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Buffalo Skinners: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 4

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Album Review

This fourth and final volume of recordings Woody Guthrie made for Folkways and other small independent labels is just as remarkable as its predecessors. This time around, the focus is primarily on cowboy/Western music, and Guthrie — who is accompanied by Cisco Houston on many of the 26 tracks — proves himself a master of the genre. The program mixes well-known traditional material ("Go Tell Aunt Rhody, "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Get Along Little Doggies," "Red River Valley," and "Chisholm Trail") with equally strong Guthrie originals such as "Little Darling (At My Window Sad and Lonely)," "Ranger's Command," and "Dead or Alive (Poor Lazarus)." About a third of the tracks have never previously been released, among them the charming "Return of Rocky Mountain Slim and Desert Rat Shorty," a home recording on which Woody and Cisco make fun of radio ads for music songbooks. The sound quality is first rate, particularly considering the acetate-disc sources of this material. Also excellent is the 36-page accompanying booklet, which completes the biographical sketch started on volumes one through three and includes extensive notes on each track.


Born: 14 July 1912 in Okemah, OK

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Woody Guthrie was the most important American folk music artist of the first half of the 20th century, in part because he turned out to be such a major influence on the popular music of the second half of the 20th century, a period when he himself was largely inactive. His greatest significance lies in his songwriting, beginning with the standard "This Land Is Your Land" and including such much-covered works as "Deportee," "Do Re Mi," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Hard, Ain't It Hard," "Hard Travelin'," "I...
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