Q - 7/99, p.1404 stars out of 5
- "...Exquisitely packaged and eternally enriching..."
Personnel: Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston (vocals, guitar).
Producer: Moses Asch.
Compilation producers: Jeff Place, Guy Logsdon.
Recorded in New York, New York between 1944 and 1949. Includes liner notes by Jeff Place and Guy Logsdon.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
Liner Note Authors: Guy Logsdon; Jeff Place.
Recording information: 1944-1949.
Moses Asch, founder of Folkways Records and a tireless preserver of traditional folk idioms and performers, treated even his studio sessions like field recordings, neither adding to nor taking from the songs as his performers chose to play them. Performed mostly solo (though Cisco Houston occasionally appears on guitar and backing vocals), these tracks range from the allegorical kiddie song "Froggie Went a-Courtin'," complete with the bloody conclusion often removed from sanitized versions, to work songs and cowboy tunes, with special emphasis placed on biographical tunes like "Billy the Kid" and Guthrie's own gangster saga "Pretty Boy Floyd." By the time these recordings were made in a New York studio in the late '40s, Woody Guthrie was nearing the end of his public career due to failing health, but he performs these 26 traditional folk and blues ballads and story songs with his characteristic dry wit and unerring gift for interpretation.