Imagine if your good, music-lovin friend burned you a CD, a CD he took great care to create. Imagine if this friend had an extraordinarily deep collection of folk, blues, country, jazz, indy and oddball rock, and other rare and wonderful recordings.
Further, this friend has put together compilations for you before, and they’ve always been a classy ride, tracing rootsy strains in music from America’s past to its present. What’s really cool is this friend edits a fine magazine and makes it a habit to include the CD with his annual music issue.
As a friend, he might have just given you the CD, but since he lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and you don’t, you figure you might as well pay for it and support him professionally while you’re at it.
So when you walk into a bookstore and see the music issue of Oxford American , you snap it up. Perusing the tracklist before you pop it into your car CD player, you know you’re in for another treat.
1. “Why You Been Gone So Long”
2. “Total Destruction to Your Mind”
3. “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”
The Del McCoury Band
4. “La Chanson d’une Fille de Quinze Ans (Song of a Fifteen Year Old Girl)”
Ann Savoy and Linda Ronstadt
5. “Swan Blues”
6. “Run on for a Long Time”
The Blind Boys of Alabama
7. “Evelyn Is Not Real”
My Morning Jacket
8. “Lake Charles Boogie”
9. “Hot Rod”
The Collins Kids
10. “No Headstone on My Grave”
11. “El Paso”
12. “Leaving Loachapoka”
13. “Grits Ain’t Groceries”
14. “Killer Diller Blues”
15. “Miss Maybelle”
16. “God Moves on the Water” Blind Willie Johnson
17. “Niki Hoeky”
18. “See That Coon in a Hickory Tree”
The Delmore Brothers
19. “Leaning on You”
20. “You and Your Sister”
21. “Columbus Stockade Blues”
22. “A Little Girl from Little Rock”
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell
23. “Goodnight Moon”
Imagine it. Something good and true and rootsy and American. It’s enough to give one hope.
Disclaimer: I subscribe to Oxford American, so did not actually buy it at the newsstand. Editor Marc Smirnoff is my friend in the same way as the folks on my blogroll. Upon initial listen, I did not first read the tracklist, which helps to guard against preconceived notions. I usually end up wondering halfway through the song, who is this? Then I pick up the CD cover and attempt to read the relatively small print while avoiding an accident.