Art of Field Recording Volume 2
Dust To Digital
Dust To Digital
By James Calemine
On the heels of the GRAMMY-winning Art of Field Recording Volume 1, Volume 2 ranks as another timeless Dust To Digital release. Like Volume 1, Volume 2 contains 4 discs, a 96-page book, over 100 songs and many photographs, drawings and illustrations by Art Rosenbaum.
Like all Dust To Digital recordings, this music is good for the soul. It’s spiritual music played in the most traditional fashion; in Rosenbaum’s words-“ever-renewing contexts, embodying time past in time present”. Cultural musical elements of this collection preserve traditional, old-time, bluegrass and country idioms in finest form.
Disc 1 (Survey) contains 29 tracks. Highlights on this CD include Tony Bryant’s cover of his friend Blind Willie McTell’s “Broke Down Engine, Jake Staggers’ “Garfield”, Bobby McMillon’s “The Devil Song”, John & James Patterson’s “Muddy Roads of Georgia”, Cecil Barfield’s “Georgia Blues”, Bret Hare’s “Jonah”, and Chester Hounchell’s fiddle classic “Paddy On The Turnpike”.
Disc 2 (Religious) reveals some of the greatest religious recordings from the South…many recorded in the church. One must remember, most of these recordings are one-take spontaneous numbers. Some of these indelible songs resonate in ways one cannot forget. A few of the recordings contain a spoken introduction by one of the artists. Gems of this disc include Brown’s Chapel Choir’s “Welcome Home”, Otha Cooper’s “No Room At The Hotel”, The Traveling Inner Lights’ “Let’s Have A Family Prayer”, The McIntosh County Shouters’ “Eve And Adam”, Cora Thompson’s “I Know I Got Religion” and the Silver Light Gospel Singers’ “Dry Bones”.
Disc 3 (Accompanied Songs and Ballads) These tracks contend as some of the most down-home, organic recordings one can find. Very little audio tinkering with these recordings…no tricks…straight from the strings and voice into the recording microphone. Heart-felt ballads sang by inspired singers without any attention of accolades or attention other than that of their Maker. Personal favorites on this disc include The Chancey Brothers’ “I Wish I Was A Mole In the Ground”, George Gibson’s “Southern Texas”, Ola Belle Reed’s “The Boat’s Up The River”, Tanner/Miller’s “Devilish Mary”, Jack Bean’s “Steamboat Bill”, Lawrence Eller’s “John Henry”, Pete Steel’s “Last Payday At Coal Creek” and Mabel Cawthorn’s “Going Up the Country. However, each song serves as a beacon of musical light.
Disc 4 (Unaccompanied Songs and Ballads) preserves some of the finest vocal recordings in the south. No tricks here either as far as tinkering with sounds or multi-layered tracks to conceal any flaws. This CD serves as a lineage to the oldest folk traditions…oral storytelling or the lone singer singing a story. Pound for pound, songs on this disc rank as the most impressive since it only contains the human voice. Honorable mentions include Mary Lomax’s “Fair And Tender Maidens”, Doc Parks’ “The Battle of Stone River”, Jim Cook’s “I’m A Noble Soldier”, Anna Underhill’s “The Young Man’s Lament”, Ollie Gilbert’s “Lady Lye”, Alice Gerrard’s “Shenandoah”, Bonnie Loggins’ “I’ll Drink And Be Jolly”, Della Mae Reedy’s “The Farmer’s Son” and Stan Gilliam’s “Sail Away Lady”.
Expect Art of Field Recording Volume 2 to be considered for a 2009 GRAMMY. This collection deserves eternal recognition…