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1. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
$25.99 $19.74 list($28.98)
2. The Carter Family: 1927-1934
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3. Best Of Peter, Paul & Mary
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4. Can the Circle Be Unbroken?: Country
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5. Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics
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6. The Three Pickers
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7. Folkways: The Original Vision
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8. Peter, Paul And Mommy
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9. Joan Baez - Greatest Hits
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10. Volume 2: 1935-1941
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11. Wildwood Flower [ASV/Living Era]
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12. Carry It On
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13. Child's Celebration of Song
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14. Hand-Picked: 25 Years Of Bluegrass
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15. Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs
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16. Down from the Mountain: Live Concert
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17. Diamonds & Rust
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18. Around the Campfire
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19. Anthology of American Folk Music
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20. Roses in the Snow

1. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
list price: $13.98
our price: $11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004XQ83
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 166
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

The best soundtracks are like movies for the ears, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? joins the likes of Saturday Night Fever and The Harder They Come as cinematic pinnacles of song. The music from the Coen brothers' Depression-era film taps into the source from which the purest strains of country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and gospel music flow. Producer T Bone Burnett enlists the voices of Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, and kindred spirits for performances of traditional material, in arrangements that are either a cappella or feature bare-bones accompaniment. Highlights range from the aching purity of Krauss's "Down to the River to Pray" to the plainspoken faith of the Whites' "Keep on the Sunny Side" to Stanley's chillingly plaintive "O Death." The album's spiritual centerpiece finds Krauss, Welch, and Harris harmonizing on "Didn't Leave Nobody but the Baby," a gospel lullaby that sounds like a chorus of Appalachian angels. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (440)

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest movie soundtrack EVER!
With the country music airwaves currently being dominated by fresh, new artists like Faith Hill who fit better in the pop circuit, it is refreshing to see an album composed entirely of traditional bluegrass and country do as well as the soundtrack of O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU. Even further impressing is the fact that although none of the songs were released to radio, the soundtrack was propelled to the #1 spot on Billboard's country album charts solely from people hearing the music in the movie theater. This soundtrack is a phenomenal album that is proof to country fans everywhere that although traditional country has appeared to have gone out of style, it is still very much alive and well.

The O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU SOUNDTRACK is composed of nineteen songs recorded by some of the most talented country/bluegrass artists in the business, including Gillian Welch (who also served as musical director for the motion picture), Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, and the Cox Family, and and is truly a gathering of musical talent. Also included in the soundtrack is music by musicians who appeared in the film as well as working on the CD, such as the Whites and Tim Blake Nelson.

The O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU SOUNDTRACK is truly, as the CD ads claim, "The ULTIMATE American roots collection!" So, grab your acoustic guitar, fiddle, and Dapper Dan hair pomade, and let the soundtrack from O BROTHER take you on a journey through one of the greatest periods in country music history.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brothers In Arms
The soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? is one of the biggest surprises in music for 2000. The film starring George Clooney was not much of a success at the box office, but the soundtrack made up of dark bluegrass songs from the early part of the 20th century has become a major seller. In fact the album has set a record for the most weeks at number one for a soundtrack on the Country Album charts. This is a welcomed and warmly cheered surprise as the album celebrates an essential style of music from America's rich musical history. Album producer T-Bone Burnett has assembled a cast of unknowns, save Emmylou Harris & Allison Krauss, like The Fairfield Four, Gillian Welch and J. Carter & The Prisoners who specialize in this forgotten and overlooked genre. The songs have a stark and haunting quality that are accentuated by the sparse musical arrangements. The singing is alternatively raw and rough to lilting and gorgeous. Song after song provides you with an interesting, intriguing and satisfying listening experience especially "Po Lazarus", "You Are My Sunshine", "Down To The River To Pray", "Lonesome Valley" and "Didn't Leave Nobody But My Baby".

5-0 out of 5 stars Music the way is should be
This is perhaps the best soundtrack ever made. It is a stunning mix of mostly acoustic tracks by most of the best bluegrass artists ever. There is work on here from Ralph Stanely, Allison Kraus, and Emmelou Harris, to name a few. This CD won a lot of Grammys the year that it came out, and that is because it was the best CD of that year.

Highlights include the Big Rock Candy Mountains, Man of Constant Sorrow, In the Jailhouse Now and O Death. If you have ever wondered what bluegrass sounded like but have been afraid to try, this is the CD for you. It will show you the magic that this genre of music can provide.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great but.....
This CD is fantastic, with songs that will leave you humming and tapping your feet. I would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that the primary song I wanted featuring the artists from the actual movie was not featured on the album. The version of "I'll FLy Away" from the actual movie is done by the Kossoy Sisters and is featured on their album "Bowling Green". I hope this helps anyone else who will end up trying to hunt down that origianl version.

5-0 out of 5 stars O Brother
This is the soundtrack to the Coen brothers' film based loosely on Homer's "The Odyssey". This soundtrack takes the movie from good to great. The tracks follow the progression of the movie. Nearly an hour of blue-grass music, even if you haven't seen the movie, this is worth having if you like "Old-Time" Country music and blue-grass.

The legend, Ralph Stanley, appears a couple of times here, although his "Man of Constant Sorrow" is here too, but covered by Dan Tyminski. Stanley's "O Death" is a haunting tune sung without accompaniment. His voice is sorrowful and full of pain, and will send shivers up your spine. Tyminski's cover is well done and becomes the centerpiece for the movie. The sultry voices of Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch provide a rising rendition of "Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby." Alison Krauss also lends her voice to the spiritual "Down to the River to Pray," and joins up again with Gillian Welch for "I'll Fly Away". The surprise here is Tim Blake Nelson on lead vocals as the dimwitted Delmar on "In the Jailhouse Now."

Overall, this is a great soundtrack, and well worth owning if you like this type of music. I think the Coen brothers have done a lot with the release of this movie to turn the spotlight onto blue-grass music. This is great music that deserves more than the fifteen minutes of fame it's received. ... Read more


2. The Carter Family: 1927-1934
list price: $28.98
our price: $25.99
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Asin: B00005TPB7
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4493
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Their setup was primitive enough--guitar, Autoharp, and vocals--but in the late '20s the trio of A.P. Delaney Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law Maybelle would change (chart?) the course of country music forever. They did it with haunting harmonies, incredible guitar playing (thanks to Maybelle's driving strums on her Gibson L-5 guitar), and a vast repertoire that included murder ballads, gospel tunes, love songs, and Appalachian folk tunes--many of which would be covered by musicians for decades to come. Unlike their musical peers in the late '20s and early '30s, the Carters weren't just playing "hillbilly" music; this was, quite simply, country music, and their timeless output still resonates with listeners today. JSP's bargain-priced, five-CD collection is easily the most complete, essential collection of their music available, capturing and remastering their RCA Victor recordings (their later, less-seminal sessions for Decca and the American Record Company are not included). Hearing five CDs' worth of music from the Carter Family is almost sensory overload--from the initial 1927 Bristol sessions, which Johnny Cash hailed as "the single most important event in the history of country music," to their depression-era recordings. Even today, Sara Carter's voice sounds aching, yet empowered. Whether they're yodeling through "The Foggy Mountain Top," singing a feminist anthem like "Single Girl, Married Girl," or harmonizing with Maybelle on "Worried Man Blues," you can hear the Carters' profound influence on country music. A must-have. --Jason Verlinde ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The real song catchers, dont miss this at this price!
This is just about 1/2 to 2/3 of the hundreds of records that the Carters made between 1927 and 1941. Sara Carter later remembered they had made more than 600 records during those years. At the end of 1941, they all went their separate ways: Sara just to get out of the music and live with her new husband in Central California. AP returned to Maces Springs to run a general store and to try to get his relectant sons and daughter to play and sing music. Maybelle and her daughters kept playing Carter Family music until daughter June passed away last year.

I have just listened to every CD on this set one by one. Even though I have been playing this kind of music since the 1960s, even though I have had this or that single disc Carter Collection, even though I am judged as some kind of expert on old time music by some, I was shocked at how many tunes that I know as old time music tunes or bluegrass tunes identified with other artists were Carter Family versions of those tunes.

The Carters performed an immense service for the history and preservation of traditional American music, black and white.
They were not allowed to record already copywritten and published songs since Ralph Peer who recorded them for Victor Bluebird only got paid for publishing rights and could take only tunes he could claim publishing rights to. At the beginning the Carters were not such great song writers, although in the later 1930s when they began living in Del Rio Texas and broadcasting over Mexican border radio, they did write a number of great songs.

AP Carter traveled up and down the hills and hollers, mountains and valleys of Southern Virginia, Tennesee, North Carolina, and Kentucky asking Black and white working people, farmers, musicianers of all kinds, if they had songs for them to record. During the times late in the years covered by this set, when AP moved to Detroit to get cash paying work, and when his brother Eck and his wife Maybelle moved to DC where Eck got railroad work, they asked Southern people in those towns for songs.

During much of this time AP travelled with Leslie Riddle a black blues guitarist so that they were able to find songs African Americans as well as whites had in their hearts and minds. The Carters accepted Leslie as an equal. He lived in their home like a family member defying the Jim Crow Ettitique of the times. The Carters were all solid anti-confederate Lincoln Republicans. AP's dying words were "Don't vote Democrat" which in 1960 in Virginia meant don't vote Dixiecrat.

Old AP used to delight in the relatively small royalty checks all these songs brought him in the 1950s which he dutifully divided with Sara and Maybelle, even though all the songs were in his name. It is too bad he died in 1960 just before the folk revival brought all these songs back onto hundreds of records by folk singers, then by bluegrassers, then by country Western artists. Those checks would have gotten a lot bigger.



People brought these songs to the Carters, mostly to AP and Leslie Riddle, singing them on their porches, or in juke joints, or often when AP would stop after hearing a rumor that used saw mill parts could be obtained at a good price, something he was obessed with. Some folks did bring them the songs in yellowed old sheet music with crackled paper from the 19th Century, or as pages cut out of poetry books published deep in the past. Some of them would go back stage at the little school house and church shows the Carters did in the mountain towns during the depression and gave an old ballad not sung since their grandparents time. Some of them would request a song that the Carters didn't know, and AP might ask them to sing the tune right then and there.

On top of this, of course, AP Carter had been known since he was a boy for singing songs, teaching singing schools, being willing to walk all day up and down the Southside Virginia mountains to find a good singer or good music. This is how he found Sara Addington, his wife who was a hell of a singer. Then when AP's brother married Maybelle Addington who was known as the best guitar and banjo picker in the valleys around there (and no slouch on the fiddle and mandolin too)since she was a teenager (and she was only 18 when the Carters began recording) they were set. This may have been a plot, because a lot of the time AP would go up and over the mountains up and down walking all day to court a reluctant Sara, she would be sitting in the parlor singing or playing the autoharp, or learning guitar chords, along with her cousin Maybelle's guitar, banjo, or fiddle.

AP Carter was the real song catcher. These were a few of the hundreds of songs he caught, a few that were written by himself, Sara, and Maybelle.

So this is, in fact, an encyclopedia of the songs that were sung by Black and white working folks, farmers, musicians, rounders, up and down the mountains of Viriginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentcuky and the songs migrants took with them to Washington and Detroit. This is a treasure trove for anyone wnating to return to the lost world of those people, or to find songs from those years that speak to our lives and problems. Besides they are pretty good to listen to!

One good thing about this collection is that you hear a lot of the tunes they did in finger picking and slide guitar styles that Maybelle learned from Leslie Riddle. A lot of modern performers do them just flat picking, or the thumb and strum style Maybelle is best known for.

At this price, everyone with ears needs this.

5-0 out of 5 stars If at all interested - PURCHASE!!!!
This collection is simply one the best bargains you can possibly get - The music is great obviously and the price and the sound are tops - I can not reccomend this set more highly

5-0 out of 5 stars Great price, great content!
I listened to these CDs in one sitting, it was so captivating. JSP has done a very good job at remastering, and if you want a comparison then go to www.honkingduck.com, click on 78s, then click on Artist, then click on C to get to the Carter Family. They have entire songs from original 78 records as well as from tapes from original records. Listen to the samples on Amazon and compare them to the originals. The remastering is so good that you can hear Maybelle's nails on the strings of her guitar, and you can hear Sara's autoharp ringing in the background.

This set is 100% recommended.

If you want to listen to the roots of our musical heritage, listen to the Carter family!

5-0 out of 5 stars Musical History
I read the book "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" by Mark Zwonitner which is an outstanding history of the Carter Family. The Original Carter Family broke up when I was 5 years old so I had only heard very little about the Orginal Family but became very familar with Mother Maybelle and her daughters. After reading the book I shopped around and found this 5 CB set of the remastered RCA recordings. By the time you get to the #5 CD you fully understand what an impact the folks had the music industry. A.P., Sara, and Maybelle probably never realized how good they were at the time these songs were recorded. All these recording were done with primitive equipment and I would imagine most all were done on one take using a single microphone. There are several songs included in these recording that will absolutely knock your socks off if you listen to them a couple of times and listen closely. If you enjoy the music of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff and other legends do yourself a favor and get the Carter Family RCA recordings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable value!
This is one of those stunning bargains which leaves you with gaping jaws and a big smile, if that's possible. For the price of TWO cds you get FIVE instead, all packed with 70 plus minutes of Carter Family gems, all in chronological order, and with fabulous sound quality which is BETTER than the American Rounder releases (and those releases only have about 45 minutes of music - I know, I bought some of them!). Can this really all be true? YES! It's true. The only thing you don't get in this dirt cheap box set is decent sleeve notes, but I'm not going to complain!
As for the actual music, it's unmissable early country music sung and played by Sara and Maybelle Carter with the help of A P Carter, husband of Sara. It has a deep magic about it - try a few if you never heard them, they'll hypnotise you. The harmonies are splendid, the guitars are luminous, it's pure like a mountain stream. You cannot go wrong with this one! ... Read more


3. Best Of Peter, Paul & Mary
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000002KHJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 368
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Warner Bros. did with the CD release of the 1970 vinyl LP 10 Years Together: Best of Peter, Paul & Mary what every label should do with CD reissues of vinyl compilations. They took into account the longer length of CDs and added tracks. The original release of 10 smash hits has been fleshed out here with three additional tracks, including a melodic take on Dylan's Basement Tapes rarity "Too Much of Nothing." Otherwise, it's hits and nothing but hits, ranging from definitive folk interpretations ("If I Had a Hammer") to pop ("I Dig Rock 'n' Roll Music") to Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot covers that compete with the originals and first brought such material to the mainstream. Only "Cruel War" is missing. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Compilation Of Their Biggest Hits!
My introduction to contemporary folk music was through my immersion in the innovative music of Peter Paul and Mary early in the 1960s, as they first came to prominence with songs like "The Lemon tree" and "Blowin' In The Wind". Of course, with the advent of the anti-war movement a few years later, they became quite involved, just as they had been in the struggle for civil rights in the American South quite early on. Yet Peter, Paul, and Mary were much more than urbane and well-educated Jewish intellectuals singing traditional and avant-garde folk music. They introduced a whole generation of young Americans and Europeans into a whole welter of cultural ideas and issues that both they and others like Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon were also dealing with as performing artists. Yet what is central to remember is the fact that the music of Peter, Paul, and Mary came first.

They acted as the forerunners and popularizers for the work of artists as diverse as Dylan, Baez, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, and Tom Paxton. Their early albums were filled with what became standard contemporary folk classics like "500 Miles', "If I had A Hammer", and "Stewball". Yet they also had a number of top-ten hits, the biggest being "Puff, The Magic Dragon', which despite their stringent and consistent denials is about the joys and hazards of smoking dope. They also scored with "Day Is Done" late in their career, and had success with "I Dig Rock And Roll Music", "Leaving On A Jet Plane", and "too Much Of Nothing".

Also included here are their quite classical covers of songs written by others but made famous as album grist for them, including "For Loving Me" and "Don't Think Twice". Unbelievably, they are still touring, with Peter and Paul now in their seventies, and I am sure they are as terrific on stage now as they were when I first saw them in the Boys' Club gym in my home town one snowy Friday night in December of 1963, about three weeks after JFK was assassinated. They are a part of American history, and this album serves up a wonderful dollop of their original recordings for your listening pleasure and cultural edification. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars This is the type of music that made the 60's the 60's
The harmonies of "Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young", "The Mammas and the Pappas" and "Peter, Paul and Mary" were the cornerstone vocals of the "love and peace" movement. Many of PP&M's songs don't come to mind until I hear them on some oldies station. Then I once again hear that simplistic innocence of yesteryear flood the air waves with the heartfelt idealism that created these masterpieces. When I hear "500 Miles" and "Day Is Done" thirtysome years later, the time warp of today's digital world vanishes. These two are folk music at its very best. Then we have the pop hits "I Dig Rock And Roll Music" and "Leaving On A Jet Plane" and it's the late 60's and early 70's. Both are as fresh today as they were thirty years ago. "Blowin' In The Wind" is Dylan's song. PP&M give a harmonic interpretation but this one needs the cutting edge of Dylan's sarcastic vocals. "Lemon Tree" and "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" have their place but have never held my attention. "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" works well with their style. "If I Had A Hammer" still rings true and right! "Early Mornin' Rain" and "For Lovin' Me" are two of those campfire folk songs that sound good even without the harmonies and snap, crackle, pop of a campfire.

5-0 out of 5 stars Peter, Paul and Mary have been a great gift to us all!
This CD is one of those rare times a single CD can demonstrate all the incredible beauty of a powerful group like Peter, Paul and Mary! The CD offers very thoughtful and beautiful classic ballads such as "Blowin' In The Wind," "Stewball," and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." "Blowin' In The Wind" is also an example of the group's being willing to take a stand on social and moral issues facing our society. The group's versatility is demonstrated with the song about "Puff (The Magic Dragon," which, although it's a children's song, can easily be enjoyed by adults as well. Although they are mainly folk singers they also celebrate rock and roll music with the song "I Dig Rock and Roll Music;" many thought Peter, Paul and Mary were making fun of rock and roll with this song but they insist they are paying tribute to it-and I think that they are. The CD ends with the song "Day Is Done" which is defiant of the evil in this world. This song includes a good sized chorus and adds a triumphant flair to the end of the song set.

The artwork on the CD is very good; but unfortunately the only photo we get of the group is very tiny on the front cover. The sound quality is excellent. There is a brief history of the group although it about them in the 1960s when these songs were originally recorded. I only wish that lyrics had been included!

I recommend this CD for Peter, Paul and Mary fans as well as fans of folk music. This is also an excellent choice for music lovers who want a superlative introduction to the group if they are as yet unfamiliar with their work. We are better off for having their music and Peter, Paul and Mary should be congratulated as well for not being afraid to deal with social and moral issues throughout their long history!

1-0 out of 5 stars PIECE OF GARBAGE!
How can people actually call this piece of garbage music? It is disgusting. NOne of them , not Peter, not Paul, not Mary can sing. This is idiot music! Puff the magic dargon, indeed! I can't believe anyone over the age of 3 liking that dummy song. Come on, there is such a thing as music in the world, why buy this? This is only for cheesebrain old geezers who actually remember when the age of music was like this. STAY AWAY!

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Think Twice- - -It's Alright To Buy This CD!!!
The Folk Era of the early '60's is long behind us, most suitable these days for parody (such as the recent Christopher Guest movie A Mighty Wind), or for good old fashioned reminiscing. It's easy to see that the (relatively) few folk artists that have stood the test of time had real talent, whether lyrically (Bob Dylan, of course), musically (Joan Baez) or both (The Kingston Trio). After almost fifty years, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary still sounds to these old jaded ears as fresh as, well, a new breeze blowin in the wind. This trio of course had loads of talent, both lyrically and musically, and helped not a few songwriters along the way (John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, and the aforementioned Mr Dylan). On furthur reflection (having enjoyed this album in LP form for many years), it seems to me that the songs that have best stood the rigors of time are those sung by Paul Stookey. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", "I Dig Rock and Roll Music" (featuring hilarious parodies of Donovan and the Beatles, and especially, the Mamas and the Papas. Mary does a perfect Cass impression!), and most glorious of all, "Early Morning Rain," with Paul's lowdown and dirty (yet smooth) delivery making the most of Gordon Lightfoot's lyrics. Outasite!!! Mary Travers is limited to just two lead vocals, but both are outstanding: the lyric, whistful "Leaving on a Jet Plane," and the achingly beautiful "500 Miles" (later covered splendidly by Bobby Bare). Peter Yarrow's songs are not as strong, with the exception of "For Lovin' Me" and that most fabulous stirring ballad about "Stewball," the racehorse worthy of a king. Brilliant! However, "Puff, the Magic Dragon" is quite charming, but not great, and "Day Is Done" is almost forgettable. Luckily, all three members of the trio take the lead on several songs: the rousing "If I Had A Hammer," "The Lemon Tree" (OK, well maybe just Paul and Peter sing lead on that one), "Too Much of Nothing," and the unforgettable classic that started it all for Mr. Bob Dylan, "Blowin' In The Wind", still utterly moving after all these years. Fabulous!!! So, get Best of Peter, Paul, and Mary right away- - - and don't think twice about it!!! ... Read more


4. Can the Circle Be Unbroken?: Country Music's First Family
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004RC8J
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10067
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Like so many Americans during the Depression, the Carter Family found themselves forced to stay in motion throughout the 1930s. Rural economies, the locales where country music had taken root, were hit unusually hard by the economic crash. The Carters left their original record label just prior to recording the first 17 of the 20 tunes on Can the Circle Be Unbroken, joining ARC for long enough to prodigiously churn out material they'd previously recorded. The 17 ARC songs here were recorded over 3 days in May 1935, and all reveal a Carter Family growing musically comfortable with their execution on these tunes--especially the slight dronelike quality in Sara's voice, which sounds settled and at times almost languid. Maybelle's voice and guitar emphasize the appropriately unhurried pacing (this was the Depression, after all). As for the closing trio of tracks, they come from a post-Decca session during their short tenure at Columbia, and all bear the mark of greater vocal harmonies between Sara and Maybelle, as well as an increased pitch in the vocals that quickens the pace a tad. These are vitally important recordings, to be sure, a fine, more multihued complement to the band's '20s-era recordings. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Had enough of Britainy, Madona, Jacko and his sister?
I recently discovered an alternative in Sara, Maybelle, and 'Doc'. Carter family songs have become an art form from an era when our country and its culture were great. Their music is familiar, simple, direct, down-home and unpretentious without a trace of immorality. Probably not for everybody and certainly a hard-sell to contemporary mainstream America, but I play the Carter Family continuously at work and home.

The recordings on this CD are from their latter years, mid-1930's, and are superlative; among their best. The tempo is slower than their first records, and Sara's (lead singer's) natural pitch has dropped to alto; both very suitable to the music.

The recording quality wasn't great in 1930, but the '78-record effect', quickly becomes unnoticeable. Sara's got The Voice, and Maybelle, of course, the guitar Style. Pure diamond from southwest Virginia!

5-0 out of 5 stars Key to all subsequent country and folk records...
These tracks were laid down in 1935 and 1940, mostly re-recordings of their first hits from 1927-34 with a different record company. So the trio had more confidence in their talents, but perhaps less spirit, as another reviewer noted. Recording quality is a tad better than the earlier stuff, as another reviewer mentioned. And since the group was active until the early '40's, this collection is limited...they preserved about 250 performances, and here you get 20. But if you only want one Carter CD for your collection, it's a fine choice. And if you care about roots music, how can you not have a Carter disc on the shelves? Founder A.P. Carter scoured the hills of Southern Virginia throughout the 20's and 30's, collecting mostly old songs from his neighbors, and copyrighting them with his arrangements. The original writers have mostly been lost to history, but the songs remain. Many of these can be found with different verses on recordings by other artists: "Worried Man Blues" eventually became "It Takes a Worried Man" for the Kingston Trio in the late 1950's. Woody Guthrie put some of his best lyrics to tunes found or written by the Carter Family, such as "Wildwood Flower" which was used for "Ballad of the Reuben James." Woody's song "Hesitating Beauty" on Billy Bragg's "Mermaid Avenue" collection, carries the tune of the Carters' "Lulu Walls". Whether Woody chose that, or Bragg, I don't know. But the Carter Family archive is still important, still enjoyable. There is a five-CD set of the Carters available for only twice the price of this one disc, so look up other offerings if you want an even better bargain. But if one hour of these country pioneers is all you think you need, don't worry about this one...it will serve you well. Maybelle Carter's guitar playing alone would make this a good buy, but add Sara's voice and autoharp and A.P.'s bass vocal accents, and it's a treasure.

5-0 out of 5 stars TRUE!
The Carter Family officially had 3 chart country hits-according to Billboard. Their legend goes far beyond that meaningless statistic. This CD features the original group (A.P., Maybelle and Sara) before their series of breakups and reformations with new family members. This particular album was recorded mostly in 1935 and is an absolute treasure. Others may complain about the quality of the sound-it comes across as old, perhaps even scratchy. To this reviewer, that only adds to the luster. It sounds authentic! One can just imagine the group playing in a roadside inn- on a rainy Saturday night- deep in Virginia just before WW2. The tight harmony and guitar work is timeless. High points here are "Wildwood Flower", "The Storms Are On the Ocean" and especially "Keep on the Sunny Side". It is easy to be subjective on that score. Others may have their own favorites among the 20 tracks. ... The group goes back so far and is so unique, so real, so basic, so early country that "true believers" should expose themselves to the Carters. It is just that simple.

5-0 out of 5 stars Back to the basics of good music
I've been a fan of Americana, Bluegrass, and folk music since childhood courtesy of my grandmother who introduced to me such wonderful artists such as The Carter Family, Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones, Johnny Cash, and many others. This collection of the original Carter Family is a superb trip down memory lane and soothes the tortured soul with its simple vocals. I wish I could find some good documentaries or biographies of Carters on DVD or VHS.
Every song is a wonderful piece of history and some even brought tears to my eyes as I recalled how grandma loved so many of them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff!!! May I Recommend Another Though
Long before Victor dragged their wire recorders into the hills to record the Carters, Marion Try Slaughter had been recording music and some classics under the name of Vernon Dalhart, that were and still are the "original" country music torch bearers. He had the first million selling recording. I recommend his recordings, the ones grouped into country music genre, as he recorded 1600 songs, not a misprint or typo, one thousand six hundred songs between the years of 1916-1937.

I beg all of you to try his recordings and Ernest V. Stoneman and family also. Least we not forget Bob Wills and his great band, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, Johnny Western, Johnny Bond, Jimmy Rogers, etc. and of course the Carters.

I find this type of music should be listened to often, and should be played in our homes so all can listen to these recordings. God only let these people such as Alvin Pleasant Carter and his family adorn his Earth for just an eyeblink. As we are all here for just that much time really, enjoy the finer things that we can---this record is one of those things. ... Read more


5. Appalachian Stomp: Bluegrass Classics
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Asin: B0000033GO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 819
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Appalachian Stomp is an ideal starter disc for those just beginning to explore bluegrass. Mostly this is because its 18 selections are so immediately accessible. The "classics" here, in other words, are usually those infrequent bluegrass cuts to have gained radio recognition beyond a core bluegrass audience. That explains why along with timeless standards such as Flatt & Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and the Osborne Brothers' "Rocky Top" we also get "Dueling Banjos" from the film Deliverance, a cut that is to classic bluegrass what Walter Murphy is to Beethoven. There are less immediately obvious choices too, though. If your previous exposure to bluegrass doesn't go beyond the Holy Trinity of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and the Stanley Brothers--for example, if you've never heard J.D. Crowe & the New South's stellar example of progressive bluegrass, "Old Home Place," or experienced Jimmy Martin lay down the law on his rousing "You Don't Know My Mind"--then you're in for a high-lonesome surprise. --David Cantwell ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars The grass is always bluer on the sunny side of the hill
To my way of thinking, bluegrass music is doing its job when it gets your hands and feet to moving and puts your mind on simple, bygone things you recollect, if you're lucky, or must pine for in vain, if you were born too late (like me). Leave it to Rhino Records to come out with a bluegrass sampler that fits the bill to a Model T, mixing bluegrass tunes that have found a fond place in our collective psyche with less familiar (to newbies, anyway) archetypes of the form. Unlike another bluegrass sampler I own, the dreary and redundant "Bluegrass Essentials," "Appalachian Stomp" is as happy and carefree as your best-ever barefoot-summer day. I mean, only a person that's six feet under wouldn't be beguiled by The Osborne Brothers' catchier than poison ivy "Rocky Top" and Sonny Osborne's astounding, mile-high vocal.

"Stomp's" appetizer tray of songs familiar from movies ("Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Dueling Banjos") and TV ("Dooley," "The Ballad of Jed Clampett") will prime your palate for the main meal, a heaping helping of hard-core high lonesomeness by bluegrass immortals Bill Monroe, Jimmy Martin, The Stanley Brothers, Del McCoury, et al. All the old-timey stuff is plumb dee-licious. Sampling more recent vintages, J.D. Crowe and The New South's cover of The Dillards' "Old Home Place" is pretty good (although the original is superior), but I'm still trying to puzzle out the appeal of bluegrass darling Alison Krauss ("Love You in Vain"). She's cute as a button and sure-fire talented, I'll give her that, and she sounds an awful lot like Dolly Parton. You can work that last observation into a compliment, too, if you'd like.

The collection's most (in)famous cut may well be "Dueling Banjos," by Eric Weissberg and Steve Mandell, from the 1972 film "Deliverance." For better or worse, Weissberg and Mandell's calculatedly commercial, radio-friendly guitar vs. banjo arrangement remains the best known one in the song's storied history. The tune has been around, in various forms, since 1889, when it was known as "Banjo Reel." By the 1950s, the tune had metamorphosed into "Feudin' Banjos" (a dual banjo duel between Don Reno and Arthur Smith) and Carl Story's "Mockin' Banjo." An exceptional banjo vs. MANDOLIN version of the song, "Duelin' Banjo," appeared on 1963's "Back Porch Bluegrass," The Dillards' debut album, and later became the basis of a frivolous lawsuit by Arthur Smith, who claimed the band had ripped off "his" song.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to traditional bluegrass
Bluegrass music has seen an upsurge in popularity recently. Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Steve Earle, the O brother soundtrack and the various O sister compilations have all contributed. However, while some of that music is traditional, much of it is a modernised form of the music. Nothing wrong with that, of course - bluegrass, like every other form of music, must modernise or die, and some of it is pure magic - but this compilation draws on the roots of bluegrass, containing many old classics, especially from the fifties, sixties and seventies.

Bill Monroe invented bluegrass and his original version of Uncle Pen opens this set. It was later covered by Ricky Skaggs, himself represented by Little cabin home on the hill, a cover of another Bill Monroe song. Bill puts in another appearance here with his version of Blue moon of Kentucky - a song that was covered by Elvis.

Foggy mountain breakdown became famous after its use in the 1968 movie, Bonnie and Clyde. Flatt and Scruggs originally recorded it in 1949 and it is that original version that is on this set.

The Ballad of Jed Clampett was used as the theme for a TV series, The Beverly hillbillies. When released as a single, it topped the country charts.

Rocky top was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, famous as songwriters for the Everly brothers (who eventually recorded the song for their Pass the chicken and listen album). It was a country hit for both Lynn Anderson and the Osborne brothers. Lynn's version was the more successful, but it is the Osborne version that is included here - rightly, as this is a bluegrass collection.

Duelling banjos was a huge American pop hit after its use in the movie Deliverance. Other bluegrass classics here include Orange blossom special and Roll in my sweet baby's arms.

This is an excellent collection of bluegrass music, ideal as a sampler of what bluegrass used to be like. If you enjoy modern bluegrass and you're not familiar with the oldies, this is the best way to find out. And just to provide you with something familiar, an early Alison Krauss track is included right at the end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Mix of Bluegrass Songs
I just received the CD this week and I'm already addicted.

The liner notes give an excellent overview of the history of bluegrass, relating the songs on the album to the various stages of the development of the genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars If I could give it more stars, I would!
This is a great collection of Bluegrass if you want some of the most famous pieces. It has a good collection of artists, and is just simply wonderful! I also recommend the second CD in the series, which does not have as many of the "famous" pieces, but includes some real classics for folks who have listened to a good deal of bluegrass. I grew up listening to this music, and had not had many CDs of it, just records-so I was ecstatic to stumble across this. Buy it if you can, it is an excellent price and an outstanding CD!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection of Bluegrass Tunes AAA+++
Hey bluegrass fans, this is a must have for your music collection. I liked every song on it, in fact every time I play it, I have to go get my mandolin and play along. It's a fun upbeat recording thats guaranteed to make you tap your toe! ... Read more


6. The Three Pickers
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Asin: B00009XFQR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 597
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless Music!
Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs team up on what has to be as good as bluegrass music gets. You will play this one again and again. This hauntingly beautiful CD reminded me once again that most of the so-called music coming out of Nashville today masquerading as "country" and/or "bluegrass" is pure (junk). No tight jeans and cowboy hats here. Just first class music.

The pickers play a lot of older songs: "What Would You Give In Exchange For Your Soul," "Who Will Sing For Me," "Soldier's Joy," "The Storms Are On The Ocean," "Foggy Mountain Top," "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms." These men are as good as pickers get. Having Alison Krauss join them on some of the cuts only makes this CD better.

Difficult as it is to pick a favorite, I would probably vote for "Down In The Valley To Pray." Doc Watson begins this hymn, as simple and pure as your grandmother's pound cake, and is then joined by the voices of Skaggs and Scruggs, along with Krauss, in an a capella arrangement that will send chills down your spine. You are immediately carried back to a one-room church 50 or 60 years ago. The songleader began a hymn and then one by one, the congregation joined in while mothers fanned their babies with funeral home fans. Even though it never was, we thought life was much simpler then.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you loved the "Great Performances" show
If you loved the concert on PBS's Great Performances, this CD will not disappoint you. "The Three Pickers" is beautifully produced (by Ricky Skaggs), engineered, and mixed, and also includes some of the warm and humorous anecdotes by the performers. Standout tracks (among many others) are "Who Will Sing For Me?", "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," and the amazing a cappella harmonies of Doc, Ricky, and Alison Krauss on "Down To The Valley To Pray." Three extra tracks ("Daybreak Blues" by Doc and Richard Watson, "Doin' My Time" by Earl Scruggs, and "Ridin' That Midnight Train" by Ricky Skaggs) are a great bonus. I have never been a huge bluegrass fan before, but the program captivated me, and the CD brings it all back!

4-0 out of 5 stars A super bluegrass and folk-blues review.
Firstly, the sound on this live CD is excellent. Not too much talking, and the audience is not distracting, save for applause at the end, mostly.

Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder play the most instrumentally rich music. Scaggs' singing/guitar are excellent, and the rest of the band, especially his banjo player, are superb.

Scruggs' playing is a bit past his peak, I think. He likes to play a little too fast! But he carries it off. Give him a break, I guess. He's a legend.

Doc Watson is the chief, here. Plays very twangy-sounding guitar strings (metal, I guess?) with crystal clarity, and he is the best singer here. His duet with his son on #7, "Walk On Boy", a plaintive folk ballad with a blues feel and an outstanding riff, is the best track on here. And I can't find any record of the song at all. Could be his own recent composition or maybe an old tune by another name.

Wasn't that impressed with Krauss' fiddle. And I expected to hear her sing. She's very good at that. I'm gonna go get me some more Doc Watson!

5-0 out of 5 stars a magical night
there are 3 of the best bluegrass artirs on one stage. ricky skaggs band kentucky thunder plays one song and they very good. and you have the legandary banjo play earl scruggs doing a whole lot of pickin. and you have the guitar great doc watson who is 80 years old and can play better that most in bluegrass. in some song alison krauss plays fiddel in the background. if you like bluegrass go get this cd you will not be dissapointed. it is well diserving of 5 stars

5-0 out of 5 stars A master class in acoustic music!
When I was learning how to play the guitar some 25 years ago, I was immediately drawn to bluegrass music. The earthy, humble appeal of so many of its performers, as well as the precision demanded to play it well, instantly captivated me and made me a lifelong bluegrass fan. This deceptively simple music, rendered by three giants in the field, is timelessly represented here on the Three Pickers CD.
By including the ambience of the crowd, and the fascinating stories told by the three pickers themselves, the producers of this CD have given us the experience of being in the audience watching the music being performed live. The audio quality is excellent. The selection of classic bluegrass tunes by Bill Monroe and the Carter Family add to the timeless appeal of the CD. I especially like the upbeat numbers like "Ridin' that midnight train" and "Roll in my sweet baby's arms". Only decades of virtuoso playing experience can enable someone to pull off licks like these guys do. By listening to the three pickers play, we are literally participating in history.
Like many people, I have long been familiar with the names of Flatt and Scruggs, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs, and with their music, but knew very little about them personally. This CD contains some great stories shared by the three pickers themselves about their lives. Hear Doc Watson tell about hearing the Monroe Brothers for the first time on an old wind-up "Graphophone" record player. Hear Earl Scruggs talk about how he invented the distinctive three-fingered banjo picking style known worldwide as "Scruggs picking". Hear Ricky Skaggs and Doc Watson reminisce about churning butter and enjoying it with homemade bread. Stories like these personalize these legends of acoustic music, reminding us that they enjoy the simple pleasures of life just like we all do. Somehow, realizing that mere mortals made music this extraordinary brings out even more feelings of awe and admiration.
I recommend you experience this CD as soon as you can. Someday soon, we won't have these legends with us anymore, and opportunities to enjoy music like this will be gone. Don't miss it! ... Read more


7. Folkways: The Original Vision [Bonus Tracks]
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Asin: B0007YJGEU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22871
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Album Description

Reintroduce yourself to the Smithsonian Folkways essentials. More than 15 years ago, Folkways: The Original Vision was one of the first albums released by a then fledgling Smithsonian Folkways label. It was conceived and sequenced to complement Folkways: A Vision Shared, a benefit/tribute album consisting of 14 reinterpretations of Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly songs by a cross-section of some of popular music's top stars at the time. Now, with the re-release of this historic album on its 15th anniversary, Smithsonian Folkways expands upon the original concept with the addition of 6 bonus tracks, and enhances it with stunning new packaging and newly extended notes. Original Vision now provides an even fuller insight into the scope and impact that Guthrie's and Lead Belly's music has made over the last half century. ... Read more


8. Peter, Paul And Mommy
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Asin: B000002KAV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1389
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Despite denied claims that it's about marijuana, "Puff the Magic Dragon" now ranks as one of the finest children's songs in musical history. It's sung around campfires and in nursery schools to this very day (while still occasionally taking a tug at adults' heartstrings as well). So, it only made sense when Peter, Paul & Mary released this "kiddies" LP in 1969, beginning a trend they've returned to throughout their career. Mary Travers had indeed recently become a "mommy," and the trio celebrate here not only with a new version of their classic tune and the traditional "Mockingbird," but clever children's songs from the likes of Tom Paxton, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Shel Silverstein. --Bill Holdship ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent children┬┐s album
This is everything that a children's album should be. It has songs with obvious appeal to children, but sung in the normal style of the singers, so adults can also enjoy it.

Recorded as a result of their success with Puff the magic dragon, the last track here, it also includes another of their classic songs, Day is done, as well as covers of two great Tom Paxton songs, The marvellous toy and Going to the zoo.

Boa constrictor is a silly song that only Shel Silverstein could have written. I first heard it on Johnny Cash's less than serious album, Everybody loves a nut. Mockingbird has been well covered down the years and is ideal for this album. I didn't recognise It's raining from the title but as soon as I heard it's pouring, the old man is snoring, I remembered it.

Fans of Peter Paul and Mary's other music need have no fears about this album. If you enjoy Puff the magic dragon, you will enjoy the rest of this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Children's Songs for Each New Generation
I've been singing for children since I was a teenager in the late 1960s, when I began entertaining my nieces and nephews at family gatherings. Many of the songs on this album became a standard part of my repertoire, not only with the family, but as I eventually became a music teacher and also in my involvement in many camps, and now as a school librarian. At the drop of a hat you can still get me to pull out my guitar and sing "The Marvleous Toy," "Goin' to the Zoo," "The Boa Constrictor" and my favorite, "Puff, the Magic Dragon." (Incidentally, most people don't know that "Puff," was inspired by "Custard the Dragon," a silly poem for kids written by Ogden Nash. It was written years before Peter Yarrow knew what marijuana was. I often introduce the poem before singing the song in my library.)

This album captures the intimacy and simplicity of folk music at its best. It sounds as good today as the day it was recorded. Some recordings are timeless, and this is one of them.

Let's pass these great songs on to yet another generation. My nieces and nephews already have!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is so great!
I hadn't thought about this album in over 30 years. My mom had the 8-track (yellow) when I was little and I loved it. I recently bought it for my 6 month old daughter, (so happy to find it on CD) and every word to every song came back to me as if I had heard it yesterday! I just love it and so does she.
Just like they sing it The Marvelous Toy, "She loves it just like me..."
Buy it for every child you love!

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential for anybody
I remember when I was little and all I had was my little red tape player that I would play this tape over and over again. I eventually lost or broke it, I can't remember which, but it was always my favorite PP&M recording. I just ordered the CD because as I have become more acquainted with the world of music, I just keep ending up back here.

My favorite track is "I Have a Song to Sing, O!" For those of you who don't know, the song is actually an old Gilbert and Sullivan pattersong from "The Yeoman of the Guard".

Everyone should have a copy of this album.

5-0 out of 5 stars timeless
I've enjoyed this albumn since I was young; sharing it with younger brothers & sisters, my own children, & now grandchildren. The songs are timeless, and the memories are priceless. My oldest grandchild is a boy of 14, and the youngest girl is 5 months. The songs are something that we all share together regardless of age. I recommend this albumn for any family, young or old. I've hunted down & bought several copies over the decades. I want each of my children to be able to share this with their own children and build their own treasury of memories. ... Read more


9. Joan Baez - Greatest Hits
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Asin: B000002G50
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2290
Average Customer Review: 3.69 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Before Joan Baez, the closest thing to a white female folksinger was Jo Stafford. Baez made her professional debut in 1959 at the Newport Folk Festival and started recording for Vanguard the next year. Her early association with Bob Dylan and performances of his songs did him no harm. The material in this CD comes from later in her career, when she had left Vanguard for A&M. Listeners who enjoy this CD will probably want to hear her earlier work. She is among the classic American voices. --Stanley Booth ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Collection - but.......
This selection of prime cuts contains all of Joan Baez's best works, but some of the recordings are live. Warning: these songs are just as good, but you may have a preference of studio over 'live'.

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" is a live recording, but misses none of the mood or flair of the single. "Please Come To Boston" is nearly better than the original and Joan captures the tenuous love longings with her voice. "Oh Happy Day" is given the justice and respect it deserves and "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer" is still heartbreaking.

"Diamonds And Rust" is the first cut and with reason. It has to be her best written song/recording to date. Faded memories, lasting longings, the broken heart; ah, Joan Baez is truly gifted.

The remaining songs are her classics from over the years. If you have any misgivings about this album, listen to some of the clips to decide if these versions are the ones you want.

5-0 out of 5 stars AMAZING JOAN
It's amazing the degree of versatility Joan Baez has demonstrated in her long, illustrious career. She is known, of course, mainly for her political stance, and some of her music certainly speaks clearly on her convictions. However, good music is good music, and Joan has delivered more than her share over the years. Her voice is crystal clear and she possesses a phenomenal range in its use.

"Diamonds and Rust," is one of her most impressive songs, a haunting, dark, yet romantic look at love and its' repercussions. She also does an outstanding job on Janis Ian's "Jesse," Stevie Wonder's undiscovered gem, "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer," and Dave Loggins' "Please Come to Boston."

"Forever Young" is a touching and beautiful offering that stands the test of time.

That's what amazing about this collection. These are good songs, and except for the two live versions of her most recognized hits ("Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and "Amazing Grace"), this is an outstanding representation of her unique career.

2-0 out of 5 stars Look elsewhere for these songs
I was very disappointed with this CD. Firstly the remaster is not digital. The sound is flat. Then some of the cuts are from concerts. Amazing Grace, one of her most beautiful songs, is done with audience participation. To make matters worse, she rapidly speaks the words to each verse before singing it to that the audience can participate. This breaks the mood of the song.

I really feel that I wasted my money.

2-0 out of 5 stars ok
This album isn't great, and she always sounds the same through different songs. I do like the song she made a tribute to Janis though.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest Music Ur Ever Listen To
I love this cd and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves 60-70's music.
Joan Baez is a true legend in her own time. ... Read more


10. Volume 2: 1935-1941
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Asin: B00008DAQO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11202
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than Vol 1?
This box set is a continuation of the Carter Family Saga, and shows this group at the peak of musical power for this trio. This is essential music for understanding what Country music was in the 1930s. The harmony vocals and driving rhythm of guitar and autoharp stand in sharp contrast with what is called Country music today. The sound quality is superb (at times, it sounds like a modern recording).

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful
anyone who loves the carter family will be extremely happy owning this 5 cd set! this is vol. 2, but that doesn't mean it's any less wonderful than vol. 1! my only complaint is that A.P. doesn't sing enough songs! ... Read more


11. Wildwood Flower [ASV/Living Era]
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Asin: B00004U9MY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 29043
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

While the Carter Family is certainly worthy of deeperexploration, this 25-song compilation provides a very useful overviewof the work of one of country music's cornerstone artists. Beginning inthe late 1920s, Sara, Maybelle, and A.P. Carter delivered to the restof the world British and Irish ballads that had been preserved inremote Appalachian regions. By fusing the concept of hillbilly stringmusic with the vocal harmonies of religious music and then attachingthis fusion to these timeless songs, they helped give country music itsfoundation, both sonically and spiritually. As a result, many of thesetunes have become distinctively American staples of popular music.--Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent primer on the first family of country music
This compilation features 25 of the Carter Family's classics taken from original 78's and were recorded in between 1927-1938. This collection actually sounds nice concerning the source material, age of recordings, etc and best of all, they are original recordings. Most of these tracks were originally released by RCA Victor, yet there are some later tracks on it as well and it features mainly their signature songs such as the title track, Keep on The Sunny Side, Worried Man Blues (later covered by the Kingston Trio as "A Worried Man"), Can The Circle Be Unbroken (later to be retitled "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" while Mother Maybelle recorded it on guitar originally, it's also worth checking out the re-recording that Maybelle play autoharp on which can be found on the Dirt Band original "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album which is still in print and can be found right here or your local CD shop), My Dixie Darling, Wabash Cannonball, plus 2 tracks from the Bristol Sessions: Bury Me Under The Weeping Willow and Little Log Cabin By The Sea and many more. If you cannot afford the Bear Family box or the Rounder series or if you just want a nice sampler of their well known songs to enjoy while traveling, this is the best collection on the Carter Family to get and explains why they were inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970. ... Read more


12. Carry It On
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Asin: B0000DII8T
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 916
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Peter, Paul and Mary weren't the first folk group to scale the music charts in the early 1960s, but they were far and away the most commercially successful. Carry It On is a four-CD (plus one DVD) box set that gathers all of their hits, along with generous helpings of rarities, B-sides, and previously unreleased songs. Although they had a magical vocal sound, a camera-ready image, and strong songwriting chops of their own, perhaps the trio's greatest strength was their ability to recognize outstanding songs from then-unknown composers. They were the first major group to cover songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Laura Nyro, John Denver, and Tom Paxton, which helped introduce the work of these songwriters to a wider audience. Carry It On is a worthy testament to the legendary group that proved you could make a career out of singing songs of social protest, ancient ballads, modern heartbreak, and even magic dragons, as long as you did so with sincerity, humor, and gorgeous three-part harmonies. --Michael John Simmons ... Read more

Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Who mastered this evil piece of guano? Performance ruined.
What a steaming pile of skit! No, not the performances -- I'm sure they're pretty good. I wish I could hear them. But the boxed set itself is pure evil.

I listen to CDs while using the computer. I use the CD-RW drive to listen to CDs. I even use the CD-RW drive to (gasp! arrest me!) make "car copies" of new CDs, because they get scratched to bits in the minivan. So when this one came in, my wife asked me to immediately make a car copy for her.

Merely inserting this disk into the CD-RW crashes Windows. Poof, just like that. EVEN WITH THE SHIFT KEY DOWN it crashes Windows! The CD drive goes into an endless loop, hanging the system. The eject button is locked and the 3-finger salute is blocked. Nothing but the Reset button can end it.

Using Linux, I was able, eventually, to play it a little. I was able to make a car copy using k3b in paranoia mode 3 (full error correction). The 48X drive, a Sony that is amazingly good at reading through scratches that other players can't cope with, read the disk at between 1x and 2x. Obviously it was having a lot of trouble reading the disk. This wasn't in "clone" mode, just "normal" mode, yet the car copy was still able to crash Windows same as the original.

In the car, btw, the disks do not play right -- they play the first track, but don't allow tracks to be normally selected. Car drives are, of course, often based on CD-ROM drives, not cheaper "entertainment" CD drives, so crappy copy-protection hacks that let $49 dormroom stereos play a disk will block performance on car drives and many high-end systems. Note that the boxed set does not contain the "CDDA" marque, which normally ensures playability. But who sees that on Amazon?

I may send this back to Amazon. Time Warner has proven that they are either blazingly incompetent, evil, or both.

4-0 out of 5 stars This review is about the Bonus Tracks
Peter Paul and Mary are my favorite group. I rate their music 5 stars; some people do, some don't. 'Nuff said about that. What I want to address is the bonus tracks. Another review mentions that one must cue them up in a not-obvious way. Let me elaborate on that review: You cue up a bonus track at the beginning of each of the 4 cds (the 5th, bonus disk is dvd) by cueing up song one, then pressing reverse until you come to the bonus track.

Well! This method is totally bizarre (if it is not bizarre enough to provide bonus tracks that are hard to figure out how to play in the first place--and the directions as to how to play bonus tracks are in tiny, obscure print within the printed book that accompanies the 5 disk set.) This backtracking-from-song-one method of cueing up a song works better or worse on various cd players. On mine, it is virtually impossible to hear the bonus tracks in completion, because pushing the reverse button "scrolls through" the song quickly. It is impossible to lift your finger from the button exactly at the beginning moment of the bonus song. If you don't stop pushing the button at exactly that magical moment, you either hear only a portion of the bonus track, or you have pushed too long and don't hear any of it and you must start a second effort at pushing the button until the perfect moment. Like I say, bizarro.

I suppose it is some marketing exec's idea of a cutesy gimmick. Peter, Paul and Mary, I hope you read this review. You have enough sense that you should have caught this dumb idea and nixed it. It's dumb and offensive. How fun is it, really, to sit over your cd player trying to push a button effectively. Come on, you guys!! Why don't you three write a meaningful song about the lunacy of this aspect of modern button-pushing life. (Ha!) Okay, I've spoken my piece on that! Except for the bonus tracks, it's a nice boxed set.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Songs!
While I'm a 28 year old listener and lover of PPM, with many of their cds, I love listening to the box set, even though I have many of the songs already. My only complaint is the way they've set up the bonus selections on each of the cds, it doesn't work with many players, in fact my Sony bookshelf cd player is the only thing that can play the bonus songs.
I thought the dvd was great, some of the sound quality on the songs is ok, like Leaving on a Jet Plane with John Denver, you can't really hear the vocals that well, and watching it looks uncorordinated. On the newer songs, Mary, oh Mary, I don't know what happened to her voice, I mean I think smoking has ruined her voice, she just doesn't fit well with Peter and Noel. Don't Laugh at Me (even thought its a remake) always makes me sad, it just seems like they sing with so much feeling and you can almost imagine the tears in Peters eyes. I would of like to see more songs from the REUNION album, it would of added nice touches.

5-0 out of 5 stars Back But Never Forgotten
It's amazing to listen to 40 year old Peter, Paul and Mary songs that sound like they were recorded yesterday. Rhino did a great job with selecting the songs and remastering them on "Carry It On." The songs are among the best of Peter, Paul and Mary and few stones are left unturned. There are even some previously unheard versions of these classics. The bonus DVD makes this a real visual and sonic treat.

I do have one problem with the box set. There are bonus unreleased cuts on each of the CDs but they don't automatically play. You have to follow the directions hidden deep in the book that comes with the box set. The trick you have to use just doesn't work on my Sony combo CD/DVD player. It would have been better just to have allowed the bonus tracks to play normally. I thought about reducing my rating one star because of this--but "Carry It On" is just to good for that.

The times they are a'changin' And having this PP&M compilation in the CD collection helps connect us with where we've been so that we can see with some perspective where we going!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Fabulous
For more than 40 years, Peter Paul and Mary have graced us with their amazing sound, and they have inspired us with their commitment to the progressive causes of our times. The CDs in this box set include virtually all of their fabulous music, and the narrative captures the spirit and the significance of their activism.

I have already listened to each disc several times, and I will continue to for weeks, months and years. The early recordings remain current and compelling. The recent ones reveal a marvelous maturity and power in their voices and personalities. There just isn't anything to compare with it.

Anyone who has lived through the remarkable history we share with PPM should own this set as a testament to our own lives. Anyone too young to have experienced their impact should own it to enjoy the music and to learn how music can produce positive change in our society.

If I were permitted to have but one collection of great folk music, this would be it. It is simply fabulous. ... Read more


13. Child's Celebration of Song
list price: $14.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000002M5Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1568
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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This is a family album in the truest sense. With entertainers like Burl Ives, Danny Kaye, Pete Seeger, Loggins & Messina, Taj Mahal, and James Taylor performing some of their best-loved kids' titles, adults and children can share in the joy and fun of this multigenerational collection. Be it quacking with "The Ugly Duckling," singing along with folksy "This Old Man," bopping to the calypso beat of "The Banana Boat Song," or daydreaming to "House on Pooh Corner," every member of the family will find a favorite in this compilation of songs by the original artists. --Deborah L. Moore ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent CD for kids & adults will like it too
This is one of our 2 year-old daughter's favorite CD's and it's also satisfying for adults as well. There are some old and popular favorites that I remember from being a child (Puff the Magic Dragon, Skip to my Lou, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Bannana Boat song...) and some songs new to me, but that we all love: Sweet Honey of the Rock's Little Red Caboose and James Taylor's Jelly Man Kelly are especially beloved. It also lends itself well to dancing. A good buy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Collected past points way to future
This album is quite a compilation of favorites, time-tested songs performed by adult-popular artists of great musicianship. Kids start life new, so you can never go wrong with classics like these no matter how much the songs age.

I noticed that many reviewers were thankful in particular that this is a CD that remains enjoyable to them as adults while their kids play it over and over again, because of the excellent songs and top musicianship--these qualities are definitely missing from lots of kids music.

However, I can wholeheartedly recommend one artist whose music is rich in texture and variety, singable and is just as much fun for parents as kids; the underexposed Skip West has put out two stellar albums, 'Blue Sky City' and 'All Around the World', chock full of original songs to delight and expand little minds while having the musicianship and depth to keep parents sane on the 7th listen of the day. Enjoy :^) You can thank me later, hee hee.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bundle With "Over The Rainbow With Joey" Book For Great Gift
This CD when given to a new parent with the beautiful board book, "Over The Rainbow With Joey" makes the perfect new baby gift. The classic soundtrack found on this CD with other favorites will be enjoyed by baby and parent and make lasting memories.

5-0 out of 5 stars A CD that lasts
I bought this for my daughter when she was 6 months. Now she is four and my son is two and they still love it. "Little Red Caboose" is there absolute favorite. Plus, I love the original renditions of Puff and several others. A great CD, you will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fabulous
My kids and I love singing along to all of these wondergul songs. I love to hear the singers that I know and recognize. I love Burl Ives, Danny Kaye, James Taylor the list goes on and on. It is a great addition to our music collection. We won't leave home without it. ... Read more


14. Hand-Picked: 25 Years Of Bluegrass On Rounder Records
list price: $12.98
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Asin: B0000004DW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1131
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Rounder compiled this superb 50-song set to serve as an introduction to bluegrass in general and to their own catalog in particular. Obvious marketing motives aside, the collection has few weaknesses and offers a broad look at the ever-morphing genre. Perhaps more than any other label, Rounder gave exposure to the renegade progressive and "newgrass" musicians who worshipped the style despite the fact that they weren't from the mountains. Folks like David Grisman, Bill Keith, Tony Trischka, and Bela Fleck push the music in new directions while others such as Del McCoury, Don Stover, James King, Jim & Jesse, and Vern Williams represent more-traditional concerns. Still others--Tony Rice, David Grier, J.D. Crowe, Nashville Bluegrass Band among them--adeptly fuse elements of tradition and innovation. This collection also highlights the important contributions of female artists including Hazel and Alice, Laurie Lewis, Claire Lynch, and Alison Krauss. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent bluegrass sampler
Rounder have priced this very competitively, hoping that people who buy this will think it is so brilliant that they will buy some of the albums from which the tracks are taken. To encourage this, the extensive liner notes give all the relevant information required to track down whichever album contains your favorite tracks. But although you might end up spending more money on Rounder albums, this compilation stands on its own merit.

What you get here, are 49 tracks recorded for one of the most important - perhaps the most important - bluegrass labels around. (Of course, Rounder do a lot more than bluegrass, but that's not relevant here.) Bluegrass music is generally upbeat, good-time music and that is the overall feel of this collection.

Among the 49 tracks, every aspect of bluegrass music is represented from traditional to contemporary and including all types of song that you might find on a bluegrass album. With such notable artists as J D Crowe, Ricky Skaggs, Claire Lynch, Alison Krauss, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Jim and Jesse, Del McCoury, Hazel Dickens, the Johnson mountain boys, Lynn Morris and Laurie Lewis represented here, this is a star-studded line-up. And I didn't name all the stars.

Famous songs are notable by their absence although some songs here are better known than others. Drifting too far from the shore (Boone Creek) is a traditional gospel song. When someone wants to leave (Allen brothers) is a cover of a Dolly Parton album, from her Jolene album. Golden ring (Dry branch fire squad) is a cover of one of the classic duets by George Jones and Tammy Wynette. Sourwood Mountain (Allen Shelton) is a cover of a traditional folk song.

As an introduction to bluegrass music, this is brilliant - it is one of the best there is for that purpose. Appalachian stomp (two volumes) and the various O sister compilations are other great alternatives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not the Complete Story, But a Great Starting Point
It would wrong to assume that this collection covers the entire bluegrass galaxy - no Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Stanley Brothers, Country Gentlemen, etc. - but the sweep of "Hand Picked" is breathtaking, and will certainly lead the interested listener to explore beyond the tracks included here. Within the context of "Hand Picked," one can witness the evolution of artists such as Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, David Grisman, Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck, and learn how the music evolved regionally through acts like Don Stover, Del McCoury and Joe Val. Women in bluegrass are prominently represented by the likes of Alison Krauss, Claire Lynch, Hazel Dickens, and Laurie Lewis.

And there are just so many great songs included here! In addition to the efforts of those mentioned above, The Bluegrass Cardinals (a West Coast band that took up residence in Virginia for a few years) weigh in with the Civil War ballad of the "Blue Eyed Boston Boy," while Dry Branch Fire Squad's Ron Thomason delivers a spare, emotional reading of "Golden Ring." A pre-country-megastar Vince Gill also appears on Here Today's "Lonesome River." Finally, the opening cut features one of the greatest bands ever - J.D. Crowe and the New South, featuring Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, and a then 17-year-old dobro player by the name of Jerry Douglas.

What should be obvious from listening to "Hand Picked" is that bluegrass (like rock, jazz, and classical genres) is a muli-facted, diverse music. Thanks to Rounder for releasing this collection - particularly at such an affordable price!

5-0 out of 5 stars Rounder out your CD collection
If you only had one bluegrass CD, this one from Rounder Records would be a great choice.

2-0 out of 5 stars Blade
Who hand picked these? This is CD is Okay, but I think that there is much better out there. I would buy something from the big three Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, or The Stanley Brothers. There are a couple of good songs here, but most are mediorce or even bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Puts the corn in cornucopia
I purchased this CD a little more than a year ago, and it has cost me a small fortune, happily paid, ever since. Extraordinary range, from inventive newgrass to soulful traditionals, from smooth harmonies to fantastic high-mountain tenors whose voices can strip the paint off an old chair. What you won't find here are the most famous greats--Bill Monroe, the Stanleys, or Flatt and Scruggs (not Rounder artists)--but that's fine; it gives more breathing and playing room to the likes of Vern Williams, Hazel Dickens and many, many other wonders. One thing you should consider before buying, however, is that you can also get this CD as part of a multi-disc Rounder package that includes Blues, Cajun, etc. But think of what THAT's going to cost in the long run! ... Read more


15. Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers
list price: $13.98
our price: $12.99
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Asin: B0000CD5JG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1426
Average Customer Review: 4.83 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Given their impact on generations of country, country-rock, and bluegrass acts, it's amazing the Louvins haven't had a modern tribute before. Unlike tribute albums that stumble through inconsistent performances and ill-matched material, this one soars, the selections well matched to the paired artists. Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent capture "Cash on the Barrelhead's" sassy humor. Emmylou Harris--who spearheaded the Louvin revival--and Rodney Crowell are relaxed on the Louvin hit "My Baby's Gone." Merle Haggard and the album's producer Carl Jackson capture the anguish of "Must You Throw Dirt in My Face." Glen Campbell and Leslie Satcher wring maximum passion from "When I Stop Dreaming." Obscure gospel tunes receive equally stellar treatment. "Keep Your Eyes on Jesus" teams Pam Tillis with Johnny Cash (handling the recitation) and the Jordanaires. Marty Stuart and Del McCoury establish the Louvins' bluegrass ties on "Let Us Travel, Travel On." By seamlessly blending traditional and modern Jackson's created a magnificent tribute that doubles as a fine introduction to the Louvins' earthy, breathtaking majesty. --Rich Kienzle ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Now, THIS is soul music!
Fantastic set of tunes, either written or made popular by Country legends (but largely forgotten by Country Top 40 audiences) The Louvin Brothers. If you appreciate great songwriting, singing and playing - and real soul music - this is one you can't pass up. Whether it's the haunting voices of James Taylor and Allison Krauss on "How's The World Treating You" or the bluesy "Cash On The Barrelhead" (Joe Nichols and Rhonda Vincent), this CD is about very talented people (imagine that!) making great music. Glen Campbell and Leslie Satcher's version of "When I Stop Dreaming" is the standout tune here....a standout among standouts!

5-0 out of 5 stars From 'O, Brother' to the Brothers Louvin
Having been a long-time fan of the harmonies of the Everly
Brothers, then reading a biography on the Everlys that noted
their affinity for the Louvin Brothers, then seeing the afore-
mentioned video of Allison Krauss and James Taylor on CMT, lead
to a quick search and purchase of "Livin' Lovin', Losin'".
The Krauss-Taylor duet on "How's The World Treating You?" blew
me away on television and captivated me on CD. Other 'ear candy'
from this tribute compilation: Emmylou Harris/Rodney Crowell
on "My Baby's Gone" (like it even more than Krauss/Taylor duet);
"Are You Teasing Me?" (Patty Loveless/Jon Randall); and
"Cheater's Waltz" with Linda Ronstadt and CD producer Carl
Jackson. A terrific and welcome addition to my own ecletic
collection. Not a country music or bluegrass or gospel fan,
but as 'tribute' collections go ("Common Thread"), this one's
top drawer.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gem!
This is one of the most satisfying and wonderful collections of music you'll ever be privileged to own. The inspired duet pairings are incredible and if you only know this from seeing Allison Krauss and James Taylor's video on CMT, you're in for a real treat. Theirs is great, but not the best track on the CD in my opinion. Listen to "Cash on the Barrelhead" and "If I Could Only Win Your Love" and you'll be more than hooked. Not a throwaway track on the whole CD - a rarity!

5-0 out of 5 stars Lovin' the Louvins
This was a difficult project for Carl Jackson to undertake. Many of us hold those old chestnuts by the Louvins, with their old scratches from the Opry broadcasts and the vinyl records, pretty seriously. Having others record them could border on sacrilege. And I wasn't too sure about this one when I heard the CD the first time. Especially when I heard -- GASP! -- the Brothers' own voice introducing the first song. Blasphemy, to trick us like that, Mr. Jackson! But the delivery of these songs is so clear and so pure that all the stock and trade Louvin flavor comes out: the tongue-in-cheek humor of "Cash on the Barrelhead," the anxious hope of "If I Could Only Win Your Love", the roller coaster emotions of a lover seeing his girl with another man in "I Don't Believe You Met My Baby"...and the surprise ending.

The choice of artists is superb. Johnny Cash is pleased, I know, that not only was his last earthly performance a gospel number, but one written by two gems in country writing. Merle Haggard, I understand, recorded "Must You Throw Dirt In My Face" in a hotel room with Jackson's recording equipment...the only way the two could meet up given Haggard's crazy schedule. You would not know that from the professionallism of the recording, but on the other hand it brings in the old Haggard train-hopper/trucker/ex-con persona. (Welcome home Merle!) The only ones who are not here are possibly those who are seen as glamorous now by the well-heeled crowd, but whose talents are propped up by a pop management team.

One song I hoped would be on this album wasn't: when I was a girl, my grandmother used to sing me to sleep with a song called "Cowboy Jack", written by the Louvins. It's quite rare, but I heard it played a few years ago on a folk show out of Arkansas on public radio, God bless it. (Pledge drives are now, by the way!). Carl Jackson, if you have a Volume II of the Louvins in mind, maybe Sheryl Crow & Kid Rock, or Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris, could do some nice harmonies with this Marty Robbins-esque ballad about a star-crossed couple.

Kelly Norman

5-0 out of 5 stars Bluegrass meets the blues
Hows the world Treating You, James Taylor and Allison Krauss are awesome, the song is the epotime of a broken heart, and a tear in your beer ... Read more


16. Down from the Mountain: Live Concert Performances by the Artists & Musicians of O Brother, Where Art Thou?
list price: $18.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00005MJYJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2201
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Country music reclaimed its traditional soul with the chart-topping triumph of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. This concert sequel, recorded (and filmed) at Nashville's venerable Ryman Auditorium, reunites Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and other O Brother standouts. With little duplication, the selection extends the movie's revival of acoustic spirituals and Appalachian balladry, though the performances and pacing of the concert aren't quite as consistently compelling as the studio soundtrack. Among the highlights are a pair of originals by Welch and David Rawlings, the bluesy "Dear Someone" and the Everlyesque "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll." Where O Brother interspersed archival recordings among the contemporary artistry, the concert finds Nashville gospel's Fairfield Four harmonizing on the chain-gang chant of "Po' Lazarus," while the late John Hartford (in one of his final performances) renews the deadpan whimsy of "Big Rock Candy Mountain." --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (52)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the soundtrack, but still worth the money!
After three years of being dominated by mediocre, middle of the road pop singers with only marginal talent, country music was finally given a wakeup call with the unexpected success of the O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU soundtrack. The double platinum soundtrack has become one of the most successful albums of the year, and has proved to Nashville that the roots of country music are still thriving.

DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN is the companion to the hugely popular soundtrack. Recorded live in Nashville in May, 2000, the album features several of the songs made popular by O BROTHER, as well as many songs recorded by the artists from the soundtrack. While it lacks the variety of the first CD, DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN sports several songs that make it a fine album to own, regardless of whether they were on the O BROTHER album or not. Standouts include the Cox Family's "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown," Emmylou Harris's "Green Pastures," Gillian Welch's "I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll," and the Whites' "Sandy Land." DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN closes with Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss's duet of "I'll Fly Away." One of the album's best and most bittersweet moments is the late John Hartford's performance of "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Hartford died at age sixty three just a year after the recording was made.

While it isn't as long or enjoyable as the O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU soundtrack, DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN is an excellent companion to its prequel. If you enjoyed the soundtrack, you will love this album. Hopefully, DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN, which has already appeared on the country album charts, will do its share in the quest to repopularize bluegrass and traditional country music.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not As Good As Expected
Having read the glowing reviews on Amazon, I picked this up, with high expectations and was let down by the lack of consistency of the music and the mediocre sound quality. Mind you, my criticisms have nothing at all to do with the musical genre - I love folk blues, blues, bluegrass, newgrass, etc. As an example, I'd prefer the Oh Brother version of "I Am Weary" to this live version and although "I'll Fly Away" comes across pretty well on this live version, I prefer the studio version on the Oh Brother soundtrack. I consider "Wild Bill Jones", "Blue and Lonesome", "John Law Burned Down the Liquor Store" and "I'll Fly Away" to be the only high points on this disc.

About the sound quality: Live albums can have exceptional sound but this one does not. For examples of excellent live sound, check out the Weavers at Carnegie Hall and you'll see that it was possible 40 years ago. I'm not trying to say that this disc has horrible sonics, just that they are lower quality than I expected. Modern engineers can pull off excellent live sound on classical (many examples), rock (Zappa and many others) or acoustic music (Hedges), so it's not a limitation of the medium. Maybe the hall this disc was recorded in is difficult to mic?

2-0 out of 5 stars Check this out ..
This is a cool movie no doubt.
I would have rated it higher -- had I not known that some artists in the movie have never been paid for their performance in it -- hundred of thousands of copies sold -- but zilch has been paid to at least one artist that I personally know.
THey were giving this away on PBS -- to those making a donation --he (artist I know of)is ALL over this movie -- but he has yet to be compensated or recognized by the movie producers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just try it, it is addicting.
I never thought I was a fan of this kind of music till the "Oh Brother" movie, but this "Down from the Mountain" performance has added to my new love. The DVD or VCR of this is also a must see, where it was good to get to visit John Hartford one more time. I really enjoyed the backstage, inside glimpse at the performers on the DVD. Every single song on the CD is a good addition to the over-all pleasant experience, and I suggest you buy this CD if you are a true lover of good music, no matter what type of music you prefer.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my Top Ten
I purchased this C.D. after "Oh Brother..." spent the whole week of my vacation in the C.D. player of my car. In addition to live versions of some of my favorite songs from "Oh Brother..", it has EVEN MORE terrific bluegrass/folk songs from these great artists. Ignore the funny looks that you get when you blast this in your car - you will enjoy remembering "the good ol' days". ... Read more


17. Diamonds & Rust
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002GBM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6283
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Perhaps the most outstanding folk album of the 1970s, this collectionrepresents Baez's blossoming from a girlish folk icon into a mature interpreter of folkmusic. The title track (and, to a much lesser degree, "Dida" and "Children and All ThatJazz") showcases her songwriting, but the intimate spin she puts on the music of others iswhat makes this the remarkable work it is. On Jackson Browne's "Fountain of Sorrow,"Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate" and John Prine's "Hello in There," the purity of Baez'sclear soprano (deeper and mellower than on her early albums) expresses the gentle painsof nostalgia and what-might-have-been. The medley of "Jeannie with the Light BrownHair/Danny Boy" reminds us that no matter what other directions she moves in, Baez willalways be a masterful singer of traditional folk music. --Barrie Trinkle --This textrefers to the Audio CD edition. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Elegant and moving love songs
This elegant album is a seamless blend of her own and others' literate but moving love songs and just a nod to her folk roots in the medley of I Dream Of Jeannie/Danny Boy. She covers songs by Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder, Dylan, John Prine and others, while contributing her beautiful own compositions like the title track, Children And All That Jazz, Winds Of The Old Days (reminiscent of Gulf Winds) and Dida. Her interpretation of Browne's Fountain Of Sorrow is particularly poignant, and so is Jesse, the Janis Ian song. Another classic is the reflective Winds Of The Old Days. Unlike some of her ventures into the art song in the 1980's, this album really works, as she sings with warmth and conviction and make the songs her own. Diamonds and Rust is a successful move away from her pure folk roots.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too stiff
I agree with the reviewer that mentioned that Joan Baez sings without depth or conviction. Perhaps she actually feels deeply about the songs she is singing, but her delivery makes one think otherwise. It is always too stilted, too stiff, too precise for my tastes. She also holds her notes in a steady vibrato for much too long. It's the John Denver syndrome -- hold the last note of your verse almost all the way through until the next one begins. Something about that just bugs me.

She has a clear singing voice, but perhaps it is actually the imperfections in others' voices that brings out the feeling and emotion in the songs. This is too clinical for my tastes. I also have a copy of her Dylan interpretations, and I must say that it suffers from the same problem. Joan sings a heck of a lot better than Bob, at least in the traditional sense of actually having a singing voice (which Dylan never did), but the emotion and "bite" was not lacking in his versions as they are in Baez's interpretations.

Diamonds & Rust is considered by many to be Baez's high-water mark, so if you like her style, get it. I got the album because of the accolades I had read, and was disappointed to find it initially pleasant but ultimately uninvolving.

5-0 out of 5 stars an old favorite
I discovered this album at a country fair 20 years ago, and while the music seemed a little foreign to me back then, in my teens, the more I listened , the better it got. Now I continue to hum these tunes hauntingly like a mind mantra, in my now middle age. It has a magic to it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Far from Baez's greatest folk material!
Despite many positive recommendations of this album, I do not like the material, the singing and the accompaniment. As a folk aficionado, I prefer Baez's true folk singing, especially when she accompanies herself on the guitar. There she really shines. Her contemporary material lacks the power and beauty of her earlier folk singing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Pinnacle of a Fabulous Career
Joan Baez, one of the most breathtaking folk singers of our age, has always made waves by lending her exquisite vibrato to famous and forgotten folk songs. But with Diamonds and Rust, she does a great deal of her own writing. And boy, that's what fans had been waiting for!

The title track, Diamonds and Rust, is such a stirring reflection of a love that just "didn't quite work" - nobody was evil, nothing horrendous happened - but the love just didn't quite work ... and it hurt. It's hard to find a song that really expresses that phenomenon with the kind of heartfelt pain and wimsy of this one. It makes you wonder - what took her so long to start writing her own songs? She's got talent!

The album also contains some favorites like "Jesse" which provides just the most gorgeous forum for her voice and "I Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" which expresses a subtle pain through simple lyrics.

I think most Joan Baez fans agree - Diamonds and Rust is THE Joan baez album, whether you're a long-time fan of her folk albums, or whether you're new to her. There's no excuse for skipping this one! ... Read more


18. Around the Campfire
list price: $19.98
our price: $14.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000062VR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2805
Average Customer Review: 4.79 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

The indefatigable folk trio of Peter, Paul & Mary is a wonderful focal point for younger listeners, toward whom this two-CD set is clearly geared. With a decidedly left-leaning approach to its craft--at least as far as the lyrics are concerned--the group selects great examples from its lengthy recording career. "If I Had a Hammer" veers from solemn consideration to exultant declaratives, working excellently enough that adults will certainly dig the music. Ditto for "Down by the Riverside" and "Light One Candle," which booms with an added mixed chorus, giving the song the power of a protest anthem. Not to paint this as an altogether-too-serious effort, though--"This Land Is Your Land" and "Puff (The Magic Dragon)" sweep the ears of kids up in deceptively minimal movements by the trio. Put succinctly, these two CDs mix kid-oriented and adult-oriented music with just the right touch. --Andrew Bartlett ... Read more

Reviews (24)

3-0 out of 5 stars Buy "The Best of Peter, Paul and Mary" instead
I feel guilty saying anything critical about Peter, Paul and Mary, but "Around the Campfire" was a little disappointing. In theory, it seems like a good idea to put out a double CD of the trio's most memorable songs, from the early sixties, up until their most recent releases, and even with a few previously unreleased songs. However, the album seems geared largely for children listeners as many of the songs are taken from recent children-oriented albums, such as "Peter, Paul and Mommy" and "Peter, Paul and Mommy, Too." Also, a few bad choices detract from the whole, such as including a recent live version of Puff instead of the classic studio version. Two of the new songs are religious folk songs, which might resurrect unpleasant memories of church camp -- or simply church, for that matter. Most disappointing is that time has not been kind to Mary's voice. Peter and Paul sound beautiful in their twilight years, but Mary has lost her high range and sounds raspy. The abundance of recent recordings on this CD makes one's awareness of this inescapable. Even if you buy this album principally for your kids - as I did - remember that you too need to listen to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun, family-friendly music
The legendary folkgroup of Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers may have become famous during the Protest Era of the 50's and 60's, but they have become great family entertainers. If you've never caught one of their performances for children, buy some tickets, offer to babysit the neighbors' kids, and take them! (If you can't make a live performance, at least bake some cookies and rent one of their performances on video.)

This double-CD intersperses a number of the group's old recordings of their early hits (such as "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Blowin' In the Wind," and "Leaving On a Jet Plane") with some of their previous recordings of children's songs (including "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "The Marvelous Toy") and some new recordings of traditional campfire songs (such as "Kumbaya" and "Michael Row the Boat Ashore"). It makes for fun listening and a great sing-a-long. However, those looking for a typical "greatest hits" album of the trio should look elsewhere, since many of their most popular old numbers are not on this recording.

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as seeing them in person
One of the few singing groups who can bring people of all generations together to sing and just feel good. If you don't know the words, they'll help you sing along. I have enjoyed their shows and music for years. My kids fought going because they just knew they wouldn't have a good time and ended up loving them as much as my husband and I.

I recommend this CD as one of the best. It brings back memories of their shows and the good feeling you have while you're there. Their social conscience and feeling for our country, and people of the world are catching. This CD is money well spent.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Music From A Great Folk Trio!
I grew up listening to these guys when I was a kid in the 1960's. This was back when the radio stations played folk music on a regular basis (Yes, they actually did!).
Many of these songs bring back a lot of wonderful memories. Some of them are, Puff the Magic Dragon, If I Had A Hammer, 500 Miles, and Where Have All The Flowers Gone, just to name a few. All of the great oens are here. It's truly great music from a troubled time in our history.
The only complaint I have is that there are only 25 songs here. Each disc is less than 50 minutes long. Peter Yarrow could have added lots of more great music to this collection. A better collection is the 4-disc set being offered by Reader's Digest. It has about 80 songs and also has some of the solo stuff they did. So kt's the better anthology between the 2.
But, for the money & the memories, this one still does a decent job. To a old folkie like me or to any new devotees to folk, I'd recommend this one.
God bless Peter, Paul, & Mary!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great!
This CD contains some of the best sing a long hits ever. It seems like a greatest hits CD for Peter Paul and Mary, set live, and with children's voices in the background of many tunes.
The classic songs about ending war are timeless and still ring true.
If you could never sing a long with a CD, this CD will break your silence. Excellent stuff for all ages! ... Read more


19. Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)
list price: $84.98
our price: $76.49
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Asin: B000001DJU
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2317
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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This impressive--and frankly, fun--musical document is still sending out shock waves almost 50 years after its original 1952 vinyl release. The Smithsonian's six-CD reissue is painstakingly researched, annotated, and packaged (even boasting an enhanced disc for the techno-capable). Unlike field recorders, eccentric filmmaker/collector/musicologist Harry Smith assembled the Anthology from commercially released (though obscure) 78 rpm discs issued between 1927 and 1935. Its broad scope--from country blues to Cajun social music to Appalachian murder ballads--was monumentally influential, setting musicians like Bob Dylan down the path to folk fandom. The White House started its own national music library with the Anthology; anyone with more than a passing interest in American roots music should do the same. --Michael Ruby ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for a well-rounded pop music collection
You should buy this just to hear where all those folk and blues revivalists of the 60s got a large chunk of their material. Back then, these albums were the only way to hear these recordings unless you were willing to go to great lengths to collect old records (like the compiler of this Anthology, Harry Smith).

If you enjoy the Anthology music you can hear a lot more of the same style on Yazoo Records' various "rural music" anthologies. Nearly every disc they issue has an Anthology track or two on it, or other work by artists who appear on this Anthology. I actually find Yazoo's "Before The Blues" series more enjoyable, track for track, than this collection. It's likely, though, that there would be no Yazoo records today if the AAFM hadn't come along in the early 1950s. Also, this Anthology includes secular, spiritual and "social" music in a rather comprehensive way, so understandably there don't seem to be many people who like EVERY song. Even Harry Smith didn't like every song in the collection (read the liner notes).

5-0 out of 5 stars The first great collection of American folk song recordings
The "Anthology of American Folk Music" put together by Harry Smith was originally issued in 1952 in three volumes of 2 LPs each, with a total of 84 tracks collected from old records. It is said that this collection played a seminal role in the folk music revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s, influencing and inspiring the generation of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. Once you listen to these songs you will have little doubt that was indeed the case. The three volumes focus on Ballads, Social Music, and Songs respectively. I did not recognize enough of these 84 songs to use all of the fingers on my guitar picking hand and I could not care less. You can look over the playlist above and see if anything looks familiar, but, obviously, that is beside the point here. These songs involve a definition of "folk" that is expansive enough to include blues singers like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Richard "Rabbit" Brown. The authenticity of these songs is overpowering, transporting you to a time and place when radio was just starting to make inroads into the backwoods of America.

The collection includes a 100-page booklet that features harry Smith's original handbook of songs, an essay by critic Greil Marcus, along with other essays, song notes, photos, graphics, and recollections by legendary artists about how this anthology inspired their own careers. The overall effect is like taking a college course on American Folk Music. Whether your interest in this type of music comes from listening to the Weavers, Peter Paul, & Mary, or the soundtrack to "Brother, Where Art Thou?" hopefully your enjoyment of folk music will lead you back to this seminal collection. Additional Note: There is also an excellent website put together by the Smithsonian Folkways that will tell you for not only alternate titles (e.g., "The Wagoner's Lad" is also known as "Loving Nancy" and "My Horses Ain't Hungry"), but other recorded versions organized by styles (e.g., traditional American Folk, Folksong revival, Post revival, Country/String Band, Bluegrass, and British). Like everyone else, I have been greatly impressed by the way the Smithsonian Institute has been protecting our nation's heritage when it comes to folk music. They take their job seriously and they are very, very good at it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Necessary.
I dont think there is a need to go into to much detail about this *6 CD* set. If you can fork over the cash, just buy it. If you have any interest in roots music, just buy it. If you thought ol' Bobby Dylan and the Band made some great weird music in the basement of big pink in '67 .. for the love of god, BUY THIS! strange, unadorned, raw music , just buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential
Much ink & many electrons have been devoted to explaining both Harry Smith (and a lot of explanation is necessary -- very interesting man) and this wonderful collection of recordings from the 1920's and 30's, so I won't go into too much detail here. If you'd like a good treatise on the work itself as a cultural object, and how it relates to other thematically similar items, I would reccomend Griel Marcus' book Invisible Republic.
This is the greatest mix tape ever made, and an essential cultural artifact, not only of the vernacular music of the hills & highways of pre-electrification America, but also of the folk movement ofthe fifties and sixties (the primer fromwhic all else was derived) and by extension of the hippy movement following closely thereafter.
SOme of this music is really wild...

5-0 out of 5 stars Mysterious, Beautiful and a Kick Inside
I half heard a story about the Anthology on Natl Public Radio a few months ago while I was getting ready for work. The story kept coming back to me, until I had to buy the Anthology to get some peace. Instead of peace, I find that I am now disturbed, intrigued, and haunted.

Music is ill-suited to being described in words, so I'll use an entirely different experience to try and convey what listening to this Anthology is like.

I once knew a fellow who had grown up on Bechtel construction project sites around the world. As a kid playing in the dirt at these sites, he'd collected a box full of those stone tools that humans made and used for something like three million years. I found that once I had turned one of these slips of chipped obsidian or shale over for a moment, it settled naturally into my hand. There was a spot for my thumb, another spot for my forefinger, and my hand was making a scraping or digging motion with the thing. The tool and my hand still remembered their ancient partnership, without any volition from me. This sensation was simultaneously disturbing and satisfying and made the hair stand up on my neck.

This sensation is very close to what I feel listening to this anthology. You will not hear the familiar, highly produced music we're now so comfortable with. You will hear the voice and sound of music as it has been for millions of years -- and you will recognize what you are hearing as being utterly, essentially human.

These recordings were, of course, made only 75 years ago in the 1920's, surely part of the modern era. Yet this was the last moment in time between the old world and the new world. We still sing and play music for the same reasons we always have, but the way we used our voices and instruments for millions of years has been changed by technology. So if these not very old recordings feel strangely like a link to something ancient and mysterious, that's because they actually are.

There is a great beauty in the voices on these recordings, many of which are almost shrill, almost off-key -- unfamiliar to our pampered contemporary ears -- but also perfectly right. There is a mystery in the odd and sometimes fragmentary lyrics, whose once important meaning is now lost.

We can still share the depth of feeling through the music itself, sometimes so strongly that your heart leaps as though you'd been kicked from inside. But, as it says in the booklet of notes, while we can share in the emotions that impelled someone to sing about The Coo Coo Bird in the first place, we'll never know why it was important to live on a mountainside in order to see Willie go by.

Perhaps the true power of this Anthology is that every recording is genuine in a way that is no longer possible. I recommend it. ... Read more


20. Roses in the Snow
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000691TF
Catlog: Music
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Emmylou Harris's 1980 back-to-the-roots album marks a high point in her career. With stellar support from Tony Rice (acoustic guitar), Albert Lee (mandolin), and Ricky Skaggs (fiddle), Harris wanders comfortably and warmly through traditional-country and bluegrass pastures. Skaggs, Dolly Parton, and the Whites add beautiful harmonies as Harris slides effortlessly from the Carter Family to the Stanley Brothers to the Louvin Brothers to Paul Simon. Among the set's peaks are Flatt & Scruggs's "I'll Go Stepping Too," with Rice, Skaggs, Lee (on superb electric guitar), and Dobro master Jerry Douglas turning up the instrumental heat, and the spiritual "Jordan," with Harris, Skaggs, Rice, and Johnny Cash engaging in buoyant four-part harmonies. The 2002 reissue adds a pair of unreleased bonus tracks to the mix. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant bluegrass from Emmylou
This album, in its original vinyl form, was my first full bluegrass album. It starts impressively with the up-tempo title track and maintains a high standard throughout the original album. I replaced my vinyl with CD, since when Rhino have re-mastered it and added two bonus tracks (You're gonna change, Root like a rose) that I'm told are good but not bluegrass. In any case, this album is well worth it for the original ten tracks.

Wayfaring stranger, a traditional song, became a top ten country hit and ensured the success of the album against record company expectations. This was 1980, remember, when Kenny Rogers was the biggest name in country music and the Urban Cowboy craze was at its height. I love Kenny's music and the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, but there are many different types of country music and it's healthy if they can co-exist.

Green pastures is a traditional song that shares the same tune as the more famous Farther along (which Emmylou recorded with Dolly and Linda on one of their Trio albums). On this track, Willie Nelson plays gut-string guitar while Ricky Skaggs sings the song as a duet with Emmylou. Dolly provides harmony vocals but you have to listen closely to hear her contribution.

The Boxer is a cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic. It works well as a bluegrass classic, though Emmylou did not adjust the lyrics for gender. Obviously, not many people minded as the song was released as a single and made the country top twenty.

Darkest hour is just before dawn, a cover of a Ralph Stanley song, also features Ricky Skaggs on vocals. That song is followed by the brilliant up-tempo song, I'll go stepping too - if this doesn't set your toes tapping, nothing will.

You're learning comes from the songbook of the Louvin Brothers. Emmylou recorded several of their songs, notably If I could only win your love and When I stop dreaming, on her early albums and did much to revive interest in their music.

Jordan, an upbeat gospel song, features a few lines from Johnny Cash.

Miss the Mississippi and you is a cover of the Jimmie Rodgers classic, brilliantly revived by Crystal Gayle just a year or so before Emmylou recorded this album. While Crystal did it in a pop-country style, Emmylou did it as a bluegrass song. Both are excellent in their different ways - as, of course, is the original version by Jimmie Rodgers.

Gold watch and chain completes the original album. It is an old Carter family song and features Linda Ronstadt as duet singer. On the re-mastered Rhino version, you now get to hear those two extra tracks.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Emmylou
Many Emmylou Harris fans state this as one of her best efforts, and its a fair statement. ROSES IN THE SNOW is Classic Emmylou, start to finish. This is a good album to start your Emmylou Harris collection with, if you want an accurate depiction of what type of artist Emmylou is. This shows her once again as a master interpreter, she can take a song and make it her own. The album spawned a few hit singles on the country charts. "Wayfaring Stranger", a hauntingly beautiful track, hit #7 on the country singles chart in May 1980. "The Boxer", made it to #13 in August 1980. Another single was "Greener Pastures". This album came when everyone in Nashville was captitalizing on a certain trend, Emmylou decided to go the bluegrass route and thank goodness, this is one of her most consistently good albums, good song after good song. The band here includes Tony Rice on guitar, Bryan Bower on autoharp, Jerry Douglas on dobro, and more. She handles Paul Simon's "The Boxer", a lovely cover of the Louvin Brothers "You're Learning". There's also a haunting duet with Willie Nelson on the gospel-like track "Greener Pastures", and Ricky Skaggs on "Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn". Other highlights include the title track, "Jordan", and "I'll Go Stepping Too". This is the re-released edition of the album, it comes with two none bluegrass songs, one is a cover of Hank Williams (You're Gonna Change) which also features Julie Miller on backing vocals, and Celtic-flavored track called "Root Like A Rose". Highly reccomended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The HOTTEST Version of Emmylou's "Hot Band"
Ms. Harris' band has been called "The Hot Band", and dozens of talented musicians have been members. The Hot Band was never hotter than on this beautiful album. Albert Lee is one of the hottest country guitar players ever - a sort of country Eddie Van Halen. Tony Rice on the acoustic guitar is every bit the equivalent of Albert Lee's electric. Ricky Skaggs adds his fine mandolin and fiddle work. Dobro King Jerry Douglas adds his stamp.

Then the vocals! Emmylou's angelic voice is harmonized with Rice and Skaggs. Linda Ronstadt. Dolly Parton. Johnny Cash. The Whites.

This recording is every bit as good as ANY of the "Will the Circle be Unbroken" albums, but it is WAY more consistant. AT the same time it's way hotter than the wonderful "Trio" albums with Ronstadt and Parton. There's not a weak track on here. Ralph Stanley, the Louvin Brothers and Simon and Garfunkle's songs never sounded so good.

Get it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Emmy's Best
As the liner notes indicate in the CD booklet, while country music was beginning to move towards a more pop sound in the early 80s, Emmylou ran the other way and created one of her best masterpieces, 1980's ROSES IN THE SNOW. It would seem strange that Emmylou would choose to do a bluegrass album, but it shows her versatility as an artist and her willingness to try new things when the rest of the world is going for whatever is more contemporary. She has never been confined by the walls of Nashville. This is the Rhino re-release of the album, and it includes two bonus tracks, "You're Gonna Change" and "Root Like A Rose". The two hits from the album include Paul Simon's "The Boxer" which peaked at #13 on country singles, and "Wayfaring Stranger" which peaked at #7. The album features an array of guest artists including Dolly Parton, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson, Jerry Douglas, Johnny Cash, and many others. To pick highlights would be useless, as the whole collection is excellent. No Emmylou collection is complete without this album!

5-0 out of 5 stars No mechanical bull references here...
In 1980 "country" music was going the way of "Lookin' for Love in All the Wrong Places" and "9 to 5". The old "country" sound of the 1960s and 1970s was giving way to a new "country" sound that would eventually produce Garth Brooks and ultimately make "country" the dominant music genre in the United States.

Emmylou Harris did not follow this trend, in fact she seems to have fled from it. In 1980 she and the band left the electric guitars at home and recorded an absolutely gorgeous acoustic country/bluegrass album. The road less travelled bore far more fruit than expected in this case. From the first ripping fiddle notes that open the title track the album takes you in with its sound, atmosphere and beauty. I first heard this album in headphones (I was at work and needed to filter out the usual nonsense going on around me), and was simply dumbstruck. Being relatively new to "country music" (I hate categorizing music) I wondered what I had been missing all these years. Now I know.

This album owes as much to folk and bluegrass as it does to country. Its sound is significantly different from Harris' previous album "Blue Kentucky Girl" which tends toward electrified country. The themes are sometimes heartbreakingly sorrowful ("Wayfaring Stranger", "You're Learning", "Miss the Mississippi and You"), sometimes religious ("Green Pastures", "Jordan"), sometimes hopeful ("The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn"). It is also easy to be skeptical about "country" covers of "rock" songs, so I was pleasantly surprised at the version of "The Boxer" which complements the other songs incredibly well. There are no duds on this album, only great and greater songs.

The CD booklet contains in-depth information on the making of the album, and it's place in the "country" genre of the time. We can all be happy that Emmylou Harris is not a follower. ... Read more


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