Wednesday, December 12, 2007
No. 276: Anthology of American Folk Music
Band: Harry Smith, editor
Album: Anthology of American Folk Music
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Before recorded music as we know it was popular, folk and country was the music that defined America. While most of it was ephemeral, Harry Smith was a ridiculous collector and compiled any recording he could find.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: This should probably be higher.
Best song: Basically, any of the Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Willie Johnson songs.
Worst song: "Fifty Miles of Elbow Room" was probably the worst song on there, but it's still decent.
Is it awesome?: Sure.
The best comparison I can make is that this collection is like the wheel of American popular music. The wheel is simple, but without it, we have nothing. Without "James Alley Blues" and "Dry Bones," there's no Joan Baez, no Bob Dylan, no James Taylor, no Johnnie Cash, no Madonna... No nothing.
(I'm no musicologist, so I'll leave it at that.)