17 Songs, 52 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though this album was released in 1965, Kentucky singer/banjo man Holcomb plays tunes that reach back to—and sometimes even predate—the earliest days of country and folk. His rough-edged tenor is a master marksman’s bullet tearing straight into the heart of old spirituals (“A Village Churchyard”), traditional folk (“Darling Corey”), and string-band tunes (“Free Little Bird”). Whether those plaintive, almost mournful pipes are accompanied by Holcomb’s own butt-kicking banjo picking or he’s delivering soul-piercing a cappella tunes, the album’s title is borne out in no uncertain terms.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though this album was released in 1965, Kentucky singer/banjo man Holcomb plays tunes that reach back to—and sometimes even predate—the earliest days of country and folk. His rough-edged tenor is a master marksman’s bullet tearing straight into the heart of old spirituals (“A Village Churchyard”), traditional folk (“Darling Corey”), and string-band tunes (“Free Little Bird”). Whether those plaintive, almost mournful pipes are accompanied by Holcomb’s own butt-kicking banjo picking or he’s delivering soul-piercing a cappella tunes, the album’s title is borne out in no uncertain terms.

TITLE TIME
3:20
2:32
4:36
1:53
1:31
1:51
3:37
4:36
3:02
3:50
2:27
1:24
1:52
1:21
1:58
2:33
10:14

About Roscoe Holcomb

One of the most noted Appalachian old-time musicians, banjo player and singer Roscoe Holcomb spent most of his life in the small town of Daisy, KY, and was one of the most authentic exponents of American mountain folk music. Indeed, he never had any professional ambitions but become a recording artist and participant in the folk revival circuit after being recorded for the first time in the late '50s. Holcomb's style is stark, epitomizing the keening, at times pained vocals associated with Appalachian music, with a repertoire stuffed with traditional songs that had passed among generations, as well as some songs that he likely learned from early country records. Folk musician and archivist John Cohen coined the term "high lonesome sound" to describe Holcomb's music, and the phrase has since passed into common usage to describe bluegrass and Appalachian music as a whole. He cut several albums for Folkways and made some concert appearances on the college/festival scene throughout the 1960s and 1970s, giving his last show in 1978. ~ Richie Unterberger

  • ORIGIN
    Daisy, KY
  • BORN
    1911

Top Songs

Albums