This release contains what is sadly the final volume in Bluesville's trilogy of long-players featuring the highly original Piedmont blues of Pink Anderson. As with the two previous discs, Ballad & Folk Singer was recorded in 1961. It is also notable that Anderson returns to his native South Carolina to document this set. The second installment -- Medicine Show Man -- had been compiled from a New York City session held earlier the same year. Astute listeners will note that three of the titles -- "The Titanic," "John Henry," and "The Wreck of the Old 97" -- were duplicated from Anderson's side-long contribution to Gospel, Blues & Street Songs. The other side featured another Piedmont native, Rev. Gary Davis. However Anderson's delivery is notably different when comparing the two performances. One of the primary discrepancies lies in the pacing. Here, the readings are more definite and seemingly less rushed. The same is true for the phrasing of Anderson's vocals, most notably on "John Henry." The intricate and somewhat advanced guitar-playing -- that became one of Anderson's trademarks -- is arguably more pronounced on these recordings as well. Again, "John Henry" displays the picking and strumming techniques that give his decidedly un-amplified vintage Martin acoustic guitar such a full resonance that it practically sounds electric. The instrumental introduction to "Betty and Dupree" exemplifies the walking blues or stride motif particularly evident and notable among Piedmont blues artists. Enthusiasts should also note that in addition to these latter recordings, Anderson also performed on four tracks with his mentor Simmie Dooley in the late '20s for Columbia Records. Those pieces can be found on the compilation Georgia String Bands (1928-1930). Anderson actively toured until a debilitating stroke forced him to retire in 1964.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer