The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in American Ballads

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Assembled by Sean Wilents and Greil Marcus to accompany the book of the same title, The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in American Ballads is organized around the central question, "What does the American ballad say about America?" Well, judging from the selections collected, it would appear that America no surprise here is most obsessed with love and death and the attendant subplots of murder and betrayal, with an occasional train or car wreck tossed in for metaphorical value if you move too fast you'll pay dearly..... The selections range from vintage 1920s and 1930s 78s, including Clarence Ashley's mysterious riddle of gambling and false-hearted love, "The...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Assembled by Sean Wilents and Greil Marcus to accompany the book of the same title, The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in American Ballads is organized around the central question, "What does the American ballad say about America?" Well, judging from the selections collected, it would appear that America no surprise here is most obsessed with love and death and the attendant subplots of murder and betrayal, with an occasional train or car wreck tossed in for metaphorical value if you move too fast you'll pay dearly..... The selections range from vintage 1920s and 1930s 78s, including Clarence Ashley's mysterious riddle of gambling and false-hearted love, "The Cuckoo," and two chilly Appalachian murder ballads, "Ommie Wise" its melody, sped-up, later morphed into "Wabash Cannonball" by fiddler G.B. Grayson and "Pretty Polly" by the Coon Creek Girls, to more recent fare by Randy Newman "Sail Away", Bruce Springsteen "Nebraska", and Bob Dylan "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts". Also worth noting are Jean Ritchie's unaccompanied "Barbary Allen" from 1961, the Handsome Family's restructuring of Paul Muldoon's "Blackwatertown" in turn based on the melody of "Streets of Laredo", and Jan & Dean's classic tale of speed beyond reason, "Dead Man's Curve." Toss in Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and a rock remake of "Wreck of the Old 97" by John Mellencamp, and the result is an odd, disjointed sequence that is more of an academic conception than it is a musical one. But that is actually the strength of The Rose and the Briar, since it forces listeners to make large leaps to connect the dots, and reminds everyone that tradition or in its extreme form, obsession carries its DNA forward in surprising ways.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/2004
  • Label: Sony Mod - Afw Line
  • UPC: 827969286623
  • Catalog Number: 92866
  • Sales rank: 112,645

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Barbary Allen (5:03)
  2. 2 Pretty Polly (2:49)
  3. 3 Ommie Wise (3:11)
  4. 4 Little Maggie - Snakefarm (3:07)
  5. 5 Frankie (3:23)
  6. 6 Deliah's Gone (2:51)
  7. 7 Wreck of the Old 97 - John Mellencamp (3:58)
  8. 8 Dead Man's Curve (3:00)
  9. 9 Buddy Bolden's Blues (I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say) - Jelly Roll Morton (2:46)
  10. 10 The Coo Coo Bird - Clarence Ashley (2:57)
  11. 11 Volver, Volver - Vicente Fernández (2:58)
  12. 12 The Foggy Dew (2:18)
  13. 13 Black, Brown & Beige, Pt. IV (Come Sunday) (7:57)
  14. 14 El Paso (4:40)
  15. 15 Trial of Mart Maguire - Bobby Patterson (3:03)
  16. 16 Down from Dover (3:48)
  17. 17 Sail Away (2:53)
  18. 18 Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts - Bob Dylan (8:51)
  19. 19 Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen (4:29)
  20. 20 Blackwatertown (4:05)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Mississippi John Hurt Guitar, Vocals
Glen Campbell Electric Guitar
Dolly Parton Vocals
Marty Robbins Guitar, Vocals
Burl Ives Guitar, Vocals
Jean Ritchie Vocals
P.F. Sloan Background Vocals
Mahalia Jackson Vocals
Bob Dylan Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Randy Newman Piano, Vocals
Bruce Springsteen Guitar, Harmonica
Cat Anderson Trumpet
Paul Gonsalves Tenor Saxophone
Jelly Roll Morton Piano, Vocals
Ray Nance Trumpet, Violin
Jimmy Woode Bass
Anna Domino Guitar, Vocals
Pete Drake Steel Guitar
Bobby Patterson Electric Guitar, Vocals
Jim Glaser Background Vocals
Grady Martin Guitar
Russell Procope Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
Vicente Fernández Vocals
Tony Glover Harp
Charles Trénet Tambourine
Quentin Jackson Trombone
Britt Woodman Trombone
Joe Babcock Background Vocals
Harold Baker Trumpet
Hal Blaine Drums
Steve Barri Background Vocals
Jan Berry Vocals
Harry Carney Baritone Saxophone
Clark Terry Trumpet
Duke Ellington Piano
Bobby Dyson Bass
Dolores Edgin Background Vocals
Bill Graham Alto Saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton Clarinet
Bill Hinshaw French Horn
Jim Isbell Drums
"Spider" John Koerner Harp, Vocals, 12-string Guitar, Soloist
Cappy Lewis Trumpet
Paul Mahern Drums
John Mellencamp Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
June Page Background Vocals
Dorothy Remsen Harp
Emil Richards Percussion
John Sanders Trombone
Tony Terran Trumpet
Mike Wanchic Bass, Accordion, Electric Guitar, Guitar (Baritone)
Sam Woodyard Drums
Vincent DeRosa French Horn
Emil Newman Conductor
Louis Dunn Drums
Lily May Ledford Banjo, Vocals
Rosie Ledford Guitar
Jack Pruett Rhythm Guitar
Bob Moore Bass
Fred Carter Jr. Electric Guitar
G.B. Grayson Fiddle, Vocals
Dean Torrence Vocals
Dave Ray Slide Guitar
Brett Sparks Vocals, Multi Instruments
Michel Delory Dobro, Classical Guitar
Bobby Sykes Background Vocals
George W. McCormick Rhythm Guitar
Clarence Ashley Banjo, Vocals
Bobby Simpson Saxophone
Ronnie "Sugar Boy" Brewster Drums
Michael Fugett Bass
Bill Pittman Bass
Technical Credits
Dolly Parton Composer
Marty Robbins Composer
Bob Dylan Composer
Randy Newman Composer
Bruce Springsteen Composer
Anna Domino Sequencers
Bobby Patterson Producer
Alan Lomax Producer
Jan Berry Composer, Producer
Bob Ferguson Producer
Kenneth S. Goldstein Producer
Frank Jones Producer
Don Law Producer
Paul Mahern Engineer
John Mellencamp Arranger, Producer
Russ Titelman Producer
Irving Townsend Producer
Mike Wanchic Producer
Lenny Waronker Producer
B.J. Wilson Composer
Artie Kornfeld Composer
Greil Marcus Liner Notes
G.B. Grayson Composer
Howard Fritzson Art Direction
Vic Anesini Mastering
Brett Sparks Producer
Fernando Z. Maldonado Composer
Michel Delory Producer, drum programming
Mark Trehus Producer
Traditional Composer
J.C. Carroll Composer
Roger Christian Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Musical meditation on the American ballad

    This collection is notable for a few reasons. The like-named book, featuring essays, memoirs and short-stories from a number of musicians, writers and artists provides the script for which these tracks constitute a performance. As a stand-alone, this CD paints a rich history of the American ballad, drawing a thread through works from 1928 to the present day. And as a new release, this disc features purpose-made recordings by Snakefarm, John Mellencamp and The Handsome Family that illuminate new sides of well-worn tunes. ¶ As another reviewer has commented, the single-mindedness and length of this disc (78+ minutes) feels like a college radio DJ whose meticulously planned theme set has gone about 45 minutes too long. On the other hand, the track selections finely mix the obscure and well-known, bringing the former to the foreground and recontextualizing the latter. Jan & Dean's "Dead Man's Curve," for instance, finds a link to tradition that broadens its original appeal as teen pop, and Marty Robbins' "El Paso" strengthens its bond to the roots of American storytelling - rather than the Western nostalgia with which it was originally recorded. ¶ The three newly recorded tracks are all quite noteworthy. Snakefarm creates a modern-raga from the traditional "Little Maggie," John Mellencamp weighs heavily on the death and grief underlying "Wreck of the Old '97," and Paul Muldoo explores the tradition of rewriting with "Blackwatertown," rewriting "The Streets of Laredo," which rewrote "St. James Infirmary," which rewrote "The Unfortunate Rake," which rewrote "The Bard of Armagh." ¶ At this length, the set is a bit taxing to track through in its entirety. Still, the strength of the selections provides a wealth of musical tradition whether played in order or sampled for favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Romantic, nostalgic or sentimental themes

    Time – 78:07 -- Simply, a ballad is a narrative poem put to music and meant to be sung. The themes most often found in American ballads are romantic, nostalgic or sentimental in some respect. Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus served as editors for this collection of historic and contemporary ballads. Some like “Ommie Wise,” “Frankie” and “The Coo Coo Bird” were recorded in the 1920s, while tracks 4, 7 and 20 are previously unreleased songs just recorded in 2004. Sean Wilentz, a history professor at Princeton University, also serves as historian-in-residence at Bob Dylan's official website. Greil Marcus was an Old Dominion Fellow at Princeton in 2002, and he now lives in Berkeley, Ca. Both realized the importance of the ballad in America’s history, and they identified a need to capture (in a book and CD) a representation of this important musical art form. In the accompanying book, Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus have assembled an impressive group of writers and artists to assist them. Some include Paul Muldoon, Stanley Crouch, R. Crumb, Jon Langford, John Rockwell, Luc Sante, Joyce Carol Oates, and Dave Marsh. Many other novelists, essayists, performers, and critics also helped. They analyze and delve into the transcendent beauty and lasting power of the ballad. In the book (with its 25 illustrations), the collaborators provide a scholarly overview of America's most imaginative and expressive form. The CD that accompanies the book has many popular ballads such as "Barbara Allen" and "The Wreck of the Old 97." Even more contemporary ballads from Bob Dylan, Marty Robbins, Dolly Parton, Randy Newman and Bruce Springsteen are also included. The jump from a 1927 recording of “Ommie Wise” at track 3 to the Anna Domino’s 2004 rendition of “Little Maggie” at track 4 shows an interesting juxtaposition of the traditional vs. the contemporary. The book presents a variety of art and commentary about stories and storytellers balladry We can learn a lot about the history of our country and our America beliefs from studying about love, death, family, faith and liberty in these poetic songs. But where are all the train-themed and western ballads that we love so well? My hat’s off to these musicologists who present an historical overview of a significant part of our nation’s musical heritage. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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