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Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes

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Album Review

Recorded in 1957 and early 1958 by Mike Seeger, Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes collects the influential debut sides cut by a then-62-year-old Elizabeth Cotten; even decades after their first release, they remain a veritable primer in the art of finger-picked style guitar playing. The quaint, homespun quality of the material — much of it recorded at Cotten's home with her grandchildren looking on in silence — adds immensely to its intimacy and warmth; the sound quality varies wildly from track to track, but the amazing instrumental work shines through regardless on tracks like the opening "Wilson Rag" and the now-standard "Freight Train."


Born: 05 January 1895 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Elizabeth Cotten was among the most influential guitarists to surface during the roots music revival era, her wonderfully expressive and dexterous fingerpicking style a major inspiration to the generations of players who followed in her wake. Cotten was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the early weeks of 1895. After first picking up the banjo at the age of eight, she soon moved on to her brother's guitar, laying it flat on her lap and over time developing her picking pattern and eventually...
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Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes, Elizabeth Cotten
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