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American Roots: A History of American Folk Music

American Roots: A History of American Folk Music


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Dutch discount reissue label Disky's four-CD box set American Roots: A History of American Folk Music is an ambitious undertaking, at least as far as sheer length is concerned. In other respects, it can be considered skimpy: the packaging is negligible; there are no annotations beyond song titles, artist and songwriter credits, and copyright dates; and the


Dutch discount reissue label Disky's four-CD box set American Roots: A History of American Folk Music is an ambitious undertaking, at least as far as sheer length is concerned. In other respects, it can be considered skimpy: the packaging is negligible; there are no annotations beyond song titles, artist and songwriter credits, and copyright dates; and the selections, probably mastered from records, often have a primitive sound quality. But the compilation still manages to be an exhaustive collection of vital American acoustic music. Three of the four discs consist of music that today would be referred to as "country," though in its day it was called "hillbilly," and for a period in the 1940s actually was known as folk music. Running from 1927 to 1948, the roughly chronological selections trace some of its earliest recorded manifestations to the beginnings of the modern country music industry. The major early names in country music are extensively represented, with many well-known songs included. Country music is not generally thought of in the same category as folk music in America, if only for political reasons. It may have taken a Dutch compilation to point out the musical similarities by devoting CD four to the urban folk singers of the 1940s (Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger), who borrowed many of their tunes from hillbilly predecessors. After listening to the earlier discs, the concordances are inescapable; you can tell that the city-based folkies deliberately based their approach on rural forebears who wouldn't have thought much of their political views. It seems that, while American record labels continue to assert copyright claims on this material domestically, Europeans are free to consider anything more than 50 years old as in the public domain. But that doesn't explain why American Roots is being readily imported into the U.S., where it was sold for less than $30 by one mail-order firm beginning in 2000. At that price, it's a remarkable bargain, making available a wealth of vintage country and folk material that is difficult to come by in any form, much less gathered into one box set. On that basis, American Roots can be highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
Disky Records


Disc 1

  1. Peach Pickin' Time in Georgia
  2. Sail Away Ladies
  3. Wildwood Flower
  4. Trail to Mexico
  5. The Runaway Train
  6. When the Saints Go Marching In
  7. All Night Long
  8. Red Wing
  9. I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
  10. Goin' to the Barn Dance Tonight
  11. Go Long Mule
  12. Frankie and Johnny
  13. Three Men Went a Huntin'
  14. My Man's a Jolly Railroad Man
  15. Waiting for a Train
  16. Georgia's Three-Dollar Tag
  17. Jamestown Exhibition
  18. Lay Down Baby, Take Your Rest
  19. Backwater Blues
  20. Wreck of the Old '97
  21. The Little Old Sod Shanty on My Claim
  22. Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow
  23. In the Hills of Tennessee
  24. Ida Red
  25. Alto Waltz

Disc 2

  1. John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man
  2. Gambling Bar Room Blues
  3. Little Bessie
  4. Roll in My Sweet Baby's Arms
  5. I'm Goin' Away in the Morn
  6. Papa's Billy Goat
  7. Hackberry Trot
  8. Abbeville Breakdown
  9. Tiger Rag Blues
  10. Louisiana Mazurka
  11. Step It Fast
  12. High Steppin' Mama Blues
  13. T for Texas (Blue Yodel No. 1)
  14. Anchored in Love
  15. Jimmie Rodgers Visits the Carter Family
  16. Hard for to Love
  17. The Yellow Rose of Texas
  18. The Brave Engineer
  19. Taxes on the Farmer Feeds Them All
  20. Hold the Woodpile Down
  21. Man of Constant Sorrow
  22. Rambling Boy
  23. My Little Lady
  24. Two Italians...Red Bird

Disc 3

  1. Orange Blossom Special
  2. Brown's Ferry Blues
  3. Row Us over the Tide
  4. Big Rock Candy Mountain
  5. Oklahoma Hills
  6. Nine Pound Hammer
  7. Cannonball Rag
  8. Red River Valley
  9. Mule Skinner Blues
  10. Great Speckled Bird
  11. Take It to the Captain
  12. Garden in the Sky
  13. Ain't That a Cryin' Shame
  14. Milk Cow Blues
  15. When My Blue Moon Turns Gold Agian
  16. Footprints in the Snow
  17. You Can't Do Wrong and Get By
  18. Why Should It End This Way?
  19. Cotton-Eyed Joe
  20. Night Train to Memphis
  21. You Are My Sunshine
  22. Rounder's Blues
  23. Rocky Road Blues
  24. Wabash Cannonball
  25. It Makes No Difference Now
  26. Pig Meat Strut
  27. No Letter in the Mail

Disc 4

  1. This Land Is Your Land
  2. House of the Rising Sun
  3. Grand Coulee Dam
  4. John Henry
  5. All I Want
  6. Talking Union
  7. Teeroo Teeroo
  8. I Know an Old Lady
  9. Columbus Stockade
  10. The Sinking of the Reuben James
  11. Boll Weevil Blues
  12. Away Rio
  13. The Coast of High Barbary
  14. Jackhammer Blues
  15. Liza Jane
  16. Pastures of Plenty
  17. Cumberland Gap
  18. Casey Jones
  19. Cumberland Mountain Bear Chase
  20. So Long (It's Been Good to Know Yuh)
  21. Union Maid
  22. Hard, Ain't It Hard
  23. Erie Canal
  24. Pretty Boy Floyd
  25. State of Arkansas
  26. Worried Man Blues
  27. Deliver the Goods
  28. Do-Re-Mi

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Hackberry Ramblers   Track Performer
Gene Autry   Track Performer
Blue Sky Boys   Track Performer
Carter Family   Track Performer
Delmore Brothers   Track Performer
Uncle Dave Macon   Track Performer
Jimmie Rodgers   Track Performer
Merle Travis   Track Performer
Johnnie Lee Wills   Track Performer
Woody Guthrie   Track Performer
Cisco Houston   Track Performer
Burl Ives   Track Performer
Pete Seeger   Track Performer
Almanac Singers   Track Performer
Jack Guthrie   Track Performer
Rice Brothers   Track Performer
Riley Puckett   Track Performer
Vernon Dalhart   Track Performer
Fiddlin' John Carson   Track Performer
Tommy Duncan   Track Performer
Lee Hays   Track Performer
Bayless Rose   Track Performer
Sonny Terry   Track Performer
Amédé Breaux   Track Performer
Buster Carter   Track Performer
Gene Sullivan   Track Performer
Preston Young   Track Performer
Emry Arthur   Track Performer
Moonshine Kate   Track Performer
Wiley Walker   Track Performer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Track Performer
Bill Monroe & His Bluegrass Boys   Track Performer
Jimmy Long   Track Performer
Curly Parker   Track Performer
Tarlton Walker   Track Performer
Carver Boys   Track Performer
Alley Boys of Abbeville   Track Performer
Darby   Track Performer
Alabama Barnstormers   Track Performer
Breaux Fréres   Track Performer
Pete Hawes   Track Performer
Monroe Gevedon and Family   Track Performer
Byrd Moore & His Hot Shots   Track Performer
Roy Acuff & His Smokey Mountain Boys   Track Performer
Marc Williams   Track Performer
Carson Robison & His Pioneers   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Uncle Dave Macon   Composer
Jimmie Rodgers   Composer
Merle Travis   Composer
Pete Seeger   Composer
Bill Carlisle   Composer
Vernon Dalhart   Composer
Shelly Lee Alley   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Roy Carter   Composer
Tommy Duncan   Composer
Byron Gregory   Composer
Ervin T. Rouse   Composer
Guy Smith   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Henry Whitter   Composer
George Vaughn   Composer
Traditional   Composer

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