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Smoky Mountain Ballads

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 30, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Called "The Minstrel of the Appalachians," banjo player Bascom Lamar Lunsford performs a cross section of his sizeable repertoire, which contains at least three hundred songs. These songs include English ballads, topical songs, and 19th century popular songs incorporated into the North Carolina mountain tradition.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 30, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Folkways Records
  • ASIN: B00242VX58
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,262 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I stumbled across a vinyl copy of this album (on the Folkways label) about 25 years ago and it became my absolute favorite album of Appalachian music. The album was basically out of print for decades until digital distribution made it easily accessible again. It is, without a doubt, a true gem and a must-have for anyone who claims to love real roots music.

If you do not know who Bascom Lamar Lunsford was, you really need to search online for information. He was a walking encyclopedia of authentic Appalachian music. His repertoire was extensive--so much so that he was sought out by the Smithsonian to record much of it in order to preserve it for posterity.

This album contains a beautiful collection of traditional ballads that cover a number of genres...from gospel, to murder ballads, to old world traditional. For my taste, Lunsford's delivery is exceptional...just him and his banjo. His ability to banter/sing/story-tell is exceptional. Let me be clear--this is NOT a bluegrass album; his banjo playing is mostly slow and rudimentary (although very well executed). There is no "high-lonesome" type of vocals either. Heck, just listen to the samples to get a sense of his delivery.

Please indulge me one more overly dramatic statement--this is a hauntingly beautiful record and one that truly deserves to be rediscovered. Bascom Lamar Lunsford was a legend in his own time for a reason, and this record will give modern listeners some insight as to why. But the album isn't really about him...its about Appalachia, and how the people (of all colors) wove their lives, fears, and heritage into song. Bascom Lunsford does a superior job conveying the spirit of the people who cherished this music.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like Harry Smith Anthology music and want more of one of its best players ("I Wish I was a Mole In the Ground" and "Dry Bones", here you go. For a guy who got around as much as he did Bascom didn't leave enough recordings, so this is a treasure. Holds up very well after repeated listenings.
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