I enjoyed another bike ride this evening with the kiddo making for a total of just over 70 kilometers covered in the past two days. Not bad for an 11-year-old, eh?
Anyway, now I’m lazing around, thinking about shaving and otherwise procrastinating about making tonight’s dinner (click HERE). My soundtrack as I completely slack off is the ‘San Diego State Folk Festival, 1972‘ by Roscoe Holocomb.
This was a Record Store Day 2015 release that I picked up the other day for $5.00 in a discount bin at SRCvinyl.
Holcomb, (born as Roscoe Halcomb September 5, 1912 – died February 1, 1981) was an American singer, banjo player, and guitarist from Daisy, Kentucky. He was a prominent figure in Appalachian folk music and the inspiration for the term “high, lonesome sound,” coined by folklorist and friend John Cohen (click HERE for more info). This “high lonesome sound” term is now used to describe bluegrass singing, although Holcomb was not, strictly speaking, a bluegrass performer.
A coal miner, construction laborer and farmer for much of his life, Holcomb was not recorded until 1958, after which his career as a professional musician was bolstered by the folk revival in the 1960’s. Holcomb gave his last live performance in 1978. Due to what he described as injuries he sustained during his long career as a laborer, Holcomb was eventually unable to work for more than short periods, and his later income came primarily from his music. Suffering from asthma and emphysema as a result of working in coal mines, he died in a nursing home in 1981, at the age of 68. There are very few recordings of Roscoe left in existence. Obviously, this is one of them; recorded at San Diego Folk Festival on Saturday, April 29, 1972 on the campus of San Diego University
Holcomb sings songs about the very hard life he has lived, religious chants, Appalachian ballads, and old-timey popular songs. He accompanies himself on 5-string banjo, guitar (using a jackknife*), and occasionally plays harmonica. Holcomb’s first two albums garnered much praise from Bob Dylan (“Roscoe Holcomb has a certain untamed sense of control, which makes him one of the best.”), and Eric Clapton (“My favorite country musician.”) This live set is a worthwhile and valuable addition to anyone’s music collection if they are a fan of traditional “American” music.
I just love music. All of it.
Well, not so much.
*Seriously, the dude plays the guitar with a knife! How fucking badass is that?