Back Roads to Cold Mountain

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain is a powerful, widely celebrated novel that takes places during the Civil War. But Frazier's book is not about the war itself so much as the lives lived in the rural American South during its long dark night. Back Roads to Cold Mountain is a collection of music assembled by ethnomusicologist and roots musician John Cohen, featuring the songs, hollers, and hymns that served as inspiration for Frazier during the writing of his book. There are no modern, O Brother, Where Art Thou?-styled revisionings of the music from the Civil War era. Instead, Cohen went through the Smithsonian's and the Library of Congress's vast collections of field and...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain is a powerful, widely celebrated novel that takes places during the Civil War. But Frazier's book is not about the war itself so much as the lives lived in the rural American South during its long dark night. Back Roads to Cold Mountain is a collection of music assembled by ethnomusicologist and roots musician John Cohen, featuring the songs, hollers, and hymns that served as inspiration for Frazier during the writing of his book. There are no modern, O Brother, Where Art Thou?-styled revisionings of the music from the Civil War era. Instead, Cohen went through the Smithsonian's and the Library of Congress's vast collections of field and commercial recordings of a cappella narratives, string band songs, fiddle tunes, and sacred harp singing and assembled this volume from sources that were close to the originals. In other words, many of the performers here had learned these songs as hand-me-downs from their ancestors. They were familiar not only with tune, but style, arrangement, and grain. The end result is a 27-track collection of stunning music that is haunted, ghostly, raw, sparse and ultimately dignified in its presentation. What is particularly stunning is the brilliant sound of these recordings. Recorded between 1944 and 2002, these selections, assembled from previously released compilations and all but unheard field recording volumes, have something strange and unwieldy at their core. There are well known personages here like Roscoe Holcomb, Dock Boggs or Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, whose tunes from here have been heard before in other settings. But there are many more obscure entries, as well, from the wild wooly balladry and spoken word narration of Oscar Parks, the shambolic banjo blues of Dink Roberts, and the hunted, forlorn soul-searing darkness of Dorothy Melton, and the roof-raising joy of the Sacred Harp Singers. In either case, the effect is the same: one of true Otherness, where dislocation, quark strangeness, and untamed spirits gather in order to whisper, cry, moan, shout and laugh in a language that has not so much died as disappeared. Cohen's notes and annotations are fantastic, as always; they are not merely informative and authoritative, but offer because of his welcoming prose a glimpse of the ciphers themselves; they speak from the hollowed out place in his own heart that has been touched by these songs and the people who sang them. This is essential listening for anyone interested in authentic American roots musics.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/19/2004
  • Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • UPC: 093074014929
  • Catalog Number: 40149
  • Sales rank: 258,944

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Field Holler - T. J. Chesser (1:09)
  2. 2 I Wish My Baby Was Born (1:04)
  3. 3 Look Down That Lonesome Road - "Banjo" Bill Cornett (2:24)
  4. 4 Morning Sun - Sacred Harp Singers (1:59)
  5. 5 Camp Chase (2:57)
  6. 6 John Brown's Dream - Dacosta Woltz (2:42)
  7. 7 Bright Sunny South (3:40)
  8. 8 The Battle of Stone River - Oscar Parks (4:09)
  9. 9 Sweet Glories Rush Upon My Sight - Old Regular Baptists (4:40)
  10. 10 Roustabout (1:24)
  11. 11 Fox Race - Joe Patterson (1:21)
  12. 12 Jim and John - Lonnie & Ed Young (2:10)
  13. 13 The Day Is Past and Gone - Dorothy Melton (1:58)
  14. 14 Omie Wise (4:35)
  15. 15 The Silk Merchant's Daughter (1:59)
  16. 16 Hicks Farewell (3:52)
  17. 17 Three Little Babes - Texas Gladden (2:18)
  18. 18 Wayfaring Stranger - Bill Monroe (4:32)
  19. 19 Rank Stranger (3:11)
  20. 20 Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over - Fiddlin' John Carson (2:54)
  21. 21 And I Am Born to Die - Gaither Carlton (3:38)
  22. 22 Pullin' the Skiff - Ora Dell Graham (1:08)
  23. 23 Pumpkin Pie - Odell Thompson (2:54)
  24. 24 Give the Fiddler a Dram - James Crase (2:14)
  25. 25 Angel Band - Orna Ball (3:31)
  26. 26 The Old Man Below (1:36)
  27. 27 When Sorrows Encompass Me 'Round (4:11)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Bill Monroe Mandolin, Vocals
Peter Rowan Guitar, Vocals
Ralph Stanley Vocals
Doc Watson Vocals
Dock Boggs Banjo, Vocals
Roscoe Holcomb Vocals
Fiddlin' John Carson Track Performer
Dillard Chandler Vocals
Gaither Carlton Fiddle, Vocals
Carter Stanley Vocals
Odell Thompson Banjo, Fiddle
Tommy Jarrell Fiddle, Vocals
Fred Cockerham Fretless Banjo
Joe Patterson Quills
E.C. Ball Track Performer
Orna Ball Track Performer
Dink Roberts Vocals, 5-string Banjo
Ed Young Fife
French Carpenter Fiddle
Lonnie Young Bass Drums
Joe & Odell Thompson Banjo, Fiddle
Earl Johnson & His Dixie Entertainers Track Performer
G.D. Young Snare Drums
Texas Gladden Vocals
Dellie Norton Vocals
Richard Greene & Beryl Marriott Fiddle
Benny Jarrell Fiddle
Toby Breeding Leader
T. J. Chesser Vocals
"Banjo" Bill Cornett Banjo, Vocals
James Crase Fiddle, Vocals
Ora Dell Graham Vocals
Dorothy Melton Vocals
Oscar Parks Vocals
Dacosta Woltz Banjo
Technical Credits
Ralph Stanley Instrumentation
Mike Seeger Engineer
Roscoe Holcomb Instrumentation
Alan Lomax Engineer
Dillard Chandler Composer
John Cohen Producer, Engineer, Liner Notes, Concept, Annotation, Cover Photo
Charles Frazier Liner Notes
John Leland Composer
John A. Lomax Engineer
Wayne Martin Engineer
Ralph Rinzler Engineer
Carter Stanley Instrumentation
Albert E. Brumley Composer
Pete Reiniger Mastering
Art Rosenbaum Engineer
Ray Alden Engineer
Ed Young Composer
Leonard Stokes Cover Collage
Lonnie Young Composer
Cece Conway Engineer
Traditional Composer
Texas Gladden Arranger
Pat Dunford Engineer
Dellie Norton Composer
Jeff Todd Titon Engineer
Ken Davidson Engineer
"Banjo" Bill Cornett Engineer
Roger Haile Digital Photography
Francis Harper Engineer
Amelia Ramsey Engineer
Frederic Ramsey Jr. Engineer
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