Various Artists

Prison Songs, Vol. 2: Don'tcha Hear Poor Mother Calling

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These were recorded during the same field trips to Parchman Farm that yielded the material heard on Rounder's Prison Songs Vol. 1. Unlike that set, everything here is previously unreleased; what's more, most of the singers on this collection were not heard on the other volume. It's quite similar to Vol. 1, however, in that most of the material is a cappella, much of it recorded while the men were at work. Perhaps it's a bit starker and rawer, although exactly what made some selections suitable for release while others remain unissued is not obvious, other than the intrinsic lack of commercial potential for several discs' worth of projects of this nature. These performances, like those on the previous volume, project great spiritual fortitude, with a dignity and force that evokes more admiration than pity.

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