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Anthology of American Folk Music


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Performer Notes
  • This newly remastered six-CD box set is a reissue of the six-LP set compiled by folk archivist Harry Smith in 1952. Some of the many artists influenced by this collection of field recordings from the '20s and '30s are Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Garcia, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary. The ANTHOLOGY contains a 100-page booklet that incorporates Smith's original annotations, archival photos, graphics and testimonials by well-known musical figures including Elvis Costello, Dave Van Ronk and Eric von Schmidt. The final disc of this 6 CD set contains a multimedia portion which provides a hypertext essay of images, text, and additional information.
  • Recorded between 1926 and 1932. Includes liner notes by Greil Marcus, Anthony Seeger, Amy Horowitz, Jon Pankake, Luis Kemnitzer, Moses Asch, Harry Smith, Neil V. Rosenberg and Jeff Place.
  • Digitally remastered by Dave Glasser and Charlie Pilzer.
  • ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC won the 1998 Grammy Awards for Best Album Notes and Best Historical Album.
  • Personnel: Clarence Ashley (vocals, guitar, banjo); Garley Foster, Will Shade (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Clifford Breaux, Coley Jones, Julius Daniels, Dick Justice, Ashley Thompson, Furry Lewis, Henry Thomas , Didier H?bert, Cleoma Breaux Falcon, Bill Reed, James Touchstone, Jim Jackson, Ken Maynard, Mississippi John Hurt, Preston Young, Tewee Blackman, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Charley Patton (vocals, guitar); Ramblin' Thomas (vocals, bottleneck guitar); Chubby Parker, Dock Boggs, Richard Burnett, Gus Cannon, J.P. Nestor, Uncle Dave Macon, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Charlie Poole, Buell Kazee (vocals, banjo); Sara Carter (vocals, autoharp); Yank Rachell (vocals, mandolin); Arnold Williamson, G.B. Grayson, Ophy Breaux, Uncle Eck Dunford (vocals, fiddle); Ben Ramey (vocals, kazoo); Versey Smith, Bessie Johnson (vocals, tambourine); Clarence Nelson, Ernest Phipps, The Elders McIntorsh & Edwards' Sanctified Singers, A.P. Carter, Sally Sumler, Angeline Johnson, Rev. D.C. Rice, Kelly Harrell, Alabama Sacred Harp Singers (vocals); Joseph Alfred Stegall , Elijah Avery, Roy Harvey, Sam McGee, Sleepy John Estes, Will Weldon, Charlie Burse (guitar); Vol Stevens (banjo, mandolin); Delma Lachney, Leonard Rutherford, Posey Rorer, Andrew Baxter, Norman Edmonds, Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers (fiddle); Ernest V. Stoneman, Noah Lewis (harmonica); Jab Jones (piano).
  • Liner Note Authors: Jon Pankake; Chuck Pirtle; Eric Von Schmidt; Luis Kemnitzer; Greil Marcus; Luc Sant?; Jeff Place; John Fahey; Kip Lornell; Moses Asch; Peter Stampfel; Neil V. Rosenberg.
  • Recording information: Atlanta, GA (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Bristol, TN (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Camden, NJ (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Chicago, IL (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Dallas, TX (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Johnson City, TN (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Memphis, TN (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); New York, NY (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); Rich (08/09/1923-??/??/1932); St. Louis, MO (08/09/1923-??/??/1932).
  • Editor: Peter Seitel.
  • This six-CD box set is nothing less than a blueprint for virtually every form of 20th Century pop music. A staggering compendium of the varied but closely connected styles of early American music, the ANTHOLOGY collects folk, blues, hillbilly, and church music to present a textured and unbelievably rich tapestry. This collection's worth as both a historical document and a source of infinite delight cannot be overstated. Folk archivist Harry Smith envisioned the project and compiled these 78s in 1952. His choice of material reveals not only his impeccable taste but also the spirit of true democratic humanity, manifested and reflected in song.
  • Recorded largely in the rural South of the early '20s and '30s, the ANTHOLOGY covers forlorn ballads of lost love, Creole chants, Christian hymns, deep swamp blues, novelty songs, political music, and innumerable tunes that dazzle with their melodic and rhythmic charms and risks. Included here are many legends of roots music, including The Carter Family, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Patton, Dock Boggs, and Mississippi John Hurt, as well as dozens of others less heard. Make no mistake. This definitive examination of the roots of America's musical family tree is of monumental importance. It belongs in every music lover's library.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.52) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."

Rolling Stone (9/18/97, pp.101-102) - 5 Stars (out of 5) - "...it is impossible to overstate the historic worth, sociocultural impact and undiminished vitality of the music in this set, and of Smith's idiosyncratic scholarship and instinctive wisdom....a bedrock of our national musical identity..."

Spin (1/98, p.88) - Ranked #1 on Spin's list of "Top 10 Reissues."

Spin (10/97, p.139) - "...an exhaustively annotated six-CD set that has no competition as reissue of the year....between strength of material and force of vision, [Harry Smith] did nothing less than create a canon. At a time when folk music [included] Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie,...and the Lomax corpus, Harry Smith convinced the world that there was something far weirder and more exciting..."

Entertainment Weekly (9/19/97, p.85) - "...this definitive collection of blues, country, and gospel recordings inspired the American folk revival after its release in 1952. Now painstakingly remixed and remastered...ANTHOLOGY retains the primitive power of those seminal 78s while meeting the more exacting audio standards of the digital age." - Rating: A
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