Prayers From Hell German

In the words of one old song, "IŽll get drunk on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday.` The hills and valleys of the rural Southern states of Ž20s and Ž30s America were no different to anywhere else, with the repertory of songsters frequently reflecting the dual aspects of sin and redemption.
Tales of drunkenness, the despair of imprisonment, betrayal and cold blooded murder, sit edgily alongside visions of the gloryland and eternal bliss. The road may be beset with temptation, alienation, and visions of eternal damnation, but it is also possible to embrace spiritual comfort and social cohesion.
Appropriately enough, trains bound in both directions - up to Heaven, down to Hell - are represented here. In addition to many of the greats of old time music our roster includes a number of more obscure but no less worthy performers.

Prayers From Hell... is a checklist of string bands (Byron Parker & His Mountaneers, The Dixon Brothers and white blues artists (Frank Hutchison) who felt the push and pull of a 'sinful' career in music versus sacred obligations. Dock Boggs experienced this opposition more deeply than most. His career trajectory saw him forsake coal mining for notoriety as a banjo player of freakish talent and a singer of scalding intensity. During the first wave of enthusiasm for his music, Boggs quit his career in 1930 at his wife's insistence that he was being led down the wrong path. Interest in his work was stirred by the inclusion of tracks such as "Sugar Baby" and "Count Blues" on Smith's Anthology, these and others (included here as well) led to Boggs's return to performing three decades later, a welcomed presence at 60s folk festivals. Homebrewed musical physicists, The Monroe Brothers accelerated the quantum particles of the shape note hymns and square dance music on which they were raised. Bluegrass was the eventual result of their high-speed renditions of religious (I Am Ready To Go") and secular material, though none of Bill Monroe's later solo work would touch the feral verve o tracks such as these.
the wire, may 2002

Prayers From Hell
Prayers From Hell
 Dock Boggs
 Frank Hutchison
 The Carter Family
 The Dixon Brothers
 The Monroe Brothers
 Cliff & Bill Carlisle
last updated: 02.05.2002 | top