Harry Smith



"These 1959 recordings present the vigorous music of Kentucky mountain people. They sang and played with a terrific energy that is almost unheard of now....Their musical memories provide us with a glimpse of a pattern which had endured for centuries... Roscoe Holcomb remembered: "I've played for square dances till the sweat dripped off my elbows. Somebody'd start his old instrument, guitar or banjer'r something'r other, 'n just gang up in the middle of the road 'n have the awfullest square dance right out in the middle of the highway."
Mountain Music of Kentucky

"These recordings were initially intended to document the different ways Appalachian musicians tune the five string banjo. The search for tunings served as an entree into the musicial memories of the old-time banjo players; as the strings were re-tuned, a rush of old memories was recollected and precise sound patterns were remembered beyond the comprehension of deliberate consciousness. The changing of the note intervals unlocked some closed doors. Alongside these banjo tunes, seldom sung songs and ballads appeared, and were recorded as well...It was a great privilege to document these performances and to feel the individuality of each musician's style: they had unusual ideas about timing, pronounced ways of ornamenting the voice, odd tonal and harmonic choices. Singers adjusted the songs to conform to their own breathing...."
High Atmosphere

"Many of the distinctive sounds on these recordings derive from Inca traditions. However, 400 years of colonialism have integrated Inca and Spanish cultures, particularly in the huayno music. Yet among the separate communities of the Andes, distinct indigenous elements remain, reflecting regional differences that existed even prior to the Incas.... Since 1982, the second generation of Andean emigrees in Lima have created Chicha music, which combines huaynos with electronic instruments and "tropicale" pop rhythms from Cumbia."
Mountain Music of Peru, Vol 1.

"This may be the first collection offering Peruvian Criolla music and the black Peruvian traditions which shaped it, alongside some superb examples of Andean music...On the original record labels of the 78s and 45s which the company (Discos Smith) released, the producers or musicians indicated the style or rhythm of each performance, which was not only a useful marketing ploy but also gave the the outsider a guide to what might be heard in the grooves of each record....Discos Smith probably saw Criolla and Andean as two distinct markets. Yet their catalog can also be read as a musical thread following the path of Andean people's migration from the mountains to the coast."
From The Mountains to the Sea, music of Peru, the 1960s

"Not long ago, sharing a tight elevator in lower Manhattan with a guy delivering messages, the silence was getting big. So I asked him, "How ya doin?" He replied, "I'm going down the road....feeling bad." Since I knew a song by that name I asked him, "Where'd ya hear that?" "Jerry," he said as we left the elevator. I don't remember what he looked like, but I was glad to know that the song was still alive and that the tradition goes on.

When Jerry (Garcia) was a young man in Palo Alto he sang folksongs, bluegrass and old-time music with his early bands. Playing folk songs in the early 1960s was different from today. At that time, before the Beatles and the rock 'n' roll revival, to be a folk singer was to admit you were an outsider, and it meant that you rejected mainstream music in favor of this separate music from far away places with another outlook on life."
Jerry Garcia & David Grisman "Shady Grove"

"There is a side of us all which goes about trying to make the world over in our own image. There is another side--where one searches to encounter his own image in the world. In this process one examines all kinds of elements which come in his path."
The New Lost City Ramblers, Vol 1. 1958