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Folk Songs of the Hills: Back Home / Songs of the Coalmines
Merle Travis
Folk Songs of the Hills: Back Home / Songs of the Coalmines
Genre: Country
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Merle Travis
Title: Folk Songs of the Hills: Back Home / Songs of the Coalmines
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Bear Family
Release Date: 3/8/1993
Album Type: Import
Genre: Country
Styles: Bluegrass, Classic Country, Western Swing, Instrumental
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1

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CD Reviews

One of the best albums of all time!
Ronald G. Jordan | Sugar Grove OH | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you have any appreciation whatsoever for traditional American music, this collection is absolutely essential for your collection. One of the best and most classic albums i've ever heard from one of the most profound song writers and guitar wizards of our time. I don't know if the music was digitally remastered, but the sound quality is excellent and really adds to the feeling.

Excellent Songs From One Of The Greats Of Folk And Country M
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 12/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After hearing Merle's "Dark As A Dungeon" on the classic "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album I decided to buy this CD and I'm glad that I did.

Like many people, after I hard's day work I have often found myself singing "Sixteen tons and what do you get? / Another day older and deeper in debt." But until I purchased this record I never knew that "Sixteen Tons" was a Merle Travis song. From the excellent liner notes, I also learned that Merle grew up in the small coal mining town of Ebenezer, Kentucky in the early 1900's. But he didn't follow in his father's coal miner footsteps. Instead he sought out a career as a professional musician. He played with Grandpa Jones and the Delmore Brothers at a Cincinnati radio station before finally heading to Hollywood where, in 1946, he was signed by Capitol Records.

Capitol A&R guy Lee Gillette saw some potential in folk music and had Merle record "Folk Songs Of The Hills", which featured the first 8 songs on this CD. But this record was a flop commercially and Merle returned to playing a more popular style of country music, with hits like "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)" and "Divorce Me C.O.D.". In 1956 "Sixteen Tons" was played on Tenneessee Ernie Ford's TV show and suddenly became a big hit. So Capitol re-released Merle's 1946 recordings. But the new album included 4 additional songs and was titled "Back Home". Merle then became part of the emerging folk music revival and even played Carnegie Hall with Flatt and Scruggs. In 1963 Merle recored twelve new original songs on a LP called "Songs Of The Coal Mines" and these make up the second half of this CD.

In total this CD features 24 songs, with 19 originals and 5 traditionals. The songs include humorous and clever tunes such as "The Courtship Of Second Cousin Claude" and "Miner's Strawberries" as well as more serious numbers such as "The Harlan County Boys", about the violent coal miner union strikes of the 1930's. A few tunes, such as "That's All", come across as simple minded and just don't work for me. But the vast majority of the music here is excellent. Merle is a highly descriptive lyricist and really captures the beauty and essence of an earlier time in American history, of hard but glorious living in the hills of Kentucky. Highly recommended!"