CD Back Roads to Cold Mountain (CD 599540),
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Back Roads to Cold Mountain

  • 1. Field Holler - T. J. Chesser (previously unreleased)
    2. I Wish My Baby Was Born - Dillard Chandler
    3. Look Down That Lonesome Road - "Banjo" Bill Cornett (previously unreleased)
    4. Morning Sun - Sacred Harp Singers
    5. Camp Chase - French Carpenter
    6. John Brown's Dream - Dacosta Woltz
    7. Bright Sunny South - Dock Boggs
    8. Battle of Stone River, The - Oscar Parks
    9. Sweet Glories Rush Upon My Sight - Old Regular Baptist
    10. Roustabout - Dink Roberts
    11. Fox Race - Joe Patterson (previously unreleased)
    12. Jim and John - G.D. Young/Ed Young/Lonnie Young/Lonnie & Ed Young (previously unreleased)
    13. Day Is Past and Gone, The - Dorothy Melton
    14. Omie Wise - Roscoe Holcomb
    15. Silk Merchant's Daughter, The - Dellie Norton
    16. Hicks Farewell - Dillard Chandler
    17. Three Little Babes - Texas Gladden
    18. Wayfaring Stranger - Bill Monroe
    19. Rank Stranger - The Stanley Brothers
    20. Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over - Fiddlin' John Carson
    21. And I Am Born to Die - Doc Watson/Gaither Carlton
    22. Pullin' the Skiff - Ora Dell Graham
    23. Pumpkin Pie - Joe Thompson/Odell Thompson
    24. Give the Fiddler a Dram - James Crase
    25. Angel Band - E.C. Ball/Orna Ball/E.C. and Orna Ball (previously unreleased)
    26. Old Man Below, The - Gaither Carlton
    27. When Sorrows Encompass Me 'Round - Fred Cockerham/Tommy Jarrell
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 40149

  • Credits
    ProducerJohn Cohen
    EngineerJohn Cohen; Amelia Ramsey; Francis Harper; Pat Dunford; Ken Davidson; Jeff Todd Titon; Ray Alden; "Banjo" Bill Cornett; Frederic Ramsey, Jr.; Cece Conway; John A. Lomax, Jr.; Alan Lomax; Mike Seeger; Ralph Rinzler; Art Rosenbaum; Wayne Martin

    Personnel: Peter Rowan (vocals, guitar); Dock Boggs, "Banjo" Bill Cornett (vocals, banjo); Bill Monroe (vocals, mandolin); Gaither Carlton, James Crase, Tommy Jarrell (vocals, fiddle); Texas Gladden, Dillard Chandler, Dink Roberts, Doc Watson, Ora Dell Graham, Ralph Stanley, Roscoe Holcomb, Dorothy Melton, T. J. Chesser, Oscar Parks, Dellie Norton, Carter Stanley (vocals); Joe & Odell Thompson, Odell Thompson (banjo, fiddle); Dacosta Woltz (banjo); Fred Cockerham (fretless banjo); French Carpenter, Richard Greene & Beryl Marriott, Benny Jarrell (fiddle); Ed Young (fife); Lonnie Young (bass drum); G.D. Young (snare drum).
    Audio Mixer: Thom Canova.
    Liner Note Authors: John Cohen; Charles Frazier.
    Recording information: Alabama (1927-2002); Alton, IN (1927-2002); Atlanta, GA (1927-2002); Carrboro, NC (1927-2002); Defeated Creek Church, Linefork, KY (1927-2002); Drew, MS (1927-2002); Norton, VA (1927-2002); Plantersville, AL (1927-2002); Salem, VA (1927-2002); Washington DC (1927-2002).
    Photographer: Roger Haile.
    Arranger: Texas Gladden.
    Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain is a powerful, widely celebrated novel that takes places during the Civil War. But Frazier's book is not about the war itself so much as the lives lived in the rural American South during its long dark night. Back Roads to Cold Mountain is a collection of music assembled by ethnomusicologist and roots musician John Cohen, featuring the songs, hollers, and hymns that served as inspiration for Frazier during the writing of his book. There are no modern, O Brother, Where Art Thou?-styled revisionings of the music from the Civil War era. Instead, Cohen went through the Smithsonian's and the Library of Congress's vast collections of field and commercial recordings of a cappella narratives, string band songs, fiddle tunes, and sacred harp singing and assembled this volume from sources that were close to the originals. In other words, many of the performers here had learned these songs as hand-me-downs from their ancestors. They were familiar not only with tune, but style, arrangement, and grain. The end result is a 27-track collection of stunning music that is haunted, ghostly, raw, sparse and ultimately dignified in its presentation.
    What is particularly stunning is the brilliant sound of these recordings. Recorded between 1944 and 2002, these selections, assembled from previously released compilations and all but unheard field recording volumes, have something strange and unwieldy at their core. There are well known personages here like Roscoe Holcomb, Dock Boggs or Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, whose tunes from here have been heard before in other settings. But there are many more obscure entries, as well, from the wild wooly balladry and spoken word narration of Oscar Parks, the shambolic banjo blues of Dink Roberts, and the hunted, forlorn soul-searing darkness of Dorothy Melton, and the roof-raising joy of the Sacred Harp Singers. In either case, the effect is the same: one of true Otherness, where dislocation, quark strangeness, and untamed spirits gather in order to whisper, cry, moan, shout and laugh in a language that has not so much died as disappeared. Cohen's notes and annotations are fantastic, as always; they are not merely informative and authoritative, but offer (because of his welcoming prose) a glimpse of the ciphers themselves; they speak from the hollowed out place in his own heart that has been touched by these songs and the people who sang them. This is essential listening for anyone interested in authentic American roots musics. ~ Thom Jurek

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