Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Hard Hitting Songs for Hard Hit People
Genres: Country, Folk
Hazel Dickens has chosen to put herself and her music to work for the benefit of people faced with struggle. The vocal styles she uses, strident, vigorous and harsh, or wistful, lonesome and melancholy, combining elements ... more »
Listen to Samples
Hazel Dickens has chosen to put herself and her music to work for the benefit of people faced with struggle. The vocal styles she uses, strident, vigorous and harsh, or wistful, lonesome and melancholy, combining elements of Southern church singing, country music and bluegrass, are those of a country woman who identifies with the most basic aesthetic and ethical values of her people. Generations who follow us and who have forgotten the top ten tunes on today's pop and country music charts will know and respect Hazel's music because hers is art of timeless and enduring values. --Ralph Rinzler, from his liner notes
The deepest hardest blues
Matthew M. Carr | St. Louis, MO United States | 03/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This music is clear-eyed, bright, and hard. "Aragon Mill," "Tommorow's Already Lost," and, well, everything else is impossibly beautiful and harsh. There are a lot of over used adjectives for deeply American music like this, and they really all apply. Listening to this music you know you can trust what she says. Listening to this music you also know that you should be looking out as much as you can for people who are not as fortunate as you. I first heard her singing "Conversation with Death" on Songcatcher, and just knew that I would have to listen to everything she's done. As a fan I hope she makes a record either by herself, with Iris Dement, Alice Gerrard, or whoever she wants to and makes a million bucks. As a person I just hope I can live up to what her work makes me feel. With the political weather the way it is now, this hard world will just get harder."
One of the most underrated American artists of all time
Martin P McGreal Jr | St. Louis, MO | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The thing that amazes me about Hazel Dickens is her breathtaking lyrical ability. The music is absolutely superb, and well produced, but it's the lyrical power of songs like "Lost Patterns" that leave me completely speechless. She is actually singing poetry. I recommend you download the MP3s available here to see what I'm talking about, but keep in mind that her sound and messages range beyond what's represented here.Her word choice on "Lost Patterns" is exceptionally descriptive and well designed, and by itself is enough to make you feel the desperation as if it was your own. But coupled with her voice, and that lovely mountain sound... Outstanding. Not all of her songs are as intensely lonely as Lost Patterns. Some are especially lush and vibrant, such as "West Virginia, My Home." If you have a single bluegrass bone in your body, you won't be disappointed buying this album."
Beautiful beyond compare...
Campbell Roark | from under the floorboards and through the woods.. | 08/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I feel incompetent in reviewing this music. There's truly nothing I can write that can do justice to Hazel Dickens, still, there's something to be said for the attempt... Rounder rereleased this in the late-90s I believe, and the world is all the better for it. Whether you're a fan of bluegrass, appalachian old-time music, protest folk or even country. There are shades of gospel in her vocal stylings (comparable to Ralph Stanley's, I feel), which makes sense as she grew up singing in the unacompanied style of the (early) Baptist church. Hazel's style can't simply be relegated into any one of those categories: she transmuted all she heard and saw and felt into a style that was unique to her. I've never heard anything like it.
Truth be told, I'm not an afficiando of any of the afore-mentioned musical genres. But I know what I love and I know damn good music when I hear it. This was Hazel Dickens' first solo release for Rounder around 1980 (?) or so. Along with her, "It's Hard to Tell the Singer From the Song," this is some of the most poignant and marvelous music out there, regardless of the style.
Even despite the dark content of her music and her poetic ability at describing scenes and sentiments, there is still much joy all over these songs. She transmutes an honest sense loss and betrayal into something that rises and flies...
5 stars and then some. Just listen to the audio samples if you don't believe all us 5 star-ers..."