"Ballads And Songs From The Appalachians"

spotify joeroganSome albums hit you in solar plexus from the very first note. Why? It's all about authenticity. When you play an original album you hear what the artist intended to put out. Compilation albums seldom have that effect. There is no rule without an exception. I recently stumbled across "Ballads and Songs from the Appalachians" by Hedy West, three classic LPs for the Topic label reissued in a two CD package. The 2-cd was released on british label Fellside Recordings and topped the 2011 Folk Roots critics poll in the reissues of the year category. The album contains no less than 41 songs. It's hard to choose one song over another as everything here is of a very high standard. However, "Fair Rosamund", "Barbara Allen", "The Wife Of Usher's Well", "The House Carpenter", "Pretty Saro", "Little Matty Groves", "The Unquiet Grave", "The Sheffield Apprentice", "Little Sadie" and "The Cruel Mother" stand out. Everything is here; from child ballads, broadsides, religious songs to murder ballads. They depict hard times and unimaginable struggle. Hedy West was born in 1938 in Cartersville, in the poor and rural Georgia, and is regarded as a prominent artist of the 60s folk revival. She died in 2005, but her musical legacy lives on. She had a no-nonsense vocal style combined with stripped-to-the bone banjo playing. Hedy West pass the test of authenticity. Uncontrived, unfeigned and unspoiled to the end. 

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