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Warner Collection Vol. II

Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still—The Warner Collection, Vol.1
2000, Appleseed

Nathan Hicks, Frank proffitt, and Linzy Hicks, Beech Mountain, N.C. 1939This album is better appreciated as a slice of history, rather than as a musical document. It is the recordings made by Anne and Frank Warner on their trip to the North Carolina mountains in the late ’30s. There are a whopping 58 songs on this single disc, but since the instrumentation is sparse, if at all, these songs are also short. Nothing lasts more than three minutes, and most clock in somewhere between one and two minutes long. In many places, there are interview segments between the Warners and their subjects. It’s a fascinating insight into rural life during this simpler time. As might be expected, there are many spirituals and traditional folk songs here. Artists like Judy Collins, Bob Dylan and Jerry Garcia may have even learned much of their traditional repertoire from this very recording when it was first released. In it’s own unique way, this album is a reminder of how popular music once traveled. Songs were passed down from generation to generation, and families and communities entertained themselves by singing together. They were their own entertainers and their own audiences. There’s a simple beauty in these diamonds in the rough, unlike the nuggets of beauty often hidden underneath the glitz and glamour of today’s contemporary music. So if you’re looking for what’s real, look no further than here.—Dan MacIntosh

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