WORK HARD, PLAY HARD, PRAY HARD (3CD)
Tompkins Square (TSQ2776)
Allen Brothers, Fiddlin' John Carson, Earl Johnson, Darby & Tarlton, Georgia Crackers, Gid Tanner, North Carolina Hawaiians, Dixon Brothers, Tennessee Ramblers, Alfred G. Karnes and more.
Another stonking release from Tompkins Square, this box houses 3 CDs full of magnificent early and very rare country music recordings between 1923 and 1936.
Thematically complied into the ‘work', ‘play' and ‘prayer', each CD is a treasure trove of unheard of, and barely known, recordings from a diverse array of artists, many of which were working their way towards successful recording careers and reputations (some of which survive to this day) as well as other artists who are little known and promptly vanished from view.
As always with Tompkins Square, the re-mastered sound quality is highly impressive. This would seem to be quite a feat given that many of the sides included were taken from the only 78s version known to still exist. Indeed, many of these sides were rescued only hours before being sent to the ‘dump for trashing' (apologies for the Americanisms) as the collector who had carefully accumulated them had recently passed away and his family had no idea of the treasure contain therein - the kind of story of folklore from the days when blues, jazz and country record collecting was in its infancy but a barely conceivable story in this day and age, I would have thought.
And with more than 40 wonderful slices of raw and authentic rural country music comes a handsome 52 page booklet with essays, artist profiles and track details.
If you've bought Tompkins Square before you only need us to confirm that they once again meet their own high standards. Which of course we can. Thoroughly recommended.
Review Date: January 2013