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50 Years: Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go?

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Album Review

The New Lost City Ramblers were instrumental in bridging the gap between the young urban folk musicians of the early '60s, who embraced the form and feel of old-time American music, and the last of the great rural singers and players who had actually grown up with the music in its original incarnation. The Ramblers (John Cohen, Mike Seeger, and Tom Paley — Tracy Schwarz replaced Paley in 1962) not only covered the songs, they also sought out and made field recordings of traditional Southern musicians like Cousin Emmy, Maybelle Carter, Eck Robertson, Roscoe Holcomb, Dock Boggs, Kilby Snow, and many others, thus preserving as well as gently tweaking and reinventing old-time American string band music for a new century. This wonderful set combines two earlier collections, The Early Years: 1958-1962 (featuring the original trio) and Out Standing in Their Field, Vol. 2: 1963-1973 (featuring the later version of the group with Schwarz), with a third disc called Where Do You Come From? Where Do You Go?, which presents some of the field recordings NLCR did of the musicians that inspired them. The end result is a well-rounded portrait of an important and vital string band who were always careful to stay true to the intent and execution of the precious musical resource they drew from, never doing any song a disservice, and always working to create a seamless bridge between the old and the re-imagined.


Formed: 1958 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '90s

During the folk boom of the late '50s and early '60s, the New Lost City Ramblers introduced audiences to the authentic string band sound of the 1920s and '30s, in the process educating a generation that had never heard this uniquely American sound of old-time music. While maintaining music with a social conscience, they added guts and reality to the folk movement, performing with humor and obvious reverence for the music. In 1958, Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley modeled their band after groups...
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