Search - Various Artists :: Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier - Ballads And Old-Timey Music From Arkansas

Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier - Ballads And Old-Timey Music From Arkansas
Various Artists
Southern Journey, Vol. 7: Ozark Frontier - Ballads And Old-Timey Music From Arkansas
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock


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CD Reviews

For Anthropologists Only
Jason P. Gubbels | 04/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"As a huge fan of Alan Lomax and the other Southern Journey releases in the series, I was a bit disappointed with this one. There are some great tracks, but the variety of performers is extremely limited, and there are simply too many long unaccompanied ballads included. Undoubtedly, these songs are historically and culturally important, but it makes for rather tedious listening. And while I enjoy the banjo tunes and commentary, I find the fiddle playing too screechy and the guitar far too out of tune. I understand how easy it is to overmythologize folk artists, but one should be careful in doing so - just because it's 'folk' (and what does that word even mean?) doesn't mean it's good. Investigate 61 Highway Mississippi and Velvet Voices for recordings of a much higher quality. But don't necessarily ignore this one - just make sure you're really interested in the subject matter."
Stories, voices, fiddles and banjos like nothing else... | Toronto, Canada | 06/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The liner notes for and actual field recordings on this album will both hopefully open your eyes as wide to the wonderfully mongrelized nature of folk balladry as they did mine...This is purely visceral stuff, some of the most powerful singing, especially, that I have ever heard in my life...[Aside to "Gummo" fans: if you ever wondered who sang the opening "My Little Rooster" song, it was Almeda Riddle, one of the unbelievable balladeers on this collection...]"
"Place my songbook at my feet, my Bible at my head."
Pharoah S. Wail | Inner Space | 08/19/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Recorded by Alan Lomax in the Mountain View and Timbo area(s) of Arkansas from 10/2 - 10/9/59, Mike Seeger's recent death brought me back to this disc. Why? In one name, Almeda Riddle. Since this is either out-of-print or just unavailable here (I'd check Rounder), in case you want to try to track these people down, the full roster here is Neil Morris (Jimmy Dirftwood's father), Ollie Gilbert, Charlie Everidge, Bookmiller Shannon, Absie Morrison and the aforementioned Almeda.

Any series of compilations of various artists may have its ups and downs, but for me this one has quite its share. I enjoy much of it and have listened to it plenty of times over the years but when all is said and done, this disc is all about Almeda Riddle. Although the most famous version of Bury Me Beneath the Willow/Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow is found on The Carter Family: 1927-1934 and probably even every 1-disc Carter Family compilation, this one is certain to shine a new light on the song for you. A lonely, unaccompanied vocal presentation, Almeda sings like the sort of grandma everyone should be able to experience, passing down tradition as well as a unique artistic perspective of her own. Somehow it has a sweetness as well as a mountainous austerity that's equally touching though vastly different from Lloyd Chandler's Conversation With Death from High Atmosphere which seems ready to pull you kicking and screaming into a freshly dug grave of your own.

Again I can sympathize with Almeda's Alan Bain. Haven't we all felt like a stain on the family name? Yes? No? Oh. Maybe it's just me.