Charlie Poole

You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me: Charlie Poole and The Roots of Country Music

If you have a musicologist on your gift list, this 3-disc anthology might be the answer to your prayers. And for the connoisseur of merchandise packaging this boxed set, which includes a 40-plus page book and cover art by R. Crumb, is a gorgeous example of harmoniously balanced design and information. Banjoist Charlie Poole was an innovative musician of the highest order as well as a drunken rounder whose run-ins with the law made him a folk hero, and Legacy has gone all out in creating this compilation of his recordings from the 1920s supplemented with examples of recordings that inspired him from as early as 1902. Everything here has been remastered with an ear to authenticity, so you can hear the hiss of the gramophone needle in every groove, and Poole’s quintessential back-country tenor and rollicking banjo picking, usually accompanied by guitar and fiddle, are all the warmer for it. This is musical archiving at its best. The perfect soundtrack for a summer barbecue, too.