Classic Appalachian Blues from Smithsonian Folkways
by Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Concentrated in Virginia and Carolina coal country, and spreading its recordings over five decades -- from the '50s to '90s -- this sampler documents a multifaceted but rarely acknowledged mountain blues style: speedy, intricate, guitar-dominated, yet somehow mostly relaxed. Selections echo old-timey country, dabble in bluegrass and boogie-woogie, and peak with slavering sexagenarian medicine show veteran Peg Leg Sam Jackson reviving a nearly century-old minstrel shtick in 1976. The set opens and closes with near-rock 'n' roll tunes from Sticks McGhee about driving cars and drinking wine.