David Johansen & the Harry Smiths

David Johansen & the Harry Smiths

by David Johansen & the Harry Smiths


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Harry Smith was the bohemian New York filmmaker who in 1952 culled his extensive 1920s record collection to produce THE ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC. His inspired album turned a generation (including a young and astounded Bob Dylan) on to American folk music. When you think about it, David Johansen, singer and founding member of the legendary, proto-punk New York Dolls, may be the perfect person to take up Harry Smith's moniker and mission. Each sat at the fore of the New York avant-garde, and both have mined overlooked aspects of American music, be it folk or cabaret. On DAVID JOHANSEN AND THE HARRY SMITHS, the singer moves through 13 cuts that would have fit well on Smith's classic collection. Beginning with a cover of Richard "Rabbit" Brown's "James Alley Blues" (which actually appeared on the ANTHOLOGY), Johansen takes on several other blues by the likes of Mississippi John Hurt and Muddy Waters, as well as traditional material such as "Oh Death" and "Delia." Brian Koonin and Larry Saltzman provide inspired guitar, mandolin, and banjo. New York's downtown jazz scene regulars Kermit Driscoll and Joey Baron contribute bass and drums, mining a deep Americana groove they previously explored with guitarist Bill Frisell. Together, the Harry Smiths create a vibe that is both controlled and dangerous, arranged yet raw. Johansen's characteristic growl is evident throughout, yet may be at its best on "Don't Start Me Talkin'," the Sonny Boy Williamson tune that he first cut on the Dolls' masterpiece TOO MUCH, TOO SOON. In the end, DAVID JOHANSEN AND THE HARRY SMITHS walks a fine line between highbrow art and musical authenticity -- Harry Smith knew what that was all about. Karl Hagstrom Miller

Product Details

Release Date: 03/28/2000
Label: Chesky Records
UPC: 0090368019622
catalogNumber: 196
Rank: 225875

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Johansen & the Harry Smiths   Primary Artist
David Johansen   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
Joey Baron   Percussion
Kermit Driscoll   Bass,Didjeridu
Brian Koonin   Guitar,Mandolin
Larry Saltzman   Banjo,Guitar

Technical Credits

Jim Jackson   Composer
Bob Dylan   Arranger
David Chesky   Producer
Sam Hopkins   Composer
Bernice Johnson Reagon   Composer
Richard Brown   Composer
Norman Chesky   Executive Producer
Brian Koonin   Producer
Hank Medress   Executive Producer
Sandy Palmer Grassi   Engineer
Lisa J. Marks   Legal Advisor
Kate Simon   Cover Photo
Lisa Hershfield   Artist Development
Barry Wolifson   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Nicholas Prout   Engineer

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