The 2014 Smithsonian compilation, Classic African American Songsters from Smithsonian Folkways, brings together recordings culled from the museum's vast collection that showcase the stylistic diversity of artists who, though largely known for playing the blues, performed many other genres of music. These are songs that move through such wide-ranging styles as ragtime, country, Tin Pan Alley, and more. Included are songs by Big Bill Broonzy, Lead Belly, Mississippi John Hurt, Peg Leg Sam, and many others.
The first recordings from an artist with a gift for interpreting original blues from Robert Johnson to Memphis Minnie to The Carter Family. Williams’s unmistakable sound is powerfully direct and filled with melancholy and passion. 43 minutes. "The quintessential recording of Lucinda Williams…. An unbelievably soulful…vocalist."–Montana State University Exponent.
In his characteristically sardonic liner notes to this compilation of his earliest recordings, Dave Van Ronk denies that he was ever a folksinger. While such a declaration may seem ludicrous on its face, Van Ronk's perspective contributes to an understanding of his musical approach. When he made these recordings for Folkways Records between 1959 and 1961, he was coming out of years of playing banjo and singing (unamplified) with a traditional jazz band; he turned to fingerpicking an acoustic guitar and singing the songs of old folk-blues musicians like Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and the Reverend Gary Davis as the "trad" fad gave way and the folk revival gained momentum in the late ‘50s.
This compilation drawn from both field work and recordings on the then Yugoton label gives a sense of the richness of Bosnian Muslim culture before the catastrophe. The music is admirably varied, ranging from mid-'80s local pop to shepherds' songs and country-dance music.