Various Artists

Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana

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An interesting and varied set of folk recordings originally done for Diane Hamilton and Patrick Clancy's Tradition Records between 1955 and 1961, Folk Roots: The Sound of Americana may not exactly live up to its title but it does feature some striking recordings, most notably Odetta's powerful version of "Chilly Winds," Etta Baker's spry guitar instrumental take on "Goin' Down the Road Feeling Bad," Barbara Dane's stirring "Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot," and Mrs. Edd Presnell's chiming dulcimer run-through of "Amazing Grace." Also worth noting is John Jacob Niles' affected vocal (he sounds like Tiny Tim gone dramatically folky) on "The Death of Queen Jane," a recording that is almost perversely fascinating. Lord knows no Appalachian ballad singer ever sounded like that no matter how much moonshine he might have put away.

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