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The High Lonesome Sound

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Album Review

Twenty-one tracks from his Folkways album, including his accomplished, somber renditions of standards such as "House of the Rising Sun," "Moonshiner," "Trouble in Mind," and "Motherless Children." Holcomb is a big favorite among musicians and folklorists — Bob Dylan, for one, is a big fan — yet it must be said that this is probably too authentic for most listeners to play for pleasure. It's straight from the bone, with high, at times harsh vocals that make no concession to popular clichés to make things easier on the ear. That's one thing which makes the parallel to Dylan easy to see. The banjo playing is impressive, and the anthology is embellished by lengthy liner notes and recollections by John Cohen.


Born: 1911 in Daisy, KY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

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

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...
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The High Lonesome Sound, Roscoe Holcomb
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