Charlie Poole was the Hank Williams of 1920s string band music, and while he wasn't a particularly brilliant banjo player (although his later three-finger-style picking would set the table for the advent of bluegrass banjo a couple of decades after his death), and he wasn't the world's greatest vocalist either, he had a certain devil-may-care charisma that made him a star in the early days of the recording industry. Poole's greatest talent -- aside from an ability to go on long drinking sprees and to manage to be at the center of things even in his absence -- was in his song adaptations, which drew from sources outside the standard Appalachian fiddle tunes and reels, including pop, ragtime, and blues. Poole, with his band the North Carolina Ramblers, recorded mostly for Columbia Records, but disguising his band as the Highlanders, he also recorded under the table for Paramount and Brunswick in 1929, working piano into the standard string band lineup of fiddle, banjo, and guitar. This set collects those recordings, and features all of the sides Poole made with Roy Harvey, Lucy Terry, and twin fiddlers Lonnie Austin and Odell Smith, including the epic four-part "A Trip to New York."
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett