major blues artists; the Monroe Brothers, the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, and the Blue Sky Boys all giant country/bluegrass pioneers; and the Hackberry Ramblers are one of the pre-eminent Cajun groups. A few of these songs are archetypes that have burned their way into the American collective musical consciousness: John Estes' "Milk Cow Blues," the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven," Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go," and the Monroe Brothers' "Nine Pound Hammer Is Too Heavy." Other less famous performances are quite intriguing, like Sister Clara Hudmon's "Stand By Me" believed by some to be Bessie Smith recording under a pseudonym and Jesse James' raw and rollicking piano blues "Southern Casey Jones." At 28 songs spread over two CDs, it's a little shorter than might be expected for a box set, though as compensation, it's enclosed in a pretty incredible 96-page liner-note-sized hardcover book with writing by Dick Spottswood and John Fahey.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/23/2000
  • Label: Revenant Records
  • UPC: 630814021122
  • Catalog Number: 211
  • Sales rank: 367,172

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sleepy John Estes Track Performer
Lead Belly Track Performer
Memphis Jug Band Track Performer
Memphis Minnie Track Performer
Bukka White Track Performer
Hackberry Ramblers Track Performer
The Blue Sky Boys Track Performer
The Carter Family Track Performer
Uncle Dave Macon Track Performer
Blind Alfred Reed Track Performer
The Heavenly Gospel Singers Track Performer
Bradley Kincaid Track Performer
The Monroe Brothers Track Performer
Roosevelt Graves and Brother Track Performer
Robert Johnson Track Performer
The Four Aces Track Performer
J.E. Mainer's Mountaineers Track Performer
Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band Track Performer
Minnie Wallace Track Performer
Joe Williams' Washboard Blues Singers Track Performer
Arthur Smith Trio Track Performer
Mississippi Jook Band Track Performer
Al Hopkins & His Bucklebusters Track Performer
Jesse James Track Performer
Technical Credits
Big Bill Broonzy Composer
Lead Belly Composer
Uncle Dave Macon Composer
Merle Travis Composer
Blind Alfred Reed Composer
Alan Lomax Composer
Charlie Burse Composer
A.P. Carter Composer
John A. Lomax Composer
Will Shade Composer
Alfred Reed Composer
Harry Smith Producer
Traditional Composer
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