Songcatcher II: The Tradition That Inspired the Movie

Songcatcher II: The Tradition That Inspired the Movie

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If the soundtrack to the 2001 indie film Songcatcher introduced audiences to old-time mountain music via stirring performances from Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and others, the vintage tracks on this companion volume take a step farther back in time. Songcatcher II dusts off 17 gems from the Vanguard vaults, centuries-old songs emanating from English,…  See more details below

Overview

If the soundtrack to the 2001 indie film Songcatcher introduced audiences to old-time mountain music via stirring performances from Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and others, the vintage tracks on this companion volume take a step farther back in time. Songcatcher II dusts off 17 gems from the Vanguard vaults, centuries-old songs emanating from English, Scottish, and Irish folk sources, several from live recordings made at the Newport Folk Festival in the early 1960s. In a few cases, the album spotlights little-known talents, such as the captivating '60s ballad singer Almeda Riddle, whose four a cappella performances here are mesmerizing. Fiddlin' Arthur Smith isn't an oft-spoken name anymore, but his style and folksy manner -- vividly captured on the ancient English-Scottish folk song "Leather Britches" -- have made an incalculable impact on bluegrass fiddling. Hobart Smith, one of the bluesiest folk singers of his day, showcases both his engaging voice and fiery banjo stylings on an earthy live track, "The Coo Coo Bird." Turn-of-the-century protest singer Sarah Ogan Gunning will nail listeners to the wall with her reworking of "Man of Constant Sorrow" into "Girl of Constant Sorrow," a brutal account of the deprivations suffered by a miner's family. Doc Watson dominates the proceedings with four stellar performances (his "Winter's Night" will bring chills), but Dock Boggs, Clarence Ashley, and Roscoe Holcomb all make memorable appearances. Accompanying herself on autoharp, Maybelle Carter closes things out with "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies," her voice parched and yearning, her immersion complete in this cautionary tale of fleeting love. What a gift that these songs have been caught once again for a new generation.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Zac Johnson
The 2001 film Songcatcher told a semi-fictional story of a field musicologist who "discovers" authentic English and Scottish folk ballads being sung by people in the Appalachian region of the United States. The film (along with another popular film of the time) kindled interest in the old-timey music spotlighted in the movies, and due to popular demand Vanguard released a compilation of the original versions of the songs that ended up being re-recorded for the soundtrack. Legendary artists like Dock Boggs, Almeda Riddle, Doc Watson, and Roscoe Holcomb all contribute some of the best-known folk ballads of the era, including "Black Jack Davey," "Pretty Saro," "House Carpenter," and a gripping version of "Matty Groves." Although Songcatcher was set near the turn of the century, these gems from Vanguard's vaults are mostly from the '60s folk revival festival circuit, and although they offer crisp sound quality and strong presence, these artist's true golden recordings were done in the '20s and '30s. The 1927 recordings of the young and hungry Dock Boggs singing "Sugar Baby" blow away the versions of the same song 40 years later, as is the case with Clarence Ashley, Mother Maybelle Carter, and every other performer on this disc (with the exception of Watson, who will be equally astounding until the day he dies, and then beyond). Still, this is a spectacular folk revival collection, perfect for those who enjoyed the music in the movie but were disappointed with the contemporary updates on the film's soundtrack.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/07/2002
Label:
Vanguard Records
UPC:
0015707971621
catalogNumber:
79716
Rank:
69714

Related Subjects

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Doc Watson   Track Performer
Dock Boggs   Track Performer
Roscoe Holcomb   Track Performer
Sarah Ogan Gunning   Track Performer
Almeda Riddle   Track Performer
Mother Maybelle Carter   Track Performer
Cousin Emmy   Track Performer
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith   Track Performer
Hobart Smith   Track Performer
Clarence Ashley   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Sheila Adams   Liner Notes
John Currie   Liner Notes
Georgette Cartwright   Executive Producer
Fred Jasper   Liner Notes

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Songcatcher II: The Tradition That Inspired the Movie 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The original Songcatcher is wonderful. It really caught my ear. Songcatcher II is a bait and switch rip-off sequel. Don't waste your money. It sounds like something recorded in a barn fifty years ago. I don't care if the artist and music are ''original'', they didn't have it then and they don't have it now. There is no harmony, the instrumentals are puny and most of all there is no Emmy Lou Harris, Dolly Parton, Emmy Rossum and Iris Dement. These artist are successful for a reason. The Bluegrass revival is strong, not because the original artist were great, but because the current artist are great. Dock who?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This music is awesome for a fan of ''old timey'' songs. I grew up listening to my relatives singing these songs on the porch after supper or on long car trips. When we get together, my brother, sister and I talk about who sang which song(s) best. It is a precious trip ''home'' to childhood. The ''old folks'' are all gone now - these songs, in their primative format keep their favorite passtime (singing) alive!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's interesting from this to see that there are still variations of all of these songs out there. My mother used to sing "Babes in the Woods" to us as a lullaby (my older sister questioned the appropriateness when we were older), but the words she sang were more than a little different from the version here. I also sang it to my children, now entering their teens. I knew a lot of the other songs during my growing up. It was interesting hearing the old timey versions, but I knew people who sang them in more ballad style. It was still neat to hear.