Spin - 1/99, p.117
"...a live tribute more annoyingly reverent and less impossibly monolithic than Smith's original anthology of folk recordings..."
Producers include: Howard Bass, Laurie Jacoby, Bob Santelli, Stephanie Smith, Thea Austin.
Recorded live in October, 1997. Includes liner notes by Anthony Seeger, Amy Horowitz, Jeff Place and Bob Santelli.
All tracks have been digitally mastered using HDCD technology.
Personnel: Tracy Schwarz (vocals, guitar, accordion); Christine Balfa, Dave Van Ronk, Steven Taylor , Jeff Tweedy, John Jackson, Lonnie Pitchford, Peter Stampfel, Toshi Reagon (vocals, guitar); Geoff Muldaur (vocals, mandolin); Greg Hooven (vocals, fiddle); Ella Jenkins (vocals, harmonica); Dirk Powell (vocals, accordion); Ethel Caffie Austin (vocals, piano); Coby Batty (vocals, drums); Ed Sanders, Ginny Hawker, Tuli Kupferberg (vocals); Bill Giltinan, John Cohen, Paul Rishell, Roger McGuinn (guitar); Jay Bennett (banjo, piano); Judy Chaudet, John Sebastian (banjo); Mike Seeger, Kevin Wimmer (fiddle); Annie Raines (harmonica); Nelda Balfa (triangle); James Wormworth (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Pete Reiniger.
Liner Note Authors: Robert Santelli; Amy Horowitz; Anthony Seeger.
Recording information: Barns Of Wolf Trap, Vienna, VA (10/1997).
Photographer: Hugh Talman.
Unknown Contributor Role: Harry Smith .
Arrangers: Ella Jenkins; Toshi Reagon.
As part of the excitement surrounding the re-release of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music box set in 1997, two concerts were staged at the Barns of Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA. This 19-song, hour-long CD was taken from those shows, and features contemporary performances of songs on the anthology, garnished by one song about Harry Smith (Peter Stampfel's "His Tapes Roll On") and the Fugs "Nothing" (which was originally recorded, and produced by, Smith in the mid-'60s). Roger McGuinn, Jeff Tweedy, Toshi Reagon, Lonnie Pitchford, the New Lost City Ramblers, Dave Van Ronk, and John Sebastian are among the better-known names, although the Greg Hooven String Band, John Jackson, and Ethel Caffie Austin won't be familiar even to many roots enthusiasts. It's good-natured, well-played material encompassing, like the original box set, all styles of folk: Appalachian (including yet two more versions of the overdone "The Coo Coo Bird")," blues, Cajun. These cuts are not highlights of the artists' careers, nor do they particularly expand upon the originals, although of course these performances have much better fidelity than you'll find on the old 78s. It's just an illustration of how these American forms live on in the present, there for those who want it. ~ Richie Unterberger