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The Rose and the Briar

Album: The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in American Ballads
# Song Title   Time
1)    Barbary Allen - Jean Ritchie
2)    Pretty Polly - Coon Creek Girls
3)    Ommie Wise - G.B. Grayson
4)    Little Maggie - Snakefarm
5)    Frankie - Mississippi John Hurt
6)    Deliah's Gone - Koerner, Ray & Glover
7)    Wreck of the Old 97 - John Mellencamp
8)    Dead Man's Curve - Jan & Dean
9)    Buddy Bolden's Blues (I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say) - Jelly Roll Morton
10)    Coo Coo Bird, The - Clarence Ashley
11)    Volver, Volver - Vicente Fernndez
12)    Foggy Dew, The - Burl Ives
13)    Black, Brown & Beige, Pt. IV (Come Sunday) - Duke Ellington & His Orchestra/Mahalia Jackson
14)    Paso, El - Marty Robbins
15)    Trial of Mart Maguire - Bobby Patterson
16)    Down from Dover - Dolly Parton
17)    Sail Away - Randy Newman
18)    Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts - Bob Dylan
19)    Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
20)    Blackwatertown - The Handsome Family
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Bob Dylan (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Anna Domino (vocals, guitar, sequencer); Marty Robbins, Mississippi John Hurt, Burl Ives (vocals, guitar); John Mellencamp (vocals, acoustic guitar); Bobby Patterson (vocals, electric guitar); "Spider" John Koerner (vocals, 12-string guitar, harp); Clarence Ashley , Lily May Ledford (vocals, banjo); G.B. Grayson (vocals, fiddle); Jelly Roll Morton, Randy Newman (vocals, piano); Dean Torrence, Dolly Parton, Jan Berry, Jean Ritchie, Mahalia Jackson, Vicente Fernndez , Brett Sparks (vocals); Bruce Springsteen (guitar, harmonica); Grady Martin, Rosie Ledford (guitar); Mike Wanchic (electric guitar, baritone guitar, accordion); Fred Carter, Jr., Glen Campbell (electric guitar); Dave Ray (slide guitar); Pete Drake (steel guitar); Michel Delory (classical guitar, dobro, drum programming); Tony Glover, Dorothy Remsen (harp); Ray Nance (violin, trumpet); Russell Procope (clarinet, alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet); Bobby Simpson (saxophone); Bill Graham (alto saxophone); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone); Clark Terry, Harold Baker, Cappy Lewis, Tony Terran, Cat Anderson (trumpet); Bill Hinshaw, Vincent DeRosa (French horn); Quentin Jackson, John Sanders, Britt Woodman (trombone); Duke Ellington (piano); Ronnie "Sugar Boy" Brewster, Louis Dunn, Hal Blaine, Paul Mahern, Sam Woodyard, Jim Isbell (drums); Charles Trnet (tambourine); Emil Richards (percussion); Dolores Edgin, June Page, Jim Glaser, P.F. Sloan, Steve Barri, Bobby Sykes, Joe Babcock (background vocals).
  • Audio Mixer: Paul Mahern.
  • Liner Note Author: Greil Marcus.
  • Editor: Greil Marcus.
  • Photographers: Ken Regan; Elaine Mellencamp; Frank Driggs; Simon Lee .
  • Arranger: John Mellencamp.
  • Assembled by Sean Wilents and Greil Marcus to accompany the book of the same title, The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in American Ballads is organized around the central question, "What does the American ballad say about America?" Well, judging from the selections collected, it would appear that America (no surprise here) is most obsessed with love and death and the attendant subplots of murder and betrayal, with an occasional train or car wreck tossed in for metaphorical value (if you move too fast you'll pay dearly....). The selections range from vintage 1920s and 1930s 78s, including Clarence Ashley's mysterious riddle of gambling and false-hearted love, "The Cuckoo," and two chilly Appalachian murder ballads, "Ommie Wise" (its melody, sped-up, later morphed into "Wabash Cannonball") by fiddler G.B. Grayson and "Pretty Polly" by the Coon Creek Girls, to more recent fare by Randy Newman ("Sail Away"), Bruce Springsteen ("Nebraska"), and Bob Dylan ("Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts"). Also worth noting are Jean Ritchie's unaccompanied "Barbary Allen" from 1961, the Handsome Family's restructuring of Paul Muldoon's "Blackwatertown" (in turn based on the melody of "Streets of Laredo"), and Jan & Dean's classic tale of speed beyond reason, "Dead Man's Curve." Toss in Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" and a rock remake of "Wreck of the Old 97" by John Mellencamp, and the result is an odd, disjointed sequence that is more of an academic conception than it is a musical one. But that is actually the strength of The Rose and the Briar, since it forces listeners to make large leaps to connect the dots, and reminds everyone that tradition (or in its extreme form, obsession) carries its DNA forward in surprising ways. ~ Steve Leggett
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