February 22, 2020

Music of Appalachia | Michael Johnathon's WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour


The Music of Appalachia is the cornerstone of folk, bluegrass … even pop and rock music. From the hills and hollers of the mountains, the families and communities that played on their front porches, and then around the world … this music is both beautiful, powerful and haunting. Performances by the students of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University.

February 17, 2020

Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns


Country Music - Ken Burns from Fanny country girl on Vimeo.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Country Music is a documentary miniseries produced by Ken Burns and written by Dayton Duncan that premiered on PBS on September 15, 2019. The eight-part series chronicles the history and prominence of country music in American culture.[5][6]Burns announced the miniseries in January 2014, with a projected airdate in 2018. Burns cited his ongoing work on other documentary projects as having affected progress on the series. Writer Dayton Duncan explained that the goal of the series was to demonstrate that country music "isn't and never was just one type of music. It was always this amalgam of American music and it sprang from a lot of very different roots and then, as it grew, it sprouted many different branches, but they're all connected." Burns filmed a total of 175 hours of interviews with 101 artists and other personalities for the series; some were recorded as early as 2012, and some of the interviewees (such as Little Jimmy Dickens, Roy Clark, Ralph Stanley, and Merle Haggard) died over the course of production. (Read more...)

February 1, 2020

Dock Boggs: Legendary Singer & Banjo Player

Folkways Records FA 2351

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1964
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Appalachian Music, Country Blues
[Tracklist]
A1 Down South Blues (2:11)
A2 Country Blues (3:55)
A3 Pretty Polly (2:56)
A4 Coal Creek March (1:57)
A5 My Old Horse Died (1:48)
A6 Wild Bill Jones (2:14)
A7 Rowan Country Crew (6:15)
A8 New Prisoner's Song (2:57)
B1 Oh Death (3:22)
B2 Prodigal Son (3:57)
B3 Mother's Advice (3:43)
B4 Drunkard's Lone Child (4:10)
B5 Bright Sunny South (3:41)
B6 Mistreated Mama Blues (1:55)
B7 Harvey Logan (3:33)
[Credits]
Dock Boggs (banjo/vocals)
Recorder and Editor: Mike Seeger, Liner Notes: Ralph Rinzler, Designer: A. Doyle Moore, Photographer: Dan Seeger
[Notes]
Moran Lee "Dock" Boggs (1898–1971) was an old-time singer, songwriter and banjo player. His unique style of singing and banjo playing combined elements of Appalachian folk music and African-American blues. A self-taught musician, Dock recorded about eights sides of music between 1927 and 1929. The Great Depression and domestic issues sidelined his musical career until he was "rediscovered" by Mike Seeger (The New Lost City Ramblers) and encouraged to perform at the American Folk Festival in Asheville, NC in 1963. This release contains several songs from that Festival including "Oh Death" and "Country Blues," a song he had originally recorded in the 1920s.

January 26, 2020

Lucinda Williams: West

Lost Highway B0006938-02

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2007
Genre: Rock, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country Rock
[Tracklist]
01 Are You Alright? (5:18)
02 Mama You Sweet (4:44)
03 Learning How To Live (5:11)
04 Fancy Funeral (4:14)
05 Unsuffer Me (5:40)
06 Everything Has Changed (3:38)
07 Come On (4:53)
08 Where Is My Love? (5:22)
09 Rescue (5:34)
10 What If (5:41)
11 Wrap My Head Around That (9:06)
12 Words (3:32)
13 West (5:44)
[Credits]
Lucinda Williams (guitar/vocals) Bill Frisell, Doug Pettibone (guitar) Jenny Scheinman (violin) Rob Brophy (viola) Tim Loo (cello) Tony Garnier (bass) Jim Keltner (drums/percussion) Rob Burger (piano/organ/accordion)
Producer: Tom Overby and Hal Willner, Photographer: Margaret Malandruccolo, Annie Leibovitz and Alan Messer, Designer: Karen Naff
[Notes]
The title of West reflects the change in Lucinda Williams' life as she moved to Los Angeles. It also reflects what had been left behind. Williams is nothing if not a purely confessional songwriter. She continually walks in the shadowlands to bring out what is both most personal yet universal in her work, to communicate to listeners directly and without compromise. If Essence and World Without Tears took chances and stated different sides of the songwriter and her world, West jumps off the ledge into the sky of freedom, where anything can be said without worry of consequence and where anything can be said in any way she wishes. It's entirely appropriate that West was released on the day before Valentine's Day 2007, for it's a record about the heart, about its volumes of brokenness, about its acceptance of its state, and how, with the scars still visible to the bearer, it opens wider and becomes the font of love itself. But the journey is a dark one. First there's the music and the production. Williams chose Hal Willner to produce West. Williams, who'd been writing a lot, demoed some songs before she brought in Willner. He stripped down the demos but kept the scratch vocals. From there, the pair created the rest of the album together, never re-recording Williams' initial vocals. The vocals were accompanied by her guitar playing; Willner wanted her inherent phrasing and rhythmic flow. Willner also brought his own crew to play with Williams. This collaboration -- as unlikely as it might seem on the surface -- results in something utterly different and yet unmistakably Lucinda Williams. West is a warm, inviting, yet very dark record about grief, the loss of love, anger at a lover who cannot deliver, and embracing the possibility of change. In other words, it's not without its redemptive moments. Williams has put all of her qualities on display at once with an unbridled and unbowed sense of adventure here on her eighth album. She, her bandmates, and Willner have come up with exactly what pop music needs: a real work of art based in contemporary forms and feelings. West is an album that will no doubt attract more than a few new fans, and will give old ones, if they are open enough, a recording to relish. -- AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

January 24, 2020

Hot Blast: Contemporary Songs Written and Sung by Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl

Folkways Records FW 8710

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country: US
Released: 1978
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Blast Against Blackguards (4:09)
A2 The Tenant Farmer (3:35)
A3 The Pay-Up Song (5:01)
A4 Emily (5:38)
A5 Cut Price Hero (3:15)
A6 You And I (3:05)
A7 Legal Illegal (4:13)
B1 The Invader (5:27)
B2 The Father's Song (2:23)
B3 White Wind (18:37)
[Credits]
Peggy Seeger (concertina/guitar/vocals) Ewan MacColl (vocals) Bruce Turner (clarinet) Calum MacColl (guitar/psaltery/dulcimer/bongos/tin whistle/kalimba/backing vocals) Neil MacColl (guitar/mandolin/backing vocals) Jim Carroll, Kirsty MacColl, Pat MacKenzie (backing vocals)
Photographer: Walker Evans, Designer: Ronald Clyne, Engineer: Stephen Hardy
[Notes]
Political themes run powerfully through this 1978 recording, written and performed by husband and wife Ewan MacColl (1915–1989) and Peggy Seeger (b. 1935). Songs cover apartheid, domestic abuse, and worker's rights. MacColl and Seeger point out that writing and singing political songs is an age-old tradition, and they hope that the songs on this album will be useful weapons in the arsenal of those who are "against the brutal exploitation of the working-class, against the senseless waste of human and natural resources and against the pernicious disease of racism." Liner notes include song lyrics for each of the tracks.

January 20, 2020

The Phipps Family: Faith, Love and Tragedy

Folkways Records FA 2375

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1965
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk, Country, Hillbilly
[Tracklist]
A1 Just Another Broken Heart (2:35)
A2 Away Over In The Promised Land (2:17)
A3 The Great Titanic (3:46)
A4 Forsaken Lover (2:28)
A5 The Red Jacket Mine Explosion (4:02)
A6 I Never Will Marry (2:31)
A7 Gonna Row My Boat (1:56)
B1 The Old Pine Tree (3:05)
B2 The Merry Golden Tree (3:05)
B3 The Unclouded Day (3:26)
B4 Charles Guiteau (2:29)
B5 My Home Among The Hills (2:25)
B6 Pearl Bryan (3:39
[Credits]
A.L.Phipps (guitar/vocals) Kathleen Phipps (autoharp/vocals) Helen Phipps (autoharp/vocals) Leemon Phipps (guitar/vocals)
Recorder and Producer: Ralph Rinzler, Sleeve Notes:Bill Vernon, Designer: Ronald Clyne, Photographer: Jim Marshall
[Notes]
Influenced by the legendary Carter Family, the Phipps Family was known for its personal yet deeply traditional style. This album includes ballads, traditional hymns, and two originals: Kathleen's "Forsaken Lover" and A. L.'s "The Red Jacket Mine Explosion."

January 18, 2020

Hermes Nye: Anglo-American Ballads

Folkways Records FA 2037

Format: Vinyl, 10", Album
Country: US
Released: 1952
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
[Tracklist]
A1 Tomorrow Is St. Valentine's Day (1:20)
A2 A North Country Maid (1:38)
A3 King Arthur Had Three Sons (2:01)
A4 Earl Richard (2:39)
A5 Greenland Fishery (1:50)
A6 Earl Of Murray (1:22)
B1 John Peel (2:18)
B2 The Mermaid (2:44)
B3 The Red Herring (2:05)
B4 The Bailiff's Daughter Of Islington (3:49)
[Credits]
Hermes Nye (guitar/vocals)
Artwork: David Stone Martin
[Notes]
Sung on record and described in liner notes with Hermes Nye's characteristic down-home humor, Anglo-American ballads on this album come from a variety of sources, from an Elizabethan torch song in Shakespeare's Hamlet to a version of "John Peel" taken from a Girl Scout songbook!

January 15, 2020

Keith Whitley: Don't Close Your Eyes

RCA 6494-2-R

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 1988
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country
[Tracklist]
01 Flying Colors (3:35)
02 It's All Coming Back To Me Now (2:45)
03 Lucky Dog (2:00)
04 Don't Close Your Eyes (4:09)
06 Some Old Side Road (3:25)
07 Would These Arms Be In Your Way (3:10)
08 I'm No Stranger To The Rain (3:33)
09 I Never Go Around Mirrors (4:24)
10 When You Say Nothing At All (3:40)
11 A Day In The Life Of A Fool (3:37)
12 Honky Tonk Heart (3:04)
[Credits]
Keith Whitley (guitar/vocals) Allen Frizzell, Curtis Young, Dennis Wilson , Emmylou Harris, Garth Fundis and Vern Gosdin (chorus) Mac McAnally, Red Lane, Billy Sanford and Brent Rowan (guitar) Dave Pomeroy and Larry Paxton (bass) Eddie Bayers and Jerry Kroon (drums) Rob Hajacos (fiddle) Mitch Humphries (keyboards) Matt Rollings (piano) Mike Lawler (synthesizer) Sonny Garrish (steel guitar) Paul Franklin (pedalboard)
[Notes]
Don't You Close Your Eyes was more successful than Keith Whitley's two previous albums and it's easy to see why. Though the record still suffered from a handful of mediocre songs and a slightly soft production, the overall album was leaner and more direct than Whitley's earlier solo work, showcasing his talent for heartfelt honky tonk singing and his skill for crafting excellent barroom ballads. "Don't Close Your Eyes," "When You Say Nothing At All," and "I'm No Stranger to the Rain" were the hits, but there's a wealth of excellent material here, including a haunting version of Lefty Frizzell's "I Never Go Around Mirrors." The sheer strength of the best numbers make the handful of weaker songs perfectly excusable. After all, country in the late '80s rarely got better than Don't You Close Your Eyes at its best. -- AllMusic Review by Thom Owens

January 10, 2020

Lucinda Williams: Ramblin'

Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40042

Format: CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered
Country: USA & Canada
Released: 2005
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk, Country Blues
[Tracklist]
01 Ramblin' On My Mind (2:30)
02 Me And My Chauffeur (3:12)
03 Motherless Children (3:31)
04 Malted Milk Blues (2:29)
05 Disgusted (2:28)
06 Jug Band Music (2:22)
07 Stop Breakin' Down (3:20)
08 Drop Down Daddy (3:23)
09 Little Darling Pal Of Mine (2:59)
10 Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor (3:50)
11 Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (3:05)
12 Great Speckled Bird (2:55)
13 You're Gonna Need That Pure Religion (3:07)
14 Satisfied Mind (4:06)
[Credits]
Lucinda Williams (12-string guitar/vocals) John Grimaudo (guitar)
Producer: Tom Royals, Liner Notes: John Morthland, Designer: Carol Hardy, Engineer: Gerald "Wolf" Stephenson, Malcolm Addey and Matt Walters
[Notes]
Recorded at Malaco Studios, Jackson, MS, Sept. 1978. The first recordings from an artist with a gift for interpreting original blues from Robert Johnson to Memphis Minnie to The Carter Family. Williams’s unmistakable sound is powerfully direct and filled with melancholy and passion. 43 minutes. "The quintessential recording of Lucinda Williams.... An unbelievably soulful...vocalist." — Montana State University Exponent "The quintessential recording of Lucinda Williams.... An unbelievably soulful...vocalist."-- Montana State University Exponent

January 4, 2020

Roscoe Holcomb: An Untamed Sense of Control

Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40144

Format: CD, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 2003
Genre: Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Appalachian Music, Country Blues
[Credits]
01 Swanno Mountain (3:18)
02 Across The Rocky Mountain (5:23)
03 Graveyard Blues (3:01)
04 Single Girl (3:02)
05 Little Maggie (3:02)
06 Born And Raised In Covington (2:16)
07 Barbara Allen Blues (1:30)
08 Coal Creek (1:31)
09 Rock Island Prison (1:35)
10 I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow (3:00)
11 Combs Hotel Burned Down (2:32)
12 The Hills Of Mexico (2:33)
13 Knife Guitar (1:17)
14 Mississippi Heavy Water Blues (2:16)
15 Coney Isle (1:51)
16 Train That Carried My Girl From Town (2:02)
17 Milk Cow Blues (2:08)
18 Black Eye Susie (1:15)
19 Darling Cory (3:40)
20 I Ain't Got No Sugar Baby Now (2:50)
21 Sitting On Top Of This World (2:42)
22 Frankie And Johnnie (5:11)
23 Foggy Mountain Top (1:52)
24 Fair Miss In The Garden (3:53)
25 Willow Garden (3:27)
26 True Love (6:24)
[Credits]
Roscoe Holcomb (banjo/guitar/harmonica/fiddle/vocals)
Recorder, Producer, Liner Notes and Photographer: John Cohen
[Notes]
Compiled from three Folkways albums: "Music of Roscoe Holcomb" (FA 2363, 1961) recorded at Sanders Recording Studio, 46th St. and Times Square, New York City; "The High Lonesome Sound" (FA 2368, 1964) recorded at Steinway Hall, New York City; and "Close To Home" (FA 2374, 1972) recorded on Roscoe's front porch, Daisy, Kentucky. Additional recordings taken from a concert performance in Cambridge, Mass. in 1973.

January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

May this year be the one in which all your wishes and desires come true.

December 31, 2019

Sing for Freedom: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement Through Its Songs

Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40032

Format: CD, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 1990
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Foll, Protest
[Tracklist]
01 We are Soldiers in the Army: The Montgomery Improvement Association (2:31)
02 Keep Your Hand on the Plow: The Montgomery Improvement Association (2:11)
03 This Little Light of Mine: The Montgomery Improvement Association (2:12)
04 You Better Leave Segregation Alone: The Nashville Quartet (0:39)
05 Your Dog Loves My Dog: The Nashville Quartet (1:59)
06 Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round: The Freedom Singers (2:30)
07 I Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Freedom: Ben Gay (3:37)
08 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Charles Jones and Cordell Reagon (1:46)
09 Oh Pritchett, Oh Kelly: Bertha Gober, Rutha Harris, Charles Sherrod, and Jamie Culbreath (2:27)
10 Up Above My Head: Betty Mae Fikes (1:02)
11 This Little Light of Mine: The Freedom Singers (3:46)
12 Brown Baby: Cordell Hull Reagon (1:53)
13 Which Side are You On?: The Freedom Singers (3:46)
14 I'm Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table: Hollis Watkins (1:53)
15 Mass Meeting and Prayer: Hollis Watkins (3:53)
16 Guide My Feet: Dock Reese (2:06)
17 I'm on My Way: Mamie Brown and Carlton Reece (3:41)
18 Rev. Ralph Abernathy: Ralph Abernathy (1:31)
19 Yes We Want Our Freedom: Cleo Kennedy and Carlton Reece (2:23)
20 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Martin Luther King, Jr. (3:41)
21 Ninety-Nine and a Half Won't Do: Carlton Reese (2:15)
22 Get on Board: Fannie Lou Hamer and Robert Parris Moses (4:53)
23 No Danger in the Water: Robert Parris Moses (1:23)
24 Medgar Evers Speaking: Medgar Wiley Evers (1:10)
25 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: Robert Parris Moses (1:10)
26 We Shall Overcome: The Freedom Singers (2:42)
[Credits]
Liner Notes: Candie Carawan and Guy Carawan, Designer: Nancy Jean Anderson
[Notes]
Hymns, speeches, spirituals, gospel songs, and prayers...a moving civil rights collection drawn from 1960s field recordings in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The compilation captures the irrepressible spirit of that era and reveals a determined and triumphant African American culture. A collection of glorious songs and heartstopping selections by The SNCC Freedom Singers, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and others. "...[T]here is wonderful singing here, great conviction, and the immediacy of living truth...powerful documentation of the most important social movement of our time." — Sing Out!

November 30, 2019

Mary Lou Williams

Folkways Records FS 32843

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country: US
Released: 1964
Genre: Jazz
Style: Bop, Soul-Jazz, Gospel, Modal
[Tracklist]
A1 Black Christ Of The Andes (6:23)
A2 It Ain't Necessarily So (4:35)
A3 The Devil (3:55)
A4 Miss D. D. (2:25)
A5 Anima Christi (2:43)
B1 A Grand Nite For Swinging (2:54)
B2 My Blue Heaven (3:02)
B3 Dirge Blues (3:21)
B4 A Fungus Amungus (2:48)
B5 Praise The Lord (5:47)
[Credits]
Mary Lou Williams (piano)
Artwork: David Stone Martin, Liner Notes: Gerrard Pochonet, Engineer: Tommy Nola
[Notes]
Composer, arranger, and pianist Mary Lou Williams' musical career reflected the history of American jazz from the late 1920s through the 1970s. Described by Duke Ellington as being "beyond category," Williams was conversant in jazz styles ranging from stride through swing and be-bop to the avant-garde, yet her music was always rooted in spirituals and the blues. This self-produced recording, originally recorded in 1962 and 1963, contains a mix of standards and originals including four original compositions reflecting her devout interest in religious music.

November 29, 2019

Earl Scruggs and the 5-String Banjo

Revised and Enhanced Edition by Earl Scruggs

# Publisher: Hal Leonard; Pap/Com edition (August 1, 2005)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0634060422
# ISBN-13: 978-0634060427

The best-selling banjo method in the world! Earl Scruggs's legendary method has helped thousands of banjo players get their start. The "Revised and Enhanced Edition" features more songs, updated lessons, and many other improvements. It includes everything you need to know to start playing banjo, including: a history of the 5-string banjo, getting acquainted with the banjo, Scruggs tuners, how to read music, chords, how to read tablature, right-hand rolls and left-hand techniques, banjo tunings, exercises in picking, over 40 songs, how to build a banjo, autobiographical notes, and much more! The book/audio version includes recordings of Earl Scruggs playing and explaining over 60 examples! Audio is accessed online using the unique code inside the book and can be streamed or downloaded. The audio files include PLAYBACK+, a multi-functional audio player that allows you to slow down audio without changing pitch, set loop points, change keys, and pan left or right.

November 21, 2019

Old-Time Fiddle: For the Complete Ignoramus

Wayne Erbsen (Author)

Spiral-bound: 80 pages
# Publisher: Native Ground Books & Music (September 2005)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1883206480
# ISBN-13: 978-1883206482

Wayne Erbsen's 35 years of teaching experience shows on every page. He takes the reader through every step of adjusting, tuning, holding, and playing the fiddle. 37 tunes are written out in Wayne's own unique and easy-to-use tab system and standard notation. Fiddle instruction has never been any simpler, clearer, or more humorous. This book will teach absolutely anyone to play the fiddle. Instructional CD included. You WILL learn to play: Amazing Grace, Blackest Crow, Buffalo Gals, Charley He s a Good Old Man, Cluck Old Hen, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Cripple Creek, Cumberland Mountain Deer Chase, Darling Corey, Don t Let Your Deal Go Down, East Virginia, Groundhog, House of the Rising Sun, Ida Red, In the Pines, It Ain t Gonna Grain no Mo , Joy to the World, Little Birdie, Liza Poor Gal, Lynchburg Town, Muley s Daughter, Old Joe Clark, Old Molly Hare, Polly Put the Kettle On, Rain and Snow, Red River Valley, Run Johnny Run, Rye Whiskey, Sail Away Ladies, Say Darling Say, Shortening Bread, Sugar Hill, Wagoner s Lad, Wildwood Flower, Willie Moore.

November 20, 2019

Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp A Butterfly

Top Dawg Entertainment B0022958-02

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 2015
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: Conscious, Jazzy Hip-Hop
[Tracklist]
01 Wesley's Theory (4:47)
02 For Free? (Interlude) (2:10)
03 King Kunta (3:54)
04 Institutionalized (4:31)
05 These Walls (5:00)
06 U (4:28)
07 Alright (3:39)
08 For Sale? (Interlude) (4:51)
09 Momma (4:43)
10 Hood Politics (4:52)
11 How Much A Dollar Cost (4:21)
12 Complexion (A Zulu Love) (4:23)
13 The Blacker The Berry (5:28)
14 You Ain't Gotta Lie (Momma Said) (4:01)
15 I (5:36)
16 Mortal Man (12:07)
[Credits]
Kendrick Lamar (vocals)
[Notes]
Becoming an adult ultimately means accepting one's imperfections, unimportance, and mortality, but that doesn't mean we stop striving for the ideal, a search that's so at the center of our very being that our greatest works of art celebrate it, and often amplify it. Anguish and despair rightfully earn more Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, and Pulitzer Prizes than sweetness and light ever do, but West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar is already on elevated masterwork number two, so expect his version of the sobering truth to sound like a party at points. He's aware, as Bilal sings here, that "Shit don't change 'til you get up and wash your ass," and don't it feel good? The sentiment is universal, but the viewpoint on his second LP is inner-city and African-American, as radio regulars like the Isley Brothers (sampled to perfection during the key track "I"), George Clinton (who helps make "Wesley's Theory" a cross between "Atomic Dog" and Dante's Inferno), and Dr. Dre (who literally phones his appearance in) put the listener in Lamar's era of Compton, just as well as Lou Reed took us to New York and Brecht took us to Weimar Republic Berlin. These G-funky moments are incredibly seductive, which helps usher the listener through the album's 80-minute runtime, plus its constant mutating (Pharrell productions, spoken word, soul power anthems, and sound collages all fly by, with few tracks ending as they began), much of it influenced, and sometimes assisted by, producer Flying Lotus and his frequent collaborator Thundercat. "u" sounds like an MP3 collection deteriorating, while the broken beat of the brilliant "Momma" will challenge the listener's balance, and yet, Lamar is such a prodigiously talented and seductive artist, his wit, wisdom, and wordplay knock all these stray molecules into place. Survivor's guilt, realizing one's destiny, and a Snoop Dogg performance of Doggystyle caliber are woven among it all; plus, highlights offer that Parliament-Funkadelic-styled subversion, as "The Blacker the Berry" ("The sweeter the juice") offers revolutionary slogans and dips for the hip. Free your mind, and your ass will follow, and at the end of this beautiful black berry, there's a miraculous "talk" between Kendrick and the legendary 2Pac, as the brutalist trailblazer mentors this profound populist. To Pimp a Butterfly is as dark, intense, complicated, and violent as Picasso's Guernica, and should hold the same importance for its genre and the same beauty for its intended audience. -- AllMusic Review by David Jeffries