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Essential Guide to American Roots

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/19/2006
  • Label: Essential Guide
  • UPC: 698458260826
  • Catalog Number: 2608

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Theme/Cannon Ball Blues - The Carter Family (2:20)
  2. 2 Come on in My Kitchen - Robert Johnson (2:51)
  3. 3 Pretty Boy Floyd - Woody Guthrie (3:03)
  4. 4 The Rambler's Blues - The Stanley Brothers (2:48)
  5. 5 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams (2:49)
  6. 6 Mal Hombre - Lydia Mendoza (4:03)
  7. 7 Oh Death - Dock Boggs (3:21)
  8. 8 The One I Love Is Gone - Alice Gerrard (3:12)
  9. 9 Crowley Waltz - Hackberry Ramblers (2:14)
  10. 10 Shake 'Em on Down - Johnny Woods (3:07)
  11. 11 Please Settle in Vietnam - Lightnin' Hopkins (4:12)
  12. 12 Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash (2:50)
  13. 13 Crawlin' King Snake - John Lee Hooker (2:46)
  14. 14 My Tennessee Mountain Home - Dolly Parton (3:04)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Mr. Highway Man (Cadillac Daddy) - Howling Wolf Orchestra (2:28)
  2. 2 Vamos a Bailar - Freddy Fender (2:14)
  3. 3 Zydeco et Pas Sale - Clifton Chenier (3:15)
  4. 4 Gimme a Penny - Muddy Waters Blues Band (4:36)
  5. 5 Bright Lights, Big City - Jimmy Reed (2:42)
  6. 6 Junco Partner - James Booker (5:10)
  7. 7 En Bas du Chêne Vert - D.L. Menard & The Louisiana Aces (4:17)
  8. 8 Dust My Broom - Sonny Boy Williamson [II] (2:48)
  9. 9 Poquita Fe - Flaco Jiménez (4:17)
  10. 10 Finger Lickin' Good - Charlie Musselwhite (3:58)
  11. 11 Lonesome, On'ry & Mean - Steve Young (3:38)
  12. 12 Hot Burrito #1 - The Flying Burrito Brothers (3:41)
  13. 13 Ripple - Jimmie Dale Gilmore (4:49)
  14. 14 My Old Friend the Blues - Steve Earle (3:09)
Disc 3
  1. 1 8 Miles High - Chris Hillman (4:07)
  2. 2 Radio King - Golden Smog (3:12)
  3. 3 Him Who Saved Me - Carrie Rodriguez (4:40)
  4. 4 I'll Fly Away - Gillian Welch (2:57)
  5. 5 Grandmother and Mother's Legacy - Radmilla Cody (3:27)
  6. 6 Don't Come the Cowboy with Me Sonny Jim - Kelly Willis (3:57)
  7. 7 Passionate Kisses - Lucinda Williams (2:39)
  8. 8 Come Pick Me Up - Ryan Adams (5:18)
  9. 9 Oh Me - Meat Puppets (3:03)
  10. 10 Put You Down - Alejandro Escovedo (5:49)
  11. 11 Praise Music - Aubrey Ghent (3:46)
  12. 12 I Found Out - Nathaniel Mayer (4:06)
  13. 13 You Better Run - Junior Kimbrough (7:37)
  14. 14 The Canyon Symphony: Song for the Morning Star - R. Carlos Nakai (4:15)
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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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