Hard Luck Blues
Collections like 'Til We Outnumber 'Em and Mermaid Avenue, Vol. 1 and 2 attest to how the spirit of Woody Guthrie continues to influence folk music. In the first case, the influence is primarily political, in the latter, more poetic. While it's clear that a number of artists look to Guthrie for inspiration, it is also clear that many of their fans are less than intimate with this prominent folk forefather. Hard Luck Blues offers 21 classic Guthrie songs, a perfect introduction for fans of Billy Bragg and Ani DiFranco who only know the Dust Bowl balladeer secondhand. Several great numbers recount 1930s America, from outlaws ("Pretty Boy Floyd") to the Dust Bowl ("Ain't Got No Home") to the Depression ("Do Re Mi"). The inclusion of "Dust Pneumonia Blues," "Blowing Down That Old Dusty Road," and "Talking Dust Bowl Blues," all from Guthrie's monumental Dust Bowl Ballads, also make this a strong collection. Many listeners, unfamiliar with Guthrie, may find his stripped-down approach somewhat plain. His voice is untrained and he seldom uses a backup band. But what he lacks in pizzazz he more than makes up for in straightforward honesty and righteousness. Name a singer of the last 20 years who has written a folk song that equals "This Land Is Your Land" or "Pretty Boy Floyd." Hard Luck Blues offers folk fans a good place to dig a little deeper at their roots and discover why Wilco and so many others highly prize the elegant Okie from America's heartland. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford Jr., Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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