Yet, as I've written on this blog in previous posts, I was deeply saddened by the death of Glenn Mitchell of KERA in Dallas, so I bumped a non-holiday album to the top of my iPod playlist because its an anthology I might not have discovered had it not been discussed on "The Glenn Mitchell Show."
The Rose and the Briar
If you're interested in the roots of contemporary music or music history in general, The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad and its companion book edited by Sean Willentz and Greil Marcus are essentials. The volume includes a collection of essays on each of the CD's tunes--story songs ranging from one of the oldest folk songs, Barbara Allen, to Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska." From what I can tell its chilling POV account of Charles Starkweather's killing spree and execution is as historically accurate as "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgeral" which I mentioned in an earlier post.
This collection is not for all tastes. Some of the tunes are so twangy and, well, earthy that music snobs will make you change tracks if you're not listening on ear buds, and I speak from experience.
But the songs are spirtiual meditations from artists both familiar and lost in the crumbled pages of history and they're worth a few spins of the disc or drive, to put you in touch with a rich legacy. I asked Christine to get it for me last Christmas after hearing that talk show sometime in the fall and it's still a great gift.
2. Pretty Polly, The Coon Creek Girls
3. Ommie Wise, G. B. Grayson
4. Little Maggie, Snakefarm
6. Deliah's Gone , Koerner, Ray & Glover
7. Wreck Of The Old 97, John Mellencamp
8. Dead Man's Curve, Jan & Dean
9. Buddy Bolden's Blues (I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say), Jelly Roll Morton
10. The Coo Coo Bird, Clarence Ashley
11. Volver, Volver , Vincente Fernandez
12. The Foggy Foggy Dew, Burl Ives
13. Black, Brown And Beige, Part IV (COME SUNDAY), Duke Ellington & His Orchestra, Mahalia Jackson
15. Trial Of Mary Maguire, Bobby Patterson
16. Down From
17. Sail Away, Randy Newman
18. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts, Bob Dylan
20. Blackwatertown, The Handsome Family