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Big Joe Williams and Friends Going Back to Crawford ArhooUe, 1999 CD 9OI5, $IO.OO Black Appalachia String Bands, Songsters and Hoedowns Rounder, 1999 CD 1823, $15.00 A native of Crawford, Mississippi, Big Joe WüUams was convinced that his hometown was fuU ofblues talent that deserved attention. In 1971 he convinced ArhooUe's president, Chris Strachwitz, to record some ofCrawford's home-grown talent. Now, over twenty years later, these performances are finaUy avaüable. Though WiUiams's singing and playing clearly stand out, particularly on the first cut "Back Home Blues," his friends easüy hold dieir own. Going Back to Crawfordnicely captures the "down home" blues of average black Mississippians who never made it on record, and whose voices and stories might otherwise be forgotten. Though avid blues fans, the folkloristsJohn and Alan Lomax wanted to survey the wide range ofblack musical creativity. BlackAppalachia captures a number of pre-blues traditions, from stringband and banjo tunes to washboard bands and chüdren's singing games. Tennessee serves as the cd's geographic focus for a broadly defined Appalachia, which also includes Mississippi and Arkansas. The recordings and the accompanying booklet explore the broad confluence ofwhite and black styles. Though remastered, BlackAppalachia is not as "clean" as cd Usteners may be accustomed to, largely because these recordings were coUected in the field in the 1930s and 1940s. Yet it's an extremely important aural document that reminds us again ofthe numerous contributions, aside from the blues, that African Americans have made to southern vernacular music. Music Recordings 93 ...


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