The Field Recorders’ Collective
In the tradition of pioneering field-recording collectors Alan and John Lomax and the great musicologist Harry Smith (compiler of the seminal Anthology of American Folk Music), the members of Field Recorders’ Collective are taking it upon themselves to preserve America’s folk-music history. This group has for the past five years pooled together their collections of 20th-century folk artists—recorded at festivals and backyard/living room/kitchen sessions—to produce digitally mastered, never-would’ve-been-released CDs to sell from this Internet home base. Releases range from recordings of fiddler Norman Edmonds from the 1958 Galax, Va., Old Timers Radio Show; to Dock Boggs recorded in 1967 on a handheld tape recorder in his home; to Berkeley in the 1960s, a collection of songs by a mish-mash of Colby Street folk musicians recorded by contributor John Cohen. The CDs are $15 each, with discounts for buying an entire series. There are even old-time photos ($35) and a couple of DVDs ($20 each) for sale. Check out the wonderful sample footage of the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, featuring nearly indecipherable interviews with the toothlessly charismatic crew interspersed with snippets of three of the Hilltoppers stomping out evocative tunes with banjo, guitar and Joe Birchfield’s bone-chilling dissonant fiddle.