The recordings include such influential releases of ‘hillbilly music’ as Hugh (Ballard) Cross' original recording of The Wabash Cannon Ball, the Appalachian Vagabond's Peddler And His Wife, and Haskell Wolfenbarger's Sailing Out On The Ocean, as well as such landmark recordings of Black Appalachian music as Will Bennett's Railroad Bill, the Tennessee Chocolate Drops' Vine Street Rag, and Leola Manning's The Arcade Building Moan.
'Satan Is Busy In Knoxville' contains new essays by Jack Neely and James 'Sparky' Rucker in which those writers set the Knoxville sessions into historical context and assess the enduring impacts of those sessions.
The album also features detailed track-by-track notes by Grammy Award-nominated writer Ted Olson, who produced this compilation. Because ‘Satan Is Busy In Knoxville’ showcases the usual state-of-the-art sound engineering generally associated with releases from Bear Family Records®, these recordings – nearly a century old but painstakingly remastered in 2022 by Marcus Heumann -sound warm and clear.
The album's booklet offers memorable design work by Bear Family Records®' longtime artistic director Mychael Gerstenberger and features 27 recordings by 25 different musical acts active in Appalachia at the cusp of the Great Depression.
‘Satan Is Busy In Knoxville’ presents a diverse and dynamic overview of Appalachia’s vernacular music from that era. Representing a range of music genres and styles and showcasing both secular and sacred material, this album is thematically unified by the fact that all the recordings hail from commercial location sessions held in Knoxville, Tennessee, by the Brunswick/Vocalion labels