Essential Guide to American Roots

Essential Guide to American Roots

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This three-CD set might not be the essential guide to American roots music; how could even a 30-CD box be the be-all and end-all of that wide category? But for either a novice looking to sample some important artists in the field from pre-World War II days all the way up to the 21st century, or for a general listener just looking to have a very varied

Overview

This three-CD set might not be the essential guide to American roots music; how could even a 30-CD box be the be-all and end-all of that wide category? But for either a novice looking to sample some important artists in the field from pre-World War II days all the way up to the 21st century, or for a general listener just looking to have a very varied compilation of such sounds around the house, it's a reasonable collection. The package is divided into discs covering "legends," "pioneers" (who in reality are close in stature and recognition to the "legends"), and "contemporaries" whose tracks were mostly done in the decade or so prior to this anthology's 2006 release. The 42 tracks present selections that are largely both high-quality and representative recordings by many major figures in American folk, blues, country, zydeco, Tex-Mex, and roots rock. No one disputes the importance of the Carter Family, Robert Johnson, Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, John Lee Hooker, Dolly Parton, and Howlin' Wolf, and many of the other names (such as Jimmy Reed, Lydia Mendoza, Clifton Chenier, Elmore James, and the Flying Burrito Brothers) are only a little less important than those giants. If some of the listeners to this set are indeed just familiarizing themselves with vintage American roots music, to their credit the compilers also include strong material by names who might not be known to some of them. The great country harmonizers the Stanley Brothers, old-time musician Dock Boggs, blueswoman Big Mama Thornton, blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, "sacred steel" player Aubrey Ghent, and alt-country pioneer Jimmie Dale Gilmore are all here, for example. The songs by the bigger names are generally not among their most famous, and while just a few (Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry") were famous classics, there are also obscure surprises like Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard's close-harmony folk gem "The One I Love Is Gone" and Freddy Fender's Spanish-language cover of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" ("Vamos a Bailar"). The "contemporaries" disc can't help but sound weaker, if only because time has not yet enshrined the performers and material with a similar classic status. Still, several names familiar to the post-'90 alternative roots music scene put in appearances (Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams), and room is made for some more idiosyncratic choices by the likes of the Meat Puppets, Nathaniel Mayer (who does a stark bluesy cover of John Lennon's "I Found Out"), and Chris Hillman (with a folkier take on "Eight Miles High" than the psychedelic version done by his old band the Byrds). Unfortunately, the packaging is on the slim side, with a few notes about each song that unfortunately don't always include the original recording and release dates.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/19/2006
Label:
Essential Guide
UPC:
0698458260826
catalogNumber:
2608

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Theme/Cannon Ball Blues
  2. Come on in My Kitchen
  3. Pretty Boy Floyd
  4. The Rambler's Blues
  5. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
  6. Mal Hombre
  7. Oh Death
  8. The One I Love Is Gone
  9. Crowley Waltz
  10. Shake 'Em on Down
  11. Please Settle in Vietnam
  12. Folsom Prison Blues
  13. Crawlin' King Snake
  14. My Tennessee Mountain Home

Disc 2

  1. Mr. Highway Man (Cadillac Daddy)
  2. Vamos a Bailar
  3. Zydeco et Pas Sale
  4. Gimme a Penny
  5. Bright Lights, Big City
  6. Junco Partner
  7. En Bas du Chêne Vert
  8. Dust My Broom
  9. Poquita Fe
  10. Finger Lickin' Good
  11. Lonesome, On'ry & Mean
  12. Hot Burrito #1
  13. Ripple
  14. My Old Friend the Blues

Disc 3

  1. 8 Miles High
  2. Radio King
  3. Him Who Saved Me
  4. I'll Fly Away
  5. Grandmother and Mother's Legacy
  6. Don't Come the Cowboy with Me Sonny Jim
  7. Passionate Kisses
  8. Come Pick Me Up
  9. Oh Me
  10. Put You Down
  11. Praise Music
  12. I Found Out
  13. You Better Run
  14. The Canyon Symphony: Song for the Morning Star

Album Credits

Technical Credits

Charlie Musselwhite   Composer
Jimmy Reed   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Johnny Cash   Composer
Dolly Parton   Composer
Steve Young   Composer
Woody Guthrie   Composer
R. Carlos Nakai   Composer
Gene Clark   Composer
Steve Earle   Composer
Jerry Garcia   Composer
John Lennon   Composer
Lucinda Williams   Composer
Billy Williams   Arranger
Robert Hunter   Composer
Chip Taylor   Composer
Dock Boggs   Composer
Junior Kimbrough   Composer
Howlin' Wolf   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
David Crosby   Composer
Alejandro Escovedo   Composer
Lightnin' Hopkins   Composer
Robert Johnson   Composer
Gary Louris   Composer
Roger McGuinn   Composer
D.L. Menard   Composer
Jeff Tweedy   Composer
Hank Williams   Composer
Curt Kirkwood   Composer
Albert E. Brumley   Composer
Ryan Adams   Composer
Vanessa Alston   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Radmilla Cody   Composer
Garth Cartwright   Liner Notes

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