People Take Warning: Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938 Box set
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Top Customer Reviews
Close your eyes and see the carnage reenacted. In Frank Hutchison's "Last Scene of the Titanic," see all the pretty ladies in their evening gowns and all of the tuxedoed gentlemen plummet over the deck of the great juggernaut as it collides with a massive iceberg, sending them wailing and flailing and thrashing in a demonic ballet into the icy Atlantic waters.
Open your ears and hear the plaintive cry of a child in the night, who wakes from a portentous dream in which his daddy is trapped in the interminable blackness of the coal mine (Blind Alfred Reed's "Explosion in the Fairmount Mine"), only to discover that dear daddy was indeed trapped in a mine explosion and is one of 200 unrecovered miners never to see the light of day again.
True-life scenes such as these are the subject of this massive 3-cd set, in which seemingly congenial-sounding folk and blues songs from the early twentieth century document disasters and real-life tragedies with a quiet intensity that disturbs the casual listener far more than any contemporary death metal band could. This is not Sturm und Drang, this is real pain and suffering devoid of fantasy or romanticism. These are songs for the legions of anonymous dead, musical coffin markers for the ones who were lost along the way.
Highlights range from the grim to the funny. In "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues," Robert "Barbecue Bob" Hicks complains that the murky brown flood waters have washed all the wimmenfolk away.Read more ›
The collection, presented in a beautifully packaged 3 CD boxed set, is expertly produced with the sound of the original 78 RPM recordings preserved with a minimum of noise and all of the original musical content. This is typical of King's Grammy Award winning work. Sapoznik's (a noted historian of both old-time American and Yiddish music) excellent notes offer both historical context and a deep musical insight. The introductory essay from Tom Waits is one of the most insightful takes on the ballad I have ever read.
I can't recommend this highly enough. For anyone who wishes to understand American musical history (or just loves the music), this is a serious must-have.
While the subject matter of the 1960's scene, naturally, tendered toward the overtly political around the issues of conventional war, nuclear disarmament, the fierce civil rights struggle in the American South that dominated all serious talk, social isolation, the rebellion against social conformity and the like historically the "singing" newspaper tradition was far from those "deep" concerns. The tendency was to be more personal either with songs of love. longing for love or of thwarted love or on a more mundane level disaster, manmade or natural, murders and other sensational crimes and whatever other local gossip could be turned into a ballad. But beyond that, as this compilation bears witness to every song seemingly had to provide a cautionary note.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The case of the cds was a little more worn than i thought they would be but overall things were in good condition and i got it on time.Published on June 10, 2012 by arielmay
If I could only give a person like 5 cd's this set would be one of them. not for the none poetic soul. sit back dream watch the story in detail in your mind. Read morePublished on May 19, 2009 by er ic harapat
You don't need Tom Wait's introduction to remind you that this music survives today with him and with Nick Cave, for example. Read morePublished on April 7, 2009 by Michael A. Duvernois
When I drive down the road in my 2006 Honda Accord and have this collection playing on my six changer cd player I feel like it's 1922 in Alabama and I'm in my Ford jalopy listening... Read morePublished on April 25, 2008 by Mark Schiff
Received these cds just before a trip from VA to TX.
Took me over 200 miles of happy interstate driving
(with nary a disaster)!
On a recommendation from a friend, I picked this up even though I only own the Harry Smith Anthology and really no other reissue collections. I'm now sold! Read morePublished on February 19, 2008 by ilovemykids
An interesting peak into early 20th century culture.The packaging is top notch.As for the music,it sounds like 20 or 30 versions of the same song,especially given the primitive... Read morePublished on February 15, 2008 by P. NOWELL
I can not think of a better set to have received as a Christmas gift. From Waits' introduction through the transfer quality of the audio all the way down to the panoramic pictures... Read morePublished on December 24, 2007 by Polarhound
Being a snobbish smarty pants record collector myself, I was more than unimpressed with the arrival of yet another repackaging of old time blues and hillbilly music. Read morePublished on November 7, 2007 by Mark Rubin
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