Old Man Below
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In his memoir of the early-'60s Greenwich Village folk revival, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk recalls that aspiring folk singers adopted one of two personae upon arriving in New York: hipster blues singer affecting bohemian airs, or studious academic devoted to the preservation and re-creation of the songs and playing styles of days past. That divide still exists today, and if performers like Devendra Banhart and Wooden Wand represent the hipster camp, then The Dust Busters—a trio of young musicians recording for the venerable Folkways imprint—can be ranked among today’s academicians. Old Man Below is The Dust Busters' third album and their second with pioneering folklorist John Cohen, whose group The Lost City Ramblers recorded for Folkways in the ‘60s. Together, Cohen and The Dust Busters offer up rough-hewn takes on 20 traditional songs, from a galloping interpretation of the 18th-century Anglo-Scottish border ballad “Black Jack Davey” (rendered here as “Black Jack Daisey”) to lively fiddle tunes like “Wimbush Rag."
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