Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
High Atmosphere: Ballads and Banjo Tunes from Virginia
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, Pop
Listen to Samples
Whether just starting, or a long-time fan. Excellence!
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 03/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A few years ago I had lofty dreams of writing a ton of jazz reviews in helps of hoping people during the renewed interest in jazz that was temporarily caused by Ken Burns' documentary. Then a couple years ago I had more lofty dreams of writing a ton of pre-bluegrass mountain music reviews in the wake of the interest caused by O' Brother Where Art Thou. In both cases I never really got around to it and the moment passed, but here I am now writing some reviews for the music of the upland South. Better late than never.Quite simply, I love this collection of tunes recorded in the field by John Cohen in Virginia and North Carolina in 1965. This is one of the best single discs of mountain tunes you can buy. Great performances, recording quality, and variety. Whether we're talking about the craggly, worn-out sound of George Landers voice or the heavenly bliss of Wade Ward's solo banjo version of Shady Grove, this is a masterful collection. Wade's Shady Grove is one of those things that I wish could go on for 10 uninterrupted minutes. Ditto for Gaither Carlton's Little Sadie.With E.C. Ball's version of Pretty Polly we are given one of the least menacing versions of this tune ever recorded, but he's doing something on the guitar that gives the effect of having sympathetic strings. It makes for an odd effect. If I knew Hindustani guitar master, Debashish Bhattacharya, I'd certainly play this track for him just to see his reaction.With 33 tracks, most of them great, I could be here all day giving a track-by-track rundown, but no one wants to read that and it'd take a long time for me to write it. However, no review of this disc could be complete without dumping a ton of praise on Lloyd Chandler's heart-stopping, bone-chilling version of Conversation With Death. This is what the music of the hills is all about. This is one of the definitive "solo vocal" mountain recordings ever, in my opinion. Four minutes of freeze-you-in-your-tracks soulful, tortured perfection.On this disc you get everyone from Sidna Myers to Dellie Norton to Dillard Chandler to Wade Ward, plus everyone mentioned above. The bottom line is that you should own this disc. If you found this disc then you're obviously interested in this sort of thing, and if you are, you will not be disappointed."