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Roscoe Holcomb iTunes Tracks

Roscoe Holcomb

Born Roscoe Halcomb, September 5, 1912, in Daisy, Kentucky, this Appalachian-styled banjo-man/singer spent most of his time working as a farmhand and miner with no sense of ambition or aspirations until folk archivist and subsequent friend, John Cohen (who coined the phrase “high lonesome sound”) came knocking on his door in the late 50s.
Tackling traditionally sourced songs in a high-pitched, falsetto wail that could strip paint from five paces away, ROSCOE HOLCOMB epitomized everything that embraced the country-blues-folk genre. The people at Folkways were quick to realise the potential of Roscoe’s talent, finally releasing his recordings on several Various Artists LPs (including a joint effort with WADE WARD: THE MUSIC OF… (1962) {*5}), while two solo albums THE HIGH LONESOME SOUND (1965) {*7} and CLOSE TO HOME (1975) {*5} spanned a lengthy decade. Early tracks such as `Swanno Mountain’, `Across The Rocky Mountain’, the gutsy gutbucket instrumental `Knife Guitar’ and one of many a cappella, `I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow’, toasted the greatness and dexterity of the old-timer, a man idolised by ERIC CLAPTON along with The HANDSOME FAMILY. Squeezed somewhere in between the LPs and sitting next to PINK FLOYD, KALEIDOSCOPE, GRATEFUL DEAD, JOHN FAHEY, et al, HOLCOMB’s `I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again’ featured on the Zabriskie Point OST in 1970. Sadly, years of working with coal dust left its mark when Roscoe contracted asthma and emphysema. Having played a swansong gig in 1978, he passed away on February 1, 1981.
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Oct2016

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