Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard

by Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard
     
 
The second Rounder date by singers and songwriters Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard was issued two years after the first. Dickens and Gerrard's songs are showcased here alongside those of the Louvin Brothers, Jack Sutton, and some early traditional gems. The amazing thing is that these women's songs

Overview

The second Rounder date by singers and songwriters Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard was issued two years after the first. Dickens and Gerrard's songs are showcased here alongside those of the Louvin Brothers, Jack Sutton, and some early traditional gems. The amazing thing is that these women's songs could have been written in the 19th century as well as earlier in the 20th. Dickens' songs -- such as "Working Girl Blues," "West Virginia My Home," and "Ramblin' Woman" -- come from the hardscrabble coal country where the old mountain music lives on in banjos, mandolins, and guitars. Gerrard is a more traditional country and folk songwriter; her tunes -- such as the gorgeous "Mama's Gonna Stay" and "Mary Johnson" -- are stitched through with pedal steel guitars alongside acoustic guitars that come from the honky tonk tradition. What is remarkable is how natural the pair sounds no matter what they're singing. Dickens' voice is more striking and dramatic, but there is a certain smoky, haunted sensuality in Gerrard's that makes it very distinct. Both are flawless harmony singers. Neither woman takes any sh*t; these are not broken-heart songs in any normal sense. Gerrard's "Mary Johnson" is a feminist anthem about a woman's right to stop for a drink in a bar and not entertain the foul intentions of men: "What you see as want in my eyes in merely the reflection in your own." Dickens' "Ramblin' Woman Blues" states: "Take all that sweet talk and give it to give other girl/Who'd be happy to rock your babies/And live in your kind of world/For I'm a different kind of woman/Got a different set of plans/You know a ramblin' woman's/No good for a home lovin' man." The Louvin Brothers' "When I Loved You" and Jimmie Rodgers' "Mean Papa Blues" are innovative and soulful rearrangements in harmony. But it's Gerrard's slippery, hunted banjo and dulcimer in "Beaufort Jail" that's a clockstopper here. Both Rounder albums by this duo are indispensable for country and bluegrass fans, and perhaps, in retrospect, the latter effort might be the better of the two.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/14/1998
Label:
Rounder Select
UPC:
0011661005426
catalogNumber:
54

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