Sisters Of The South
This is an interesting album, there's a lot of stuff to mention so bear with me.
Starting with the label: Dixiefrog. "Dixie" stands for 'the old south' of the (now) United States of America, "Frog" is used to indicate a Frenchman. The label's based in France and the linernotes are in English and French. Dixiefrog has more roots music artists on offer.
Then it says "Music Maker" big on the front, this refers to the "Music Maker Relief Fund". The MMRF is a charity which "helps the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day to day needs." It's set up by a couple, Tim and Denise Duffy, who apart from offering aid also act as music-recorders, photograph-takers and performance-organizers.
Its title is "Sisters Of The South" with a sub-title "A Whole Life Of Blues". Considering some stuff on this blog you might think that this release is to educate the world about the fact that women played the blues too but fortunately, we're not considered that uninformed. It's about female artists though and there's some blues too. So the artists are 'old' (some even died between the recording and the release), all but one are pre-1950 but the recordings are 'new', at least less than 20 years old (from around 1995 seems most likely). That's not to say the music is new, it's very traditional. It's how the musicians play their songs at home, were taught them or used to play them when they performed at a younger age. Gospel, blues and folk (the boundaries here aren't well defined) mostly in a simple setting with just a guitar or piano accompaniment. Good southern gals have decent and proper inspiration of course, if they don't downright run a church themselves, but love and other naughtiness plays a part here too. There's not really a single aspect to catch everything, you probably get the larger picture but there are exceptions to every rule. Exception examples: artists are Afro-American women but also a Native-American and men can be heard too.
The CDs are 'enhanced' (AKA "CD+"), I had no problem playing them but my usual ripper program had trouble finding the audio tracks. The enhanced part is needed because both disks contain video of some of the artists. The videos are bonus; nice to watch but nothing particularly exceptional. The sleeve is a cardboard box which can fold out and contains a little information on the songs. The booklet is fairly short although not uninformative on text, it has a general introduction and every artist gets a page, and all the writing comes in English and French. A particular recommendation goes out to the photography: every artist has a beautiful picture, Tim Duffy and others have done a tremendous job there. It's for the few pictures that I browse the booklet, much less for the text.
See the Music Maker Relief Foundation site for many more CDs and information, the artists featured on this set can be found on other compilations or albums of their own. MMRF also has a "Sisters Of The South" release but that one's different from this set.
Sisters Of The South (97, 96, 17 MB)
(The extra archive contains the last 3 tracks of each CD)