Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Elizabeth Cotten In Concert 1969 1978 1980|
Actor: Elizabeth Cotten
Director: Elizabeth Cotten
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Freight Train will be a century old in the year 2005. Its author didn't quite live to become a centenarian herself, though she did win a Grammy (Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording for Elizabeth Cotten Live) when she... more »
"Freight Train" Coming Home
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 01/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Most of the points that I made in a previous review, the first paragraph of which is reposted below, of Elizabeth Cotton's CD album for Folkways apply here as well.
"There is something about these North Carolina style guitar pickers that is very appealing. And here I am thinking not only of the artist under review, the legendary Elizabeth Cotton, but also another female picker extraordinaire Etta Baker, as well. It is different from the Delta pick, for sure. They pick cleanly, simply but with verve. Ms. Cotton shows her stuff here on her first album from Folkways. Here we have the folk classic, no super-classic, "Freight Train" that was a rite of passage for every one from Peter, Paul and Mary to Dave Van Ronk to Tom Rush to record in the early 1960's. Along with that tune we have some nice renditions of "I Don't Love Nobody" and a few medleys like "Sweet Bye and Bye" combined with "What A Friend You Have in Jesus" (that I believe Blind Willie Johnson first recorded, or variation of it at least). Listen away but also save your money up to get the album with "Shake Sugaree'' (get the one with her granddaughter singing along) on it. That's the ticket."
The same can be said here of Ms. Cotton's work as Stefan Grossman, who has produced several other videos featuring legendary country blues singers and instrumentalists, grouped together several concerts and/or interviews that Ms. Cotton gave in 1969, 1975 and 1980. Moreover, this subtly engaging and seemingly modest performer is fairly forthcoming in describing her long struggle to become one of the great guitarists, male or female, of this genre. Parts of this presentation are slow, parts are repetitious (especially in the use of the song "Freight Train") but overall one can learn quite a bit about folk history from it. Or about guitar playing for those so inclined. Moreover, at the end of the last concert where she does a little different rendition of "Shake, Sugaree" with verve is worth the price of admission all by itself.