Various Artists

Roots [Nascente]

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Roots, issued by the ever-cool Nascente label (everything they do is hip), is a killer double-disc collection of music by American, English, and Irish musicians who stick close to tradition by manipulating it in interesting ways. Compiled by the editors at the venerable Folk Roots magazine in the U.K., it covers 20 years -- 1980-2000 -- with tracks like Ry Cooder's amazing hybrid version of "Get Rhythm," (using Flaco Jimenez's squeeze box as a melody instrument along with beefy electric slide as a rhythmic counterpart) to kick things off. And while this is one of the most killer leadoff tracks ever, it is nonetheless only one of the 38 treasures included. There are cuts by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Billy Bragg, Afro Celt Sound System, the Mekons, June Tabor, Chris Smither, Bruce Cockburn, the Oysterband, Corey Harris, Taj Mahal, the Pogues, and so many others that keeping tracks of what's coming at you becomes its own delightful blur. Highly recommended; this is one of the great compilations out there.

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