Album Details

September 11, 2007
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Folk, Traditional Country, Old-Timey, Traditional Folk, Folklore

Album Review

Folklorist/singer/multi-instrumentalist Mike Seeger may not bear the cultural weight of his better-known cousin Pete, but between the two a veritable encyclopedia set of sepia-tone Americana resides. Seeger's follow-up to his excellent 2003 Smithsonian Folkways release True Vine is as much a historical artifact as it is the perfect front porch/parlor room soundtrack for a hot summer's day. Early Southern Guitar Sounds is just that, a 28-track musical lecture on the styles, body shapes, and songs that mythically described the guitar from around 1850 to 1930. Seeger takes the listener through ragtime, blues, Celtic-infused old-timey ballads and straight up traditional folk and country on a multitude of different instruments, from pre-World War I arch tops to a turn of the century banjo, lending his voice to a few and his formidable instrumental skills to the majority. This isn't flashy or progressive noodling, rather it's the musical equivalent of the slow food movement, offering up samples of cuisine that haven't seen a dinner table since the first World War, let alone been injected with any commercial additives. As with all Smithsonian Folkways releases, Early Southern Guitar Sounds features exhaustive liner notes that include dissertation-worthy descriptions of playing styles, detailed photos of period instruments, and song-by-song histories that make you want convert your listening room into an old oak library or pine box saloon.
James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Wildwood Flower
  2. Old Chisholm Trail
  3. Spanish Fandango
  4. Shakin' the Pines in the Holler
  5. Weary Lonesome Blues
  6. White Oak Mountain
  7. I'm Crazy Over You
  8. Can't Get a Letter from Home
  9. Guitar Rag
  10. Smoketown Strut
  11. Big Kid's Barroom
  12. Fishing Blues
  13. After All Has Been Said and Done
  14. Joe Lee's Tune
  15. Carroll County Blues
  16. Birmingham Tickle
  17. Worried Blues
  18. Kenny Wagner's Surrender
  19. Arizona
  20. Pearly Dew
  21. Risselty Rosselty
  22. Johnny Doyle
  23. Black Jack David
  24. John Henry
  25. Buckdancer's Choice
  26. Riley and Spencer
  27. When This World Comes to an End
  28. Leaning on the Everlasting Arm
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