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I'd jump 'em from other writers, but I'd 'range 'em up my way - Willie McTell, intro to Beedle Um Bum, Last Sessions

Author Topic: Lead Kindly Light  (Read 778 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Lead Kindly Light
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:48:26 PM »
Another great looking Dust to Digital release. Wonderful track
Iist for starters.

http://www.dust-digital.com/lead-kindly-light/

Offline alyoung

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Re: Lead Kindly Light
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2014, 04:51:36 AM »
Anyone interested in this might like to see the review from Frank Scott of Roots & Rhythm (a mail order shop of some considerable excellence). His newsletter says:
VARIOUS ARTISTS Lead Kindly Light: Pre-War Music & Photographs From The American South
Dust-To-Digital 038 Price = $38.98
Two CDs in 180 page hardbound book, 46 tracks, recommended
This collection was put together by husband and wife team Peter Honig and Sarah Bryan. The two CDs, drawn from Honig's collection, feature a superb collection of mostly old time country music from the 20s and 30s along with a handful of African-American blues and gospel songs. Over half the tracks have been out before but some of those tracks have superior sound quality here. Among the artists featured are Buster Carter & Preston Young, Prince Moore (lovely country blues), Banjo Joe (not Gus Cannon but Caucasian singer/ banjo player with the narrative "Engineer Joe"), Ernest Phipps & His Holiness Quartet (fabulous old time gospel singing), Amos Baker (a delightful cover of Bascom Lamar Lunsford's "I Wish I Were A Mole In The Ground"), Clayton McMichen with Gid Tanner and others (the two part skit "Possum Hunt On Stump House Mountain"), The Loveless Twins Quartet (lovely acapella gospel quartet with the set's title song), Uncle Eck Dunford & Ernest Stoneman, Rev. J.C. Burnett, Kid Williams & Bill Morgan (fine gospel duo with steel guitar and guitar), Birmingham Entertainers (actually The Kessinger Brothers), Mainer's Mountaineers, The Leake County Revelers and more. Sound quality is superb. The book is another matter - it's a selection of photographs collected by Bryan of anonymous people (and a few dogs) made in the South in the 1920s and 30s - some formal portraits, some informal shots and some featuring people working or engaging in recreation. Apart from all being from the South I found the connection between the music and the photos pretty tenuous with no commentary to put them into any kind of perspective. Although they are interesting I found most of the photos not particularly interesting. Apart from a very brief introduction there is no information about the music on the CDs. Without the book this would be highly recommended for the music but since you'll end up paying for the book whether you want it or not I had to drop the rating. (FS)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lead Kindly Light
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 08:04:01 PM »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lead Kindly Light
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2014, 11:15:41 AM »
When I first read through Frank Scott's review (which I always do, being one of the pleasures of the Roots and Rhythm newsletter), I must have skimmed quickly because I recalled it being more critical than it is. I have this collection/book now and really like it. Been listening to it for days. If Scott says over half the tracks have been out before, that leaves a fair number that haven't been, I guess. In any case there are a lot I hadn't heard before so I'm very pleased with that aspect, for starters. Then those that had been out are here in very much superior sound in every case that I checked, resulting in my actually hearing some material in a new light. Mississippi Bracey's "Stered Gal", for instance, is a cleaner record and given enough extra presence in the transfer that I have a whole new appreciation for this trancey, oddly beautiful song. Likewise, I'm not going to complain about a much cleaner copy of Kid Prince Moore's "Church Bells". Not to obsess on "clean" versions, but the care taken in production here really adds something to the art caught in these grooves.

There is not a lot of blues here, but there are some great old-time versions of material also played by country blues artists. Dykes Magic City Trio doing Frankie, Riley Puckett's superb 1924 banjo version of Railroad Bill, Charlie Bowman and His Brothers doing Gonna Raise the Ruckus Tonight, as well as a cool cover of Frank Hutchison's Train the Carried My Girl from Town by Mainer's Mountaineers.

The fiddle and old-time recordings are really wonderful, not just restored in superb sound but well-programmed with an interesting variety to the selection, with great musicianship throughout and great songs. (And the a capella hymn that is the title track by identical twin couples the Loveless Twins is beautiful.)

So then there's the book of photographs, which is where I disagree with Frank Scott's review. I can see his point, and if you are looking for a collection of photos that reflect the music in a direct, documentary manner, you'll be disappointed, or if you are looking for commentary, history and analysis, since there is none. Sarah Bryan says in her introduction, "Gathering such images together seems to create conversations amongst them, and it's that process of generative fusion that guided the selection..." Some are family snapshots, some more formal portraits, some of men at work, or dogs, children, couples. I think together they create a view into a time and place you wouldn't get with a collection of historical photo studio shots. It's revealing to just see the people as they dressed, in front of their homes, their shops, on the streets of their towns. The beauty of them is the same as that you'd find in photos of your own family or community from the era if you're lucky enough to still have access to such material. It's the appeal of ghosts, I guess.

Re. information about the music on the CDs. There is basic discographical information at the back of the book.

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