The father of Memphis blues, who got his start playing on its streets at the turn of the nineteenth century. This is real old-time country, blues, folk and pop, recorded in the 1920s and 30s.
Scandinavian folk, Puerto Rican conjunto, Portuguese fado, Ukrainian songs, Trinidadian calypso amongst the ways these utterly compelling stories are told, about all the important human stuff. Finely presented, too.
From 1959, on-the-spot recordings of New York street-kids improvising with drums, bottles and sticks, making up songs, raps and mini-dramas.
A gorgeous hard-cover book — with 75 sepia photograph reproductions, an essay by Luc Sante — with a disc of rare gospel and folk, Washington Phillips to the Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers, and some preaching.
For some their best — good-time country rock on acid, recorded by Bob Dorough and Scotty Moore in Nashville, in 1971. Artwork (and a song) by Michael Hurley; the great Pete Drake on pedal steel.
Highly eclectic, entertaining, cultured selection — so properly presented and well paced, with a fat booklet full of photos and facts about the performers, we won’t bother listing the unauthorised alternatives.
Stephen Cohen’s hushed, affective, dazed underground folk, recorded in Oregon in 1979. Lovely music, beautifully presented by this Japanese reissue label to watch. Guerssen vinyl.
A second album of acid folk by the Oregon outfit, from 1984 but still fresh, originally put out in small quantities on cassette, and just as good as their celebrated debut.
Utterly inspired jazzy, soulful music-making, it goes without saying.
Watson family standards, including eleven previously unreleased performances. A Folkways classic. ‘This is gorgeous music, one of the best collections of old time music ever captured’ (Victory Review).
By 1970 — the folk revival all but over — the sound that began in the hills and caught fire on the lower east side of Manhattan was being reborn in the canyons of California, at church picnics and coffee-houses.
‘Bridging the gap between American primitive pioneers John Fahey and Leo Kottke and the California Modernists… the private side of the solo guitar movement from 1966-81.’ 40-page booklet, usual Numero class.
Male folk singers mithering and dithering all the way from 1970 to 1983: very introspective, sombre, spare and intimate, most of it originally pressed privately, plenty of it beautiful and haunting.
Another great lost 60s folk album — this one from Canada, and it’s a killer. Ragged, quirky and lovely — with a great Jansch cover, her own storming Band of Thieves, even Neil Young guesting.
Warmly recommended scrappy contemporary gypsy-folk from the Mississippi camp. Accordion, upright bass, full brass, basic percussion; lovely silk-screened sleeves, limited.