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Complete General Recordings
Genres: Folk, Pop
They were only together for about a year in the early '40s, but the Almanac Singers' repertoire, and individual members, would go on to much later greatness in the decades that followed. Comprised of folk legends Woody Gut... more »
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They were only together for about a year in the early '40s, but the Almanac Singers' repertoire, and individual members, would go on to much later greatness in the decades that followed. Comprised of folk legends Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Pete Hawes, and Millard Lampell, the group performed mostly at left-wing political conventions and labor rallies with a set list that mixed the traditional with the political. The songs contained on Complete General Recordings are some of their finest moments, and many of the tunes would see later life covered by the Weavers (Seeger and Hays's future band) and even--in the case of "House of the Rising Sun"--the Animals. Produced by another music legend, Alan Lomax, Their Complete General Recordings is an essential document of folk music's history and a great chance to these classic numbers in a raw, unadulterated form. The Almanac Singers may not have sold as many records as their contemporaries (blame that on the unpopular pacifism they preached as the United States entered World War II), but their versions of these tunes are simply timeless. --Jason Verlinde
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Piece of folk history, but the other CD is a better buy...
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 09/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Almanac Singers were a commune, collecting some superbly talented artists like the young Lee Hays, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, joined by a rotating group of competent supporting musicians. In 1940-41 they had several recording sessions and performed mostly for labor union rallies and left-wing political meetings. This CD features their versions of traditional sailor songs and agricultural ditties, rather than the controversial union stuff and pre-WWII neutrality songs and early WWII anti-facist tunes. For one-take sessions, done on the lowest of budgets, these renditions are pretty wonderful. If you just want to have a sample of what the Almanacs, who pioneered the folk recording group genre, and paved the way for The Weavers a decade later, were like, it will do nicely. However, if you want an Almanac CD which presents 29 of the total of 35 tracks the group ever preserved, and includes the union and political stuff along with these songs, too, then go buy the disc titled "Songs of Protest." It is a great value. (By the way, the sound quality on both of the available Almanacs CD's is surprisingly good.)"