Nearly 60 years after Woody Guthrie recorded most of his best work comes a series that finally does it total justice. The music all issues from the master tapes of Folkways Records founder Moses Asch, for whom Guthrie made his most important recordings. Sound quality is uniformly pristine, the liner notes are extensive and exceptional, and the gritty, direct, idiosyncratic performances leave no doubt why Guthrie is considered a giant of American folk. This second in a series of four CDs focuses on 25 examples of Guthrie's interpretive work -- classic folk and country songs, most of which he learned on the road in Oklahoma, Texas, and California. The uninitiated should start with volume one, which contains mostly original compositions, but the present set proves that Guthrie was almost as interesting a performer as he was a writer. And he had great taste in material. Among the many highlights, some of which feature accompaniment by Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry, and Pete Seeger, are Jimmie Rodgers' "Muleskinner Blues" and traditional numbers like "Stackolee," "Danville Girl," and A.P. Carter's "Worried Man Blues."
AllMusic Review by Jeff Burger