VARIOUS 'Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4'

VARIOUS 'Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4'

  • $30.00


There is no denying the importance & greatness of Smith’s original three volume anthology which was issued in 1952 by Folkways Records and influenced countless young musicians of the time, from the New Lost City ramblers to Bob Dylan. (Those original volumes were re-issued in a classy box set fairly recently by Smithsonian Folkways, S/F 40090, $ 75.00). The story is that another 2 or 3 volumes were planned by Smith, but he lost interest and abandoned the idea after a run-in with a Folkways employee over the suggested inclusion of a track by Bill Cox that Smith thought was an inferior performance. John Fahey’s Revenant label has picked up on the idea and put out this 4th volume, which contains 28 songs and a huge 96-page booklet. Like Smith’s earlier choices, the songs are all classic performances, including gems by the CARTER FAMILY, MONROE BROTHERS, ARTHUR SMITH, UNCLE DAVE MACON, BLIND ALFRED REED, BUKKA WHITE, MEMPHIS JUG BAND, ROBERT JOHNSON, etc. The booklet is two different things: about 45 pages of reminiscences of the eccentric Smith, who died in 1991, and a song by song annotation that fills the remaining 50 pages or so. This is an impressive and fascinating set, though it will obviously not have the impact today that the first 3 volumes had in the 1950s, since just about all of the cuts here have been re-issued by now in nicely done collections on such labels as YAZOO, COUNTY and ROUNDER among others.

Track Listing:

  • MEMPHIS SHAKEDOWN
  • DOG & GUN
  • BLACK JACK DAVID
  • COLD IRON BED
  • PACKIN' TRUNK
  • LAST FAIR DEAL GONE DOWN
  • I'LL BE RESTED
  • ACES' BREAKDOWN
  • DANS LE GRAND BOIS
  • HELLO STRANGER.