Various Artists

Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier

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Ballads and old-time music from the Arkansas hills, recorded in 1959. Includes tunes on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, as well as a cappella selections by Ollie Gilbert and Almeda Riddle. Some of the songs have roots in the English ballad repertoire, while others are relatively topical and modern ("The Titanic"); "Buffalo Gals" (performed on banjo by Bookmiller Shannon) is a tune not solely known to folklorists. As is the case with all Alan Lomax productions, the music is of considerable ethnomusicological interest, with performances that illustrate diverse aspects of the region's tradition. For general-listening purposes, however, it's of more limited value than some of the other titles in the Southern Journey series, due to its stark, almost dry presentation (particularly on the unaccompanied vocal numbers) and material that is somewhat further removed from the popular consciousness than many other Lomax projects. Five of the 25 tracks are previously unreleased.

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