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Country Blues: Complete Early Recordings

Dock BoggsAudio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 1998 --  
Vinyl, 2004 --  

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Country Blues: Complete Early Recordings + High Lonesome Sound
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 17, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: 2027
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Revenant Records
  • ASIN: B000001Z3Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,318 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sugar Baby
2. Down Home Blues
3. Country Blues
4. Sammie, Where Have You Been So Long?
5. Danville Girl
6. Pretty Polly
7. New Prisoner's Song
8. Hard Luck Blues
9. Lost Love Blues
10. Will Sweethearts Know Each Other There?
11. Old Rub Alcohol Blues
12. False Hearted Lover's Blues
13. Lost Love Blues (Unissued Alternate Take #1)
14. Will Sweethearts Know Each Other There? (Unissued Alternate Take #1)
15. Old Rub Alcohol Blues (Sole Unissues Alternate Take)
16. Lost Love Blues (Unissued Alternate Take #2)
17. Will Sweethearts Know Each Other There? (Unissued Alternate Take #2)
18. Peddler & His Wife - Dock Boggs/Hayes Shepherd
19. Hard For To Love - Dock Boggs/Hayes Shepherd
20. Bound Steel Blues - Dock Boggs/Bill Shephard
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

With his dark genius lauded by the literary likes of Greil Marcus in this compilation's accompanying 64-page hardcover booklet, Dock Boggs is remembered as a grim and tortured man who barely managed to save his soul with a banjo and a handful of songs. Originally recorded in the late 1920s, this collection illuminates the history of murder ballads like "Pretty Polly" from their origins in the English countryside to their more contemporary expressions (see "Polly" by Nirvana). While Boggs experienced popularity when these recordings were made, he retired from music for more than 30 years until being "rediscovered" in the early 1960s. Along with 12 classic Boggs performances, Country Blues includes five unreleased outtakes and four cuts with Dock as an instrumental sideman. --Mitch Myers

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not for the faint of heart. April 4, 2007
Format:Audio CD
well, this disc fascinates me. I didn't much care for it during my first listen. put it away for a few months & came back to it. by about the 3rd play it was striking a chord in me. this is not easy listening. not by a long shot. if you are going to succeed in liking this cd, you are going to have to have a certain level of tolerance for unusual voices. this man was no honey-throated songbird. usually i have a hard time describing unique voices with words, but in this case it seems easy: when mr boggs sings he sounds like an alcoholic uncle whom you would not trust around your children. i realize this is not sounding like a high recommendation (i do like this disc - i gave it four stars), i just think you should have a clear idea of what you might be getting into here. this is rural folk music with a raw and vital vibe to it. though sounding drunk and demented mr boggs fascinates, and he plays a mean banjo, to boot. lots of excellent banjo on this disc. but back to that voice: i will insist that some of these old tunes are best suited by a voice such as this. take "pretty polly," for example. now, if you are not familiar with old mountain ballads, you might think "pretty polly," that sounds like a nice song; but, if you are familiar with these ballads, you will see that title and think "uh-oh! pretty polly is surely going to die." and of course, die she does. mr boggs sings about murdering her, and he sounds just right for the role. someone like say, oh, how about johnny mathis, could not pull this song off convincingly. this is a truly disturbing song and it deserves a distrubed sounding man to do it justice. now i know next to nothing about doc boggs, the man (i have not even read the lengthy linear notes that come with this disc). maybe he was a great fella. i hope so. Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Out of the Graveyard March 3, 2004
By J. Kerr
Format:Audio CD
Beautifully packaged treatment of Dock's 1920s recordings. Kind of a banjo flailing hillbilly Robert Johnson. Sidenote, I actually met Dock when I was a child, he was a friend of my pawpaw's. They worked in the coalmines together and was wild together back in the old days. I had no idea Dock even played an instrument until I read a book by Greil Marcus years later...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spooky, Surreal, Strange, Haunted December 6, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Dock Boggs' banjo and voice are perhaps the most hypnotic ever recorded. He lays it all on the line, hides nothing--his music is brutally honest and sincere. There is a song on this collection called "Will Sweethearts Know Each Other There?" that could be the most beautiful song ever written. He performs as though he doesn't care who likes it, as though he does it because he HAS to just to survive and get through the day. The packaging and interviews in the liner notes amplify the raw power of the recordings. Better than a crawl through the spookiest attic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic old-time country blues August 31, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This release was almost willed into existence, firstly by the attention given to the singer by Greil Marcus in 'Invisible Republic', his 1997 study of Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes and their dependence on the 1952 Folkways Anthology, and secondly by the re-release of that Anthology on CD and the subsequent singling out for special praise of the two Boggs songs it included. Although Boggs's original twelve recordings have been available on a Folkways album for some time, this CD, with all known alternate takes as well as contributions from associated musicians, contains much more.

Moran Lee 'Dock' Boggs was a coal miner from Virginia who played banjo and sang with a strong nasal twang some of the most intensely haunting white blues of the 1920s, rivalling many a black blues singer in fervour and pain. There is a strong sense of more ancient traditions, both white and black, in his performances. He listened to the recordings of black singers, such as Rosa Henderson and Sara Martin, and adapted some of their songs, including 'Down South Blues', 'Sugar Blues' and 'Mistreated Mama Blues', into his own repertoire. Others, like 'Pretty Polly', 'Danville Girl', and 'Sammie, Where Have You Been So Long?', come from the white tradition.

Boggs recorded the first eight tracks on this album for Brunswick in 1927, accompanied on most songs by Hub Mahaffey on guitar. The following four songs, and the alternate takes, were recorded for the small Virginia label Lonesome Ace in 1929. Both 'Old Rub Alcohol Blues' and 'False Hearted Lover's Blues' from this date use the same tune as the more successful 'Country Blues'. Boggs was backed on this session by the guitar of Emry Arthur, who composed and recorded 'Man Of Constant Sorrow' for Paramount in 1929, a song covered by Dylan on his first album.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear the bones busting through February 22, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Anyone familiar with Greil Marcus' INVISIBLE REPUBLIC is also familiar with the legend of Dock Boggs' early recordings. They are every bit as haunting as Marcus makes them out to be. If you enjoy pre-war, rough-sounding, _raw_ blues, this is the long lost album you've been waiting for.
To be enjoyed while sipping whiskey, not wine.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banjo Hellhound October 14, 1998
Format:Audio CD
Oh MAN! Did this guy have demons! And you usually don't hear that about 1920's banjo pickers ... but "Dock" Boggs is so iconoclastic he's almost not of our world. If you had the pleasure of hearing "Country Blues" and "Sugar Baby" from the Anthology of American Folk Music, you won't be disappointed by the rest of the cuts here. My partner says he sings like Alfalfa from Our Gang ... but that's because he blasts notes like he's one of James Brown's JB's. Strangely moving, and not as far removed from Nirvana (who covered "Polly") as you might think.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Dock Boggs early years
This CD completes the Dock Boggs section of my collection. I bought it so I could hear his early work and compare it to the Folkways years CD. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Charles Grimm
5.0 out of 5 stars "My earthly stay is over..."
Mike Seeger's death hit me hard but has also made this a beautiful week for me. Whether his own music, field recordings or music of others in and around the world of music he loved... Read more
Published on August 15, 2009 by Pharoah S. Wail
5.0 out of 5 stars greil marcus is a pompous idiot, but dock boggs is great
Greil Marcus's American Studies/Joe Campbell influenced "old wierd America" nonsense does a terrible disservice to roots artists like Dock Boggs. Read more
Published on February 9, 2007 by Michael C. Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Bone chilling folk music from the backwoods
Great music, like great movies, has atmosphere and tactile presence. You can just imagine what Boggs' contemporaries thought about these songs. Read more
Published on November 6, 2003 by Mark Scalise
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues is Old Timey, Old times is blues, boggs is great
Dock Bogg's music is typical of old time music by white appalachian performers, particularly banjo players. Read more
Published on October 23, 2003 by Tony Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Vicious And Uncompromising
This cd is simply vicious and uncompromising; in the same way as the music of Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James etc. Read more
Published on October 22, 2003 by D. B Pepper
5.0 out of 5 stars Vicious and Uncompromising
This cd is simply vicious and uncompromising; in the same way as the music of Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Blind Willie Johnson, Skip James etc. Read more
Published on December 29, 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this now!
For my money, Dock Boggs created the quirkiest old-timey music in the twenties. This collection of his original recordings, recorded before his "re-discovery" during the... Read more
Published on April 28, 2001 by Tribe
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