Various Artists

The Traditional Music Of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, Vol. 1: The Older Ballads And Sacred Songs

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Sandy Paton, who died in 2009, founded Folk-Legacy Records, an independent label specializing in traditional and contemporary folk music, in 1961, and the imprint was very much his baby -- he handled all of the recording and oversaw even the smallest details of the label’s releases, which numbered around 120 albums at the time of his death. He made the field recordings collected here over a period of several years while visiting friends on Beech Mountain in northwestern North Carolina and released them in two volumes, of which this is the first, consisting of Child ballads, old camp gospel songs, and other traditional material -- the second volume contained songs of more recent vintage as well as active material sung at the little Beech Creek church. As a document of a tradition fast fading from the land (thanks in part, no doubt, to iPods, the Internet, the constant streaming of digital music, and the myriad distractions of contemporary life), these intimate, hushed recordings reveal a time when songs and singing came from within and not without, when gathering with friends and making music on the back porch wasn’t a quaint idea but a way of life.

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