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VARIOUS 'Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: 1960-2000' ARH-491-CD

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Those who enjoy the entire spectrum of "roots" music (or "vernacular" music, as Arhoolie's founder calls it) should love this impressive 5-CD boxed set that chronicles "the journey of Chris Strachwitz", a man whom we greatly admire and a powerful force in preserving and documenting this music since he started his Arhoolie label in 1960. Strachwitz enjoyed & collected Bluegrass and pure country music, but the prime thrust of his work was in Blues, Cajun, and Mexican music, and there's a wealth of fine musical examples by people like Lightnin' Hopkins, Clifton Chenier, Mance Lipscomb, Lydia Mendoza and Fred McDowell, to name just a few. The few country examples are by J.E. Mainer, Del McCoury, Rose Maddox and the Hodges Brothers. The wonderful 64-page booklet is a joy to peruse, with loads of neat photos. Quite a box, and a wonderful tribute to a great label and its dynamic, highly influential founder.