Jean Ritchie

Ballads from Her Appalachian Family Tradition



A crystalline-clear voice and a tireless preservation of traditional music are two of the contributions to folk music that Jean Ritchie is most respected for, and both shine on the Smithsonian/Folkways release Ballads from Her Appalachian Family Tradition. Mostly a cappella, with a few songs accompanied by dulcimer, these children's ballads are alternately warm and chilling, achingly beautiful and as stark as the bones of the balladeers who wrote the songs hundreds of years ago.

- Zac Johnson

The Pogues

Hell's Ditch



Produced by Joe Strummer, Hell's Ditch marked Shane MacGowan's last studio effort with the Pogues. While his unintelligible vocals and shambling demeanor can be distracting, songs like "Rain Street" and "Sunny Side of the Street" are well worth revisiting and the rest of the band picked up the slack in a big way, especially Terry Woods.

- Timothy Monger