Various Artists

Anglo-American Ballads, Vol. 2

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The music on the second volume in the Anglo-American Ballads series were collected from 1937-42 in Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. It's not recommended as highly as the first volume due both to the shorter length (ten tracks) and less accessible performances. These are divided between a cappella vocals and numbers with accompaniment by banjo, guitar, and dulcimer, the forceful banjo of Justus Begley (of Kentucky) being a highlight. Some of these ballads sound innocuous until you listen closely to the lyrics; The Two Brothers" (sung by Mrs. Texas Gladden) is a gory tale of fratricide, and "Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender" (sung by Horton Barker) matches that with its lines about kicking a decapitated head against the wall. Hobart Smith is probably the most recognizable performer (of "Claude Allen") on the collection, though I.G. Greer has a deep and earnest tone worth hearing.

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