This fascinating collection was put together by archivist Christopher Wagner, who assembled these vintage 78 rpms recorded between 1922 and 1959 by all manner of emigrant musicians -- each addressing the hopes, dreams, fears and confusions of starting a new life in a new world -- into an amazing statement on diversity. Some 50 million people migrated from Europe to America in the 19th century, with millions more coming from the Far East, the West Indies, and points in between, all putting to the test the melting pot theory of American democracy, a theory that is, in many ways, still being tested. Consisting of selections by Irish string bands, Scandinavian folk ensembles, ragged street corner calypso orchestras, conjunto bands and so much more, Stranded in the USA holds a mirror to a vital period in U.S. history, and also sheds light on a nascent recording industry trying anything and everything to reach pocket audiences, a process that is difficult to imagine in a contemporary setting full of corporate multimedia giants more intent on selling culture than reflecting or serving it. This truly is the sound of America singing. Kudos to Trikont Records, a German label, for recognizing the importance of these tracks.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett