Anthology Of American Folk Music
Guy Lochhead, 14/12/10
Anthology of American folk music recordings made between 1927 and 1932 (the period between the advent of accurate electronic recording technology and record labels realising the potential of regional artists/the Depression) compiled by artist and weirdo Harry Smith (see separate MTL post). The Anthology was released on Folkways in 1952 and shaped the protest-folk revival of the ’50s and ’60s. The recordings were sequenced by Smith into “Ballads, Social Music, and Songs”, with accompanying drawings and unique song summaries. Originally a trilogy, a fourth record of “labor songs” was released on Revenant Records in 2000, in conjunction with the Harry Smith archive. As I wrote in the Harry Smith post, the ‘Anthology of American Folk Music’ is an incredible resource but to me it’s damaged by the amount Smith forces himself upon it, in his little track descriptions and cover artwork. It’s the songs themselves that are interesting, not Smith. It’s still worth including as a relic of the ’27-’32 period when electronic recording became available, but before labels picked up on the potential of regional music sales. I’ll try to include the ’60s Folkway versions with the farmer on the front rather than Smith’s magical drawings…”

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