Search - Roscoe Holcomb :: High Lonesome Sound

High Lonesome Sound
Roscoe Holcomb
High Lonesome Sound
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1

The legendary Roscoe Holcomb performs 21 powerful songs shaped by the hard times and conflict between old and new that marked his life in the Kentucky mountains. A hard-hitting singer and banjo-player, he also performs una...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Roscoe Holcomb
Title: High Lonesome Sound
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
Original Release Date: 1/20/1998
Release Date: 1/20/1998
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Traditional Blues, Traditional Folk, North America, Appalachian
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093074010426


Album Description
The legendary Roscoe Holcomb performs 21 powerful songs shaped by the hard times and conflict between old and new that marked his life in the Kentucky mountains. A hard-hitting singer and banjo-player, he also performs unaccompanied ballads, banjo and harmonica solos, and with a guitar. These recordings from 1961, 1964, and 1974 were previously released on three different Folkways LP records and had a powerful influence on the folk music revival. Accompanied by extensive new notes and photographs by John Cohen. 71 minutes. "Roscoe Holcomb is a true genius." -San Francisco Chronicle

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CD Reviews

Peculiar, Strange, Moving, and Powerful
A music lover | Alexandria, VA USA | 07/21/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"My wife gave me this recording several years ago as a birthday gift. After listening to it once or twice (and reading the fascinating and impassioned liner notes), I set it aside as odd, strange, and most peculiar. Although Mr. Holcomb is a fluid instrumentalist, his voice is so high and unusual that I did not see how his songs could bear repeated listening.I was wrong, about as wrong as a body could be. A couple of years later, I picked up the recording again and listened to it with care. The peculiar and high-pitched voice grows on you, and the powerful and honest delivery is moving in the most compelling way. I now think that Roscoe Holcomb stands on a par with Blind Willie Johnson (in his time an equally obscure and strange singer) as one of the greatest exponents of American-born and bred music. This recording grows on you. I'm extremely grateful that this legacy of Holcomb's great artistry has been preserved for those of us who did not have the joy of listening to his searing voice and delivery while he still lived."
A great Artist
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 08/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Roscoe Holcomb's music is not typical, or just a sampling of some traditional archaic musician playing on his back porch. ROSCOE HOLCOMB WAS A GREAT ARTIST. HE WAS A GREAT SINGER, A UNIQUE AND FLUID BANJO PLAYER, AND A GUITARIST WHO WAS STARTLING AND UNIQUE, AND NO SLOUCH ON THE HARMONICA. He has a way of selecting verses and tying them together in a special way that make songs his own, even if they have been done 1000 times by 10000 other singers. Anyone who hears his version of Old Smokey can understand that. He had a way of infusing feeling into his music, and music into his feelings that few singers have. Back in the day, Eric Clapton used to talk about how Roscoe was his favorite singer, later Eric claimed only his favorite white country singer, but, that is a pretty high ranking.
Roscoe's music is not as some here have thought, something you would have heard 100 years ago. Holcomb's music involved a synthesis between Black blues music and some of the white traditonal music no celtic recording could capture In fact, when asked to describe himself Roscoe would always say he was a blues singer as people who knew him in his community would also describe himself. His ears have found not only traditional styles, but the recordings of Jimmie Rogers and the Stanley Brothers. He is clearly in dialogue with recording commercial country and blues music and with African American styles on the banjo and open tuning guitar.
This is like fine wine. Myself, I can only listen to it certain times,otherwise, all I will want to do is play Roscoe's songs in Roscoe's style when I perform myself.
This is a great artist, a man not just typical of some genre or culture, but a man with special talents to make that speak and sing in a special way.
Everyone with ears should have this CD.
We should give special thanks to John Cohen, the photographer, the musican, the New Lost City Rambler who worked to get out these original recordings, and who then worked to compile this collection on CD and got them to put it out.
Thanks John
PS does anyone know if John's Film "The High Lonesome Sound" is available on video."
No Power Remixes here...
ewomack | MN USA | 10/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This music is so authentic it can almost be called a field recording. He lived this music, and he lived through this music. Here is a prime example of music intertwined with life, the way it should be for all of us. It is true music, warts and all. This is not Hollywood, nor is it "O Brother, where Art Thou?" You feel his joy and pain through his voice and through his playing (he even plays a damaged banjo on one of the tracks, which only enhances the music in the context). The songs have a feeling of meaty catharsis, of real unrequited pain, but where there's grieving there's also healing. To call it depressing is to miss half of the show. This music is true pain and true joy. "Trouble in Mind" sums it up very well. The healing power of music is well demonstrated here.I've played this for a friend, and he asked me "How can you stomach this?" My answer was "How can I NOT stomach this?"Buy it. It will grow on you."