Songs of the Smoky Mountains by Roy Acuff
Re-recordings of an artist's classic songs rarely pack the punch of the originals, but Roy Acuff managed that neat trick on 1955's Songs of the Smoky Mountains, reissued in 1966 as The Best of Roy Acuff -- and released once again in 2002 as Songs of the Smoky Mountains. On these cuts (many of them reprises of his groundbreaking sides for OKeh and Columbia in the '30s and '40s), Acuff had two things going for him: a passionate and talented band, the Smoky Mountain Boys, and his own demanding work ethic. Certainly, the original versions of "The Great Speckled Bird" and "Wabash Cannonball" are country music essentials, but the new interpretations here are gripping, even transporting, in their own right. Acuff gives a gut-wrenching reading of Dorsey Dixon's powerful death ballad, "Wreck on the Highway," that brooks comparison with Ralph Stanley's monumental performance of "O Death" (from O Brother, Where Art Thou?). Elsewhere, he anguishes over lost love ("Pins and Needles (In My Heart)," recounts the final days in the vivid sung/spoken verses of "The Great Judgment Morning," and, on a lighter note, celebrates with the ebullient hoedown "Night Train to Memphis," which backs a spirited, driving vocal with a cheering background chorus, brisk fiddle solos, and buoyant rinky-tink piano solos. These re-recordings stand tall alongside the originals, assuring Songs of the Smoky Mountains a prominent place in this country music giant's estimable catalogue.
- Release Date:
- Dualtone Music Group
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews