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Dust to Digital: The Harry Smith B-Sides Boxset

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Hi all,
Just heard the news about a new Dust to Digital release (available for pre-order now) and thought I'd share.
Here's the gist of the release from their site:
"68 years later, The Harry Smith B-Sides offers both a resonant listening experience and the closing of a collector’s circle. Sequenced in the identical order that Smith created, this new box set offers the flip-side of each 78-rpm record that he selected for the original Anthology of American Folk Music."

Here's a video preview:

Here's the listing on their site with more info:

And here's the track list:

Thanks for the heads up, Lew. I see it contains, “Moonshiner's Dance Part Two,” by Frank Cloutier and the Victoria Cafe Orchestra --something I've been waiting half a century for.

Yes, thanks for posting that, Lew. What a great concept!  And to my tastes, the program doesn't suffer by comparison to the original Anthology of American Folk Music's program. I guess I can see why they omitted the tracks with racist language, but it seems like you need to acknowledge the bad along with the good in a country's history. Hiding from that past doesn't make it any less true.

Suzy T:
These Harry Smith B side compilations have been floating around for awhile, but not in commercial form.  I see they omitted the songs that have racist lyrics.  While I understand why they did this -- nobody wants to hear the N word --  it's too bad in a way.  One of those songs is the Henhouse Blues by the Bentley Boys -- for me, it resonates quite a bit with our modern times.  It tells the story of a dream:  a black man dreams he is running for president, but is woken up with the news that "you am beat and a WOMAN am President". The gist of it is, what could be even worse than a black president?  A woman President!  And here it is more than 90 years later and we've actually had a Black president, but not a woman yet.  I wish that would happen in my lifetime.  Anyway it sounds like a wonderful set.


--- Quote from: Suzy T on August 03, 2020, 07:56:54 PM ---I see they omitted the songs that have racist lyrics.  While I understand why they did this -- nobody wants to hear the N word --  it's too bad in a way. 

--- End quote ---
I think this is a missed opportunity. We're talking historical documents here, these pieces should be seen in their relevant context, they are the way they are should form part of the story - with carefully written liner notes of course, to highlight the reasons why and how to see take them today.

Apart from that, I love the idea. The Harry Smith anthology, weird as it is as a compilation, is still a good introduction to anyone more seriously interested in early roots/folk/blues/country, even today. For a brief "check this out maybe it's for you" I have now converted to the American Epic "The Soundtrack" collection, because it breezes through genres in a dozen-or-so songs.

But... given the quality of the material, and hoping for "newly remastered" great sound, I will dutifully pre-order this one.


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