CD High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project [805520030526] (CD 4677600),
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High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project [805520030526]

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. High Wide & Handsome
    2. Took My Gal Out Walkin'
    3. I'm the Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World
    4. My Mother and My Sweetheart
    5. Bill Mason's Bride
    6. Goodbye Booze
    7. Old Ballyhoo
    8. Little Waterloo
    9. I'm Glad I'm Married
    10. Mother Last Farewell Kiss
    11. Acres of Diamonds
    12. Way Up in NYC
    13. If I Lose
    14. Great Reaping Day, The
    15. Where the Whippoorwill Is Whispering Goodnight
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Man in the Moon, The
    2. Deal, The
    3. No Knees
    4. Moving Day
    5. Old and Only in the Way
    6. Ragtime Annie
    7. Sweet Sunny South
    8. Letter That Never Came, The
    9. Awful Hungry Hash House
    10. Rowena
    11. Didn't He Ramble
    12. Ramblin' Blues
    13. Charlie's Last Song
    14. Beautiful
    15. High Wide and Handsome [Reprise]
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): PRPCD 052

  • Credits

    Charlie Poole (1892-1931) was a hard-living, plain-singing, banjo-picking raconteur, amateur baseball player, mill worker, boozer, and bootlegger whose name may not be as well known as, say, Jimmie Rodgers or the Carter Family, but who nonetheless helped define what country music later became. Loudon Wainwright built this album around both old songs associated with Poole and new ones that help move the Poole story forward for today's world. Poole was not primarily a songwriter; he took what he heard elsewhere and bent it to his will. But he had an inimitable populist style, a whole lot of attitude and charisma, and the kind of sly humor that a sly humorist like Wainwright certainly can embrace. Of the 30 tracks spread across these two discs, all but nine were found among Poole's own, relatively small catalog. Without attempting to replicate the acoustic string band sound of the '20s and early '30s, Wainwright gets to the heart of songs such as "I'm the Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World," "Moving Day" (with the Roches on background vocals), "The Letter That Never Came," and "Mother's Last Farewell Kiss," tunes that Poole waxed and which, in the hands of Wainwright, manage to open a window into the Depression-era life while remaining viable to contemporary ears. Loudon's new songs are intended not so much to conform to Poole's style (although they do that, too) as to embellish upon it.

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (p.84) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Wainwright's sprawling family add clever harmonies to songs about marriage, booze and rabble-rousing."
    Record Collector (magazine) (p.99) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "Wainwright and his producer Dick Connette keep things flowing with arrangements that run from solo voice to string backing and, naturally, the banjo features prominently."
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