Blues, Rags & Hollers
Koerner, Ray & Glover
1963: Red House Records / Elektra RHR CD 76
As a child I knew this recording of Linin Track because my father had an LP by the name of Folksong 65 which featured it (track #3 there, right after Tom Rushs Long John and Judy Collinss So Early, Early in the Springboth excellent in setting the tone of the album), and I unconsciously loved it. Had no idea whether the singers were white or black or original or performing something from an established source, because I had no context for any of that to register or matter (aside from maybe black mens voices having a certain sound different from that of white mens, but even that was, and is, often illusory). Hearing this compilation, Ive cautiously found (over time) that they sound so original-sounding in their delivery of these songs that frankly Im surprised to recall that theyre three white guys.
(I also love the way one of them described their group as perhaps better being called Sometimes Koerner and Sometimes Ray and Sometimes Glover, in [I think it was] the 1986 documentary on them.)
I dont really have any desire to critically assess every track on this album (and as a compilation of recordings it does add up to a bit much of a certain sound, so its perhaps best taken in parcels rather than as a whole if its to be truly appreciated), but Bugger Burns, Banjo Thing, Good Time Charlie, Too Bad, and of course Linin Track are probably my favorite tracks. In fact I love pretty much every track; those are just ones I happen to call out in a quick skimming.
Go Down Old Hannah is a standout in its own category, thoughits only accompinment being a foot tapping. That is some arrestingly bare-bones musical theatre, with a killer vocal.
Comments © 2005 Mark Ellis Walker, except as noted, and no claim is made to the images and quoted lyrics.