My early morning swim (4100m) is over with and I have one more interval spin planned for this evening prior to leading my Master’s spin class, and so before that I only have Day 16 of my “28 Day Challenge” core workout to accomplish (click HERE for an update) this afternoon. And my listening pleasure for this specific workout (and other stuff) is the awesome ‘America’s Folk Heritage‘ box set.
While I am classifying this post as a “Core” workout soundtrack, let it be also known that I will likely be listening to it for the remainder of the afternoon here in Corporate Hell afterwards seeing as how it’s a 6 record set.
For the record, I love these compilation box sets because a) they usually have an excellent smattering of samples from whatever genre they are intended on representing, b) trying to find all these songs on the original album releases would likely take a lifetime (not to mention costing a fortune), and c) they’re usually cheap.
This one only cost me $2.00.
I rest my case.
This compilation specifically is one many of the many Murray Hill box sets (there is also an edition of it on the Everest label) released, and is likely the best anthology on offer for folk music in general. Needless to say, for $2.00 I didn’t have much to consider. The 12 sides are reissues of one side each of 12 different (and significant) albums originally released on the Tradition label.
Side One presents 9 different folk artists with one song each (Judy Collins, Theodore Bikel, the Dillards, Ed McCurdy, Oscar Brand, Odetta, and others). The remainder of the box set devotes an entire side each to 11 other great noteworthy folk artists.
In a nutshell: Carl Sandburg has a whole side of ballads that he collected, performed solo with his acoustic guitar (albeit it’s a little muddy sound sounding but, hey, “that’s folk, folks!”). The Woody Guthrie side consists of songs Woody recorded with Cisco Houston and Sonny Terry. The Josh White side has 4 songs by Josh accompanied by a small band. Lightnin’ Hopkins, Leadbelly, and Big Bill Broonzy are each represented by entire sides of their bare bones self-accompanied early recordings (folk blues at its best). Brownie and Sonny’s side is also both bluesy and folky. John Lee Hooker‘s side is a mixed bag of solo recordings (including a great live take of ‘Hobo Blues‘) and electric full band sessions. The side labeled ‘The Songs of Rod McKuen‘ consists of songs written by McKuen but actually sung by Barry McGuire with members of the New Christy Minstrels. The Glenn Yarbrough side is one side of his first album on Tradition, predating his tenure with the Limeliters, and the Pete Seeger side is from a live concert. All of it is prime folk, widely varied, and well worth owning.
Seriously, trying to track down all these incredible albums would have taken forever, if at all. So here in one $2.00 blast at the counter, my okie-folkie collection just received a massive boost in awesomeness.
And speaking of coolness, it’s time for some homemade pea soup for lunch (following the workout, of course) before resuming my duties here at Corporate Hell with even more folkie goodness.