Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard came to old-time music from opposite ends of the world. Dickens, the daughter of a West Virginia coal miner, grew up under rugged circumstances, watching family and friends give their lives to the region's coal mines. Gerrard, conversely, studied classical music in college and arrived on the traditional music scene later in life, in part due to her marriage to New Lost City Rambler Mike Seeger. The music Hazel and Alice made together mines Dickens' cultural heritage, emanating from the mountain music of the Carter Family, Bill Monroe, and Kitty Wells.
Somehow, this odd mixture resulted in two classic albums, of which HAZEL DICKENS AND ALICE GERRARD is the second. Rather than focusing exclusively on work, death, and the hard lot of women (as did the first album, HAZEL & ALICE), HAZEL DICKENS AND ALICE GERRARD broadens its scope to include love songs, cheating songs, and the bawdy "Nice Like That." The album benefits from its breadth of material as well as from its two principals' remarkable singing and songwriting talents. Although not as iconic as its predecessor, the duo's second album is a strong and extremely worthwhile effort.