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VARIOUS 'Bloody War: Songs, 1924-1939' TSQ-2479-CD

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1924-1939 songs. We are always glad to see another re-issue of 78rpm discs from the "Golden Age" of country music, and though this one leaves a bit to be desired it does revive some excellent old recordings and serves as a good topic for a compilation (which is quite nicely presented with a 16 page booklet and good discographical data). The CD ranges from the comical (The Piedmont Log Rollers' BATTLESHIP OF MAINE and Darby & Tarlton's CAPTAIN WON'T YOU LET ME GO HOME) to the tragic classics FADED COAT OF BLUE by Buell Kazee and Grayson & Whitter's masterful HE IS COMING TO US DEAD. A few of the cuts are musically pretty weak and there are enough war songs around that a few of the cuts used could have been replaced with stronger songs. For example Wade Mainer's NOT A WORD OF THAT BE SAID is pleasant enough, but the Charlie Poole version of the same civil war song (WRITE A LETTER TO MY MOTHER) is more poignant, and Mainer could have been represented well by his classic WE WILL MISS HIM. The CD's initial track (JUST AS THE SUN WENT DOWN) is not one of Zeke Morris' better songs, and makes a kind of poor choice for the first cut on the record. We find DIXIE DIVISION one of Fiddlin' John Carson's weaker recordings, even though the notes term it "a masterpiece". On the more positive side there are interesting cuts by Ernest Stoneman, Earl Johnson, Frank Hutcison and the Dixon Brothers. Though not as strong as many other topical releases, we'd still recommend this to lovers of old 78s.