Roscoe Holcomb

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Without attempting to slight any other Appalachian or old-time artist, many critics have decided the solo recordings of Roscoe Holcomb produced in the '60s by John Cohen represent some kind of pinnacle for this genre. Every quality that is important in this music is represented here in the fullest dimension, by a man who sings like a philosopher while keeping a rhythm going on several stringed instruments that would make a metronome envious. And then there's his voice. He seems to reach with some held notes as if attempting to establish a resonance that will allow him to actually enter a listener's skull. Holcomb didn't make that many recordings, so those who appreciate his music will want them all. This contains 11 pieces and it is hard to decide what is his best, his banjo or guitar playing. Some may put the haunting unaccompanied ballad "The Village Churchyard" ahead of it all. A great talent of Holcomb's is his ability to present material bordering on devastating emotionally in a way that is uplifting and rhythmically intoxicating. It makes for memorable music.

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