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Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen

Desert Dancer 23 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM
Desert Dancer 23 Jan 11 - 10:59 AM
Desert Dancer 23 Jan 11 - 11:20 AM
Desert Dancer 23 Jan 11 - 11:21 AM
Desert Dancer 24 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM
Desert Dancer 26 Jan 11 - 10:22 AM
nickp 26 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM
The Sandman 26 Jan 11 - 12:58 PM
GUEST,glueman 27 Jan 11 - 03:05 AM
nickp 27 Jan 11 - 05:00 AM
nickp 27 Jan 11 - 05:01 AM
Desert Dancer 27 Jan 11 - 10:31 AM
Mark Ross 28 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM
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Subject: Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM

John Cohen has taken the leftover footage from "The High Lonesome Sound" and made a second film about Roscoe Holcomb, entitled, "Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky". The film had a limited release last year (it showed at the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival at the American Museum of Natural History in New York last November), and now Shanachie has released both movies on a DVD entitled, "The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb" (Shanachie 621).

(This is so new that I can't find it on the Shanachie web site!)

(Thanks to NPR's Picture Show blog for the tip in an article about John Cohen, which says, "Also out are John Cohen, Past, Present, Peru: A Collection of CDs, DVDs, Photos and Text and a new book about The New Lost City Ramblers.")

Among other vendors, it's available from County Sales, who have this product description:

LEGACY OF ROSCOE HOLCOMB This is simply a wonderful package that combines the various video appearances of this amazing old time musician from Eastern Kentucky. It's hard to believe that it's been almost 50 years since John Cohen made his classic documentary film HIGH LONESOME SOUND. That landmark work has been combined with a new piece by Cohen taken from out takes and leftover segments from his 1962 film. In addition, there are another ten tunes recorded in different places over the years, a fitting tribute to Holcomb, who died in 1981 at the age of 70. At first hearing, Holcomb's high, piercing voice may scare the new listener, but those who are ready for something real and truly rural should love this video. Shot in black & white, Cohen's glimpses of the coalfields, the farms and the mountain people are spellbinding—at times the viewer is transported to a time and place that might just as well be 100 years ago. Though Holcomb's main weapon is his voice, he can play some deft old time banjo, such as the spellbinding HOOK & LINE, LITTLE BIRDIE, and LITTLE GREY MULE. He also plays some bluesy guitar (GRAVEYARD BLUES). Cohen and Shanachie Records were fortunately able to borrow additional songs cut from the Pete Seeger TV show (1966), Alan Lomax (1961), George Pickow, and John Ullman of Seattle (1972). Apart from Roscoe's playing, singing and comments on life in the mountains, this DVD also contains some unique segments that will fascinate the viewer: on one visit to Kentucky Cohen happened to catch and film part of a Bill Monroe appearance on the Courthouse steps of Hazard, Ky.—Bill and the Bluegrass Boys play LIVE & LET LIVE here. Then there's a surprise appearance of the superb Kentucky fiddler Marion Sumner playing a fine GREY EAGLE for a square dance, along with an equally great RED APPLE RAG (with Holcomb and another picker supplying guitar backing). There is also an emotion charged country baptizing. We can thank John Cohen and the others involved with preserving sights and sounds of this unique individual, and doing it so well.

TRACK LISTING

    * HOOK AND LINE
    * PRETTY FAIR MISS IN THE GARDEN
    * SINGLE GIRL
    * OLD SMOKY
    * LITTLE BIRDY
    * GRAVEYARD BLUES
    * LITTLE GREY MULE
    * ROCKY MOUNTAIN
    * GREY EAGLE
    * RED APPLE RAG

AP review in the next post.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:59 AM

This review has been published on several web pages. I got it from LeaderHerald.com


Roscoe Holcolmb, "The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb" (Shanachie)

By TED ANTHONY
The Associated Press

Odds are you haven't heard of Roscoe Holcomb. If you're a fan of American music, though, his is most certainly a voice worth hearing.

Holcomb was the "high lonesome" singer of eastern Kentucky, a man whom performers from John Cohen to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton revered as a source of spare, original mountain music and the hardship behind it. His voice, which reached almost into falsetto at times, told of work and pain and wondering - stoicism and emotion delivered by a man on a porch with his banjo and the traditions within him.

In the early 1960s, Cohen, a musician and historian, traveled to Kentucky to film a stark, black-and-white movie about Holcomb called "The High Lonesome Sound." It helped propel the aging Holcomb into a career that took him away from manual labor and, for a time, into a world of performance where people appreciated him for his music.

Now, Cohen has taken unused footage from that session and several others to create a compelling new movie, "Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky." It is the anchor of a definitive new DVD called "The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb" that also features other rare video of performances and a copy of the original 1962 movie.

Quiet, introspective and moody, the new film reveals a man trying to make sense of his life and his music — a kind of music that Dylan referred to as having "an untamed sense of control." In long, lingering clips around Holcomb's house, interspersed with performances, he comes across as a man lost in time, figuring himself out. In short: authenticity, the kind that any Nashville wannabe today would hand over his pickup and his hound to acquire.

Caught between two American eras, the rural one that produced him and the urban one that made him a recording artist, Roscoe Holcomb called his time on this earth "hard labor" and a "rough life." His art, born of that life, is the real deal, one of the fundamental pieces of the American roots music mosaic. This new DVD gives his music, and the experiences behind it, their due.


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:20 AM

Whoops - the NPR interview with John Cohen that cued me in was not in the Picture Show blog (which is always great), but NPR Music, which is a great section of their web site everyone should explore. It aired on Weekend Edition Sunday, today. Listen to hear more than is transcribed -- including music, of course -- and visit the web page for pictures, video, links.

I've started a separate thread where I'll post several recent articles about John Cohen.

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:21 AM

Link to the other thread: Review: John Cohen - recent articles about.


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 10:22 AM

nuthin'?


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: nickp
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM

DD - not nuthin' but very interesting. Thanks for noticing it. I'll pass on the details to some folks that might also be interested. Nick


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 12:58 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wGgvbHcgyc


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 03:05 AM

Anyone know if it'll be available in the UK?


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: nickp
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 05:00 AM

For here and no doubt others:

link


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: nickp
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 05:01 AM

I meant this


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 10:31 AM

Here's the review that nickp linked at Red Lick (where you can buy the DVD in the UK - "Ask for SHANDV621. Special review price until end of February £17.50 & p&p (usual price £19.25)"):

You get two for one on this great DVD from Shanachie: John Cohen's classic 1962 film The High Lonesome Sound and his new film, Roscoe Holcomb from Daisy Kentucky, along with other performances throughout the years.

As a long-time admirer of Roscoe Holcombe, I'm thrilled by this release but it should also be of great interest to anyone with an attraction to mountain music in general and the culture of the Appalachians.

John Cohen's first film The High Lonesome Sound, concentrates on the coal mining communities around Hazard, their tough working lives, their church and their love of old time music. The central character, of course, is Roscoe Holcomb - one of the iconic figures in American traditional music and the film offers a fascinating insight into his life, musical knowledge, his virtuosity on banjo and guitar and his significance in his environment. It features a fifty year old Roscoe, banging out archaic songs like Little Birdie, and has scenes of him looking on in bemusement as his kids do the twist to the latest rock and roll hit, settling down on the back porch to wail out an ancient hymn from his battered Baptist song book, and then taking part in a gloriously raucous service at the Holiness Church Of God where the congregation is speaking in tongues and writhing in the aisles. The film was hailed as a classic back in the sixties by Bob Dylan, John Hartford, Mike Seeger and Ralph Stanley and time hasn't diminished the great moments like, for instance, Roscoe's dynamic guitar picking on Across The Rocky Mountain.

The brand new film Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky opens with a journey through mountain villages like Happy, Defiance and Viper to the holler in Daisy where Holcomb honed and polished his music, following the old traditional line of playing with a backwoods purity that was sustained by his isolation. It's fascinating to see Roscoe at home singing Single Girl, Omie Wise, Wayfaring Stranger and Little Birdie in that haunting, taut tenor that moved Carter Stanley to comment "you could feel the smell of wood smoke in that voice".

Roscoe talks freely and, at times, surprisingly frankly about his hard working life, his distress at how asthma and emphysema are affecting his singing, how he loved the old ways of living and, most importantly, his music. The film utilises unused clips from the The High Lonesome Sound interspersed with footage from a fiddlers convention, a snippet from an open air Bill Monroe appearance in Hazard and contributions from neighbours Esker Hutchins, The Shepherd Family and Odabe Halcomb.

The rest of the DVD has additional performances from his appearances in films, TV shows and visits, including startling footage from the 1961 Alan Lomax film Ballads, Blues & Bluegrass and Pete Seeger's 1966 Rainbow Quest TV shows, as well as other items filmed by John Ullman and George Pickow.

The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb is one of the most brilliant DVDs on American traditional music I've ever seen. With its new footage and information about Roscoe Holcombe and John Cohen's extensive notes - it's an award winner if I ever saw one. Definitely one to treasure.


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Subject: RE: Review: new Roscoe Holcomb film by John Cohen
From: Mark Ross
Date: 28 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM

Bought the film from John when he was here last year, it's great!

Mark


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