Various Artists

Music and Songs of the Southern Appalachians

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This is an extremely deceitful album. It purports to be a collection of traditional Appalachian instrumentals featuring ex-Rooftop Singer Erik Darling (he is listed on the cover as Eric rather than Erik), supposedly featuring him on guitar, banjo, dulcimer, fiddle, and harmonica. The first 20 tracks here, though, are actually field recordings of Etta Baker, Hobart Smith, and Richard Chase collected by Liam Clancy, Paul Clayton, and Diane Hamilton in Virginia and North Carolina in the summer of 1959. And just to confuse things further, the final ten tracks (which include vocals) are actually drawn from the album Bowling Green by the Kossoy Sisters, recorded by New York-based twins Ellen and Irene Kossoy in 1956, and it does include guitar and banjo accompaniment by Erik Darling. There is no evidence that either Darling or the Kossoy Sisters had anything to do with this misrepresentation. The whole thing is a shame since the music on this collection is actually pretty cool, ranging from haunting and eerie to comforting and melodic, but the packaging is so shoddy and false that it can't be recommended in good conscience. Collectables usually does a much better job on its reissues than this, and truthfully, this same cobbled-together set has been put out countless times under various titles by different labels over the years.

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