Merle Travis

Folk Songs of the Hills

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

In 1946, Capitol approached Travis with the idea of cutting a folk album, and although he wasn't an especially folk-oriented artist, he agreed to give it a go. Although the resulting 1947 record (released as a 78 rpm album) didn't sell well, it was a respectable effort performed by Travis on solo acoustic guitar. Folksy introductions embellish the songs, which include standbys like "John Henry" and "Nine Pound Hammer." Travis added a few songs of his own penned in the folk style, and one of these, "Sixteen Tons," would prove to be his most famous composition, reaching number one when it was covered by Tennessee Ernie Ford in the 1950s. The CD reissue combines the eight songs from the 1947 release with four songs from the Capitol Electrical Transciption series that were added to the batch when the album was reissued as Back Home in 1957; it also adds a song from the 1946 sessions that was previously unreleased in the U.S., "This World Is Not My Home."

blue highlight denotes track pick