Search - Various Artists :: Roots N' Blues: Retrospective 1925-1950

Roots N' Blues: Retrospective 1925-1950
Various Artists
Roots N' Blues: Retrospective 1925-1950
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, R&B, Broadway & Vocalists, Gospel
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (29) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (28) - Disc #4


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CD Reviews

A Fantastic Value and Greatly Diverse
Tome Raider | California, United States | 11/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm really quite suprised to not find a hundred five-star reviews of this set from all the blues fans out there. Truly, this is a great set, better than I expected, this is NOT a patched together hodge-podge of marginal stuff as you often find in these compilations. This is top drawer all the way through; it's American history to which you can sip scotch. The songs are very diverse: some are classic blues cuts, other have almost a Vaudeville feel to them, others burlesque, others bluegrass.The main point I wanted to make, however, is that I feel this set is MUCH better than the Anthology of Amercan Folk Music. (A previous reviewer likewise made the comparison between the two sets and I completely agree that they are comparable in concept, although he preferred the Anthology set.) That set disappointed me: all the songs sound the same,and the recording quality on most of the cuts is poor. This set is actually exactly what I expected and hoped that set to be: foot tappin' music which evocatively brings to mind fond thoughts of a simpler and more visceral era in American life. The Anthology of Amercian Folk Music may have some profound academic significance which escapes me, but if you want great music with a lot of mood and attitude, I don't think you can do much better than this Retrospective set. A final point: these four CD's are filled up with good stuff: 75+ minutes on each one. A great value!"
Loads of fun
Howard Sauertieg | Harrisburg, PA USA | 08/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This set begs comparison with the venerable Anthology of American Folk Music - both sets feature "songs, ballads and social music." Retrospective is longer (by 30 or 40 minutes) and covers a broader span of history (25 years compared with the AAFM's 5-6 years...). It's more eclectic than the AAFM, both topically and temporally (since the songs, ballads and social music are intermingled on each disc). Now that Smithsonian/Folkways has reissued the AAFM on CD, I'd recommend that set to listeners before this one - song for song, it's of higher quality, with brilliant performances and little or no dross. Retrospective is nothing to scoff at, however; it's actually easier to listen to and enjoy than the AAFM, with something of a "pop" feel, and some of the obscure and previously unissued tracks (47 of 107 are issued here for the first time) are excellent. Most of these performers are Southerners - white, black, and in between, all coexisting as harmoniously as can be. If a hillbilly fiddle breakdown, followed by a slow piano/vocal blues, followed by a Baptist preacher's sermon accompanied by his Sanctified Singers, etc., sounds like a good time, then you won't regret picking up this collection. It's monumental in its own way, and the book that comes with the set is colorful, nicely illustrated with "race record" ads and group portraits, and rather informative. The producer(s) of Retrospective dedicated the collection to Harry Smith - "folklorist, filmmaker, anthropologist, and visionary" - and compiler of the Anthology of American Music: "Harry, you taught us all!""
Terrific roots
Larry R. Epke | Richton Park, IL United States | 07/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"In 1992, when this came out, there was nothing like it. Now, with the success of such items as the "Oh Brother..." soundtrack and the reissued "Anthology of American Folk Music," this set may get lost in the shuffle. I have most of the similar reissues, and I still think this is the best. First, it covers a wider timespan than the Smith "Anthology." This means it has both a few older songs, and several newer ones. Thus, this set has an early Bill Monroe song. This set also includes some things which weren't released on 78, so one of Muddy Water's first professional recordings is on here. (Don't believe the note that this was never released before, however. It came out on an Okeh Chicago blues record in the 1980s.) Though this set has only 4 cds to the Anthology's 6, the amount of music is about the same, because these four are filled, and the Anthology's 6 only have the equivalent of Smith's original 6 lps, and are therefore rather short by cd standards.One thing I find in reissue sets like this one is that some artists and some songs get rereleased over and over. This set does not fall into that trap. Rather, it has many little known artists, some of whom recorded only a handful of sides. Nevertheless, the songs here are almost universally wonderful, covering a wide (but not TOO wide) range of styles with wonderful performances. You won't find many of these records anywhere else, and the set has a terrific bunch of blues, gospel, string band, Cajun and other vernacular styles. Don't miss it!"