The first installment in Document's multi-volume series covering the work of old-time country guitarist and singer Roy Harvey presents the first two dozen of his known recordings in chronological order, all done in 1927 with the exception of one 1926 track. Only a few of these are actually billed to Roy Harvey as a solo artist, the compilation also including sessions co-credited to Harvey and Bob Hoke and Harvey and Posey Rorer, as well as ones on which he played with or as part of the North Carolina Ramblers. Those listeners familiar with the most well-known member of the Ramblers, Charlie Poole (who's only on a couple of these sides), will know more or less what to expect from these recordings featuring Harvey: old-time Appalachian folk, on the cusp of making a transition into early country music. Even more than reissues on which Poole is featured, however, this Harvey collection might be more for specific fans of the genre than for general country or folk listeners. Most of the songs follow a plaintive singsongy, storytelling structure, and while a cut-to-cut similarity is found in many single-artist compilations of early American roots music, it's a greater factor to contend with on this CD than it is on the typical such anthology. Still, Harvey had his role to play in the early recorded history of the style, and as is standard for the Document label, this collection documents it rigorously. There's unavoidable surface noise and variable sound quality, but on the whole the transfer of the material from the rare source discs is well done and the fidelity quite listenable.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger