BN.com Gift Guide

The Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
In 1952 a record collector and musicologist named Harry Smith put together some of his obscure findings, music recorded in various pockets of America between 1927 and 1934, and released them on Folkways Records as a six-disc set called The Anthology of American Folk Music. Many of the artists represented on these recordings had been long forgotten, if they had ever been acknowledged outside of their immediate region to begin with. But the songs they sang, and which Smith rescued from an almost certain death, had a gargantuan impact on the nascent folk revival of the 1950s and '60s -- which some, Smith among them, credit for helping to spark social change in the country ...
See more details below
CD (Bonus DVD / Special Packaging)
$49.95
BN.com price
(Save 3%)$51.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (CD)
  • All (3) from $37.50   
  • New (3) from $37.50   

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
In 1952 a record collector and musicologist named Harry Smith put together some of his obscure findings, music recorded in various pockets of America between 1927 and 1934, and released them on Folkways Records as a six-disc set called The Anthology of American Folk Music. Many of the artists represented on these recordings had been long forgotten, if they had ever been acknowledged outside of their immediate region to begin with. But the songs they sang, and which Smith rescued from an almost certain death, had a gargantuan impact on the nascent folk revival of the 1950s and '60s -- which some, Smith among them, credit for helping to spark social change in the country during that time -- and ultimately rock music as well. Artists from Bob Dylan to Jerry Garcia drew inspiration, if not material, from it; when the anthology was reissued in 1997, new attention was drawn to these cornerstone songs of Americana and to Smith, who had died in 1991, having finally received recognition for his pioneering efforts by the likes of the Grammys. In 1999 and 2001, producer Hal Willner, best known for his creative mixing and matching of talents on tributes to the likes of Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, and cartoon music composer Carl Stalling, curated three multi-artist concerts to pay tribute to Smith's anthology. The Harry Smith Project: Anthology of American Folk Music Revisted is a distillation of highlights from those shows, which were held in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and London. True to form, Willner selected an eclectic and impressive array of artists to reinterpret the ancient folk songs. The performers here come from the worlds not only of singer/songwriter folk but also of jazz, rock, and various hybrids thereof. Some of the performers stick closely to the song forms as presented on the original anthology; others reconfigure the music in their own image. Roswell Rudd, teamed with Sonic Youth, contemporizes "Dry Bones," attributed on the anthology to Bascom Lamar Lunsford, and Lou Reed's electrified "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (Blind Lemon Jefferson) retains that song's haunting quality while giving it an urban edge. David Johansen, who recorded a tribute album of his own in 2000 with a band he called the Harry Smiths, appears twice on the two-CD set, leading off the proceedings with "Old Dog Blue" (originally by Jim Jackson) and making a return appearance with "James Alley Blues" (Richard Brown) on disc two. Stellar performances abound, and the disparate styles coalesce seamlessly. Unsurprisingly, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Marianne Faithfull, Beck (doing Robert Johnson's "Last Fair Deal Gone Down"), Beth Orton, Wilco, Geoff Muldaur, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Van Dyke Parks, and Richard Thompson -- each of whom has acknowledged a debt to the dustier pages of music history -- all prove to be masterful and reverential. But some of the highlights come from unexpected sources: Nick Cave, who appears twice, brings an appropriate gospel piety to "John the Revelator" and David Thomas, ex-Pere Ubu, applies his larger-than-life persona to "Fishin' Blues" and "Way Down the Old Plank Road." Gavin Friday, formerly of the Virgin Prunes, and a jazz trio comprising Don Byron, Percy Heath, and Bill Frisell -- the latter contributing a wordless "This Song of Love" -- display the flexibility of the folk songs Smith brought to light. Accompanying the two audio CDs are two DVDs. The first, also available separately, presents highlights from the same concerts, augmented by explanatory commentary. A clip of faux-folkies the Folksmen, as previously seen in the film The Mighty Wind, brings a bit of humor to the program, and Ed Sanders of the Fugs (who also performs on the audio section) recalls a visit Smith paid to his home once, getting angry over a money issue and ripping up some books that Sanders kept all those years (and shows the audience). The fourth disc, also a DVD, is a Smith documentary, The Old Weird America: Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, that puts his work into perspective. In addition to interview clips from Johansen, the late poet Allen Ginsberg, Earle, and others, the film also screens some of Smith's own short films and offers vintage performance footage of folk acts like the New Lost City Ramblers, Roscoe Holcomb, and others. An outtake from the concerts features former Lovin' Spoonful leader John Sebastian, who also sings "Fishin' Blues," a song he once recorded with that group. As a companion piece to the anthology itself, this four-disc box set is a more than worthy successor.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/24/2006
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • UPC: 826663100419
  • Catalog Number: 10041
  • Sales rank: 76,640

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Old Dog Blue - David Johansen (3:52)
  2. 2 Prison Cell Blues (3:50)
  3. 3 James Alley Blues (4:24)
  4. 4 Frankie (4:44)
  5. 5 Last Fair Deal Gone Down (3:34)
  6. 6 Sugar Baby - Anna McGarrigle (4:30)
  7. 7 The Butcher's Boy - Elvis Costello (4:13)
  8. 8 Way Down the Old Plank Road (5:14)
  9. 9 The Coo Coo Bird (4:16)
  10. 10 My Baby Done Left Me (2:42)
  11. 11 John the Revelator - Nick Cave (3:07)
  12. 12 Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting? - Eric Mingus (4:30)
  13. 13 Dry Bones (10:07)
  14. 14 No Depression in Heaven (6:51)
  15. 15 K.C. Moan - Geoff Muldaur (6:36)
  16. 16 When the Great Ship Went Down - Maurice Seezer (5:35)
Disc 2
  1. 1 A Lazy Farmer Boy (3:01)
  2. 2 Sail Away Lady (3:00)
  3. 3 Poor Boy Blues - Geoff Muldaur (4:22)
  4. 4 Spike Driver Blues (2:46)
  5. 5 See That My Grave Is Kept Clean (7:29)
  6. 6 Ommie Wise, Pts. 1-2 (What Lewis Did Last...) - Kate McGarrigle (8:11)
  7. 7 Fatal Flower Garden - Gavin Friday (6:31)
  8. 8 I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground (5:31)
  9. 9 Fishing Blues (5:49)
  10. 10 He Got Better Things for You - Mary Margaret O'Hara (2:10)
  11. 11 Harry Goes a Courtin' (The Mowo! Live Hootenanny Throw-Down) (3:44)
  12. 12 The House Carpenter (5:14)
  13. 13 This Song of Love - Bill Frisell (7:51)
  14. 14 Shine on Me - Nick Cave (2:58)
  15. 15 James Alley Blues - David Johansen (4:27)
  16. 16 Single Girl, Married Girl (3:54)
Disc 3
  1. 1 The Butcher's Boy - Elvis Costello
  2. 2 Old Dog Blue - David Johansen
  3. 3 John the Revelator - Nick Cave
  4. 4 Last Fair Deal Gone Down
  5. 5 Sugar Baby - Anna McGarrigle
  6. 6 One Hot Night with Harry Smith
  7. 7 See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
  8. 8 Frankie
  9. 9 Dry Bones
  10. 10 Old Joe's Place - Folksmen
  11. 11 The House Carpenter
  12. 12 When That Great Ship Went Down - Maurice Seezer
  13. 13 √Čtude No. 10 - Philip Glass
  14. 14 James Alley Blues
  15. 15 Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting - Eric Mingus
  16. 16 Single Girl, Married Girl
  17. 17 The Coo Coo Bird
  18. 18 I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
  19. 19 Poor Boy Blues - Geoff Muldaur
  20. 20 This Song of Love - Bill Frisell
  21. 21 Ommie Wise, Pts. 1-2 (What Lewis Did Last...) - Kate McGarrigle
  22. 22 Prison Cell Blues
  23. 23 Fishing Blues
Disc 4
  1. 1 √Čtude No. 10 - Philip Glass
  2. 2 HS Tone Poem
  3. 3 Harry Goes a Courtin' (The Mowo! Live Hootenanny Throw Down)
  4. 4 Bonus Material
Read More Show Less

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joel Zifkin Violin, Track Performer
Technical Credits
Elvis Costello Author
Steve Earle Author
Anthony Marinelli Producer
Jeff Place Liner Notes
Hal Willner Producer, Liner Notes
Dave Collins Remastering
Robert Y. Kim Discographical Information
Mocean Worker Composer
Grant Alden Liner Notes
Harry Smith Author
Traditional Composer
Izzy Young Liner Notes
Adam Hyman Discographical Information
Emily Johnson Art Direction
Jeff Palo Producer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously