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If you're one of those people who hears old-timey, country-fied sounds and opines, "I've heard that -- Beverly Hillbillies theme music," you'll want to skip to the next review. But if you're interested in windows into different worlds, you may want to get hip to this 24-track compilation of 78s, which, along the way, shows the evolution of ragtime, folk, blues, and protest forms.

As often happens with vintage folk and blues, Gallop charts the mutation of various songs. "Think a Little" shares a melody with an older tune most commonly known as "Red River Valley." "Been on the Job Too Long," which seems to be about knocking off a popular laborer, has a lot in common with "The Ballad of Duncan and Brady."

Long days of exhausting labor, sudden lay-offs, unemployment, poverty, illness, and escapism color this collection. While revelations abound, some of the most telling include "Bay Rum Blues," "I Want My Black Baby Back," and "Cotton Mill Colic" ("The kids get to cryin' in a different tune" says so much with so little -- it's North Carolina Zen).

  • Album title: Gastonia Gallop: Cotton Mill Songs and Hillbilly Blues
  • Artist: Various
  • Label: Old Hat
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