Anthology of American Folk Music – Harry Smith

October 10, 2007

I saw an amazing thing on Ovation last night on Harry Smith. He was quite a guy – many credit him with the folk music revival that many erroneously think was the first wave of folk – people like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs……Harry Smith was an artist and a filmmaker and of course a collector and compiler of American folk music – there is a new box set out of a bunch of modern new music types paying homage to the original Anthology – I have seen it at Borders and it was nice to get a sense of it by seeing and hearing what the musicians contributed. Anyway, Allen Ginsberg took Harry Smith in during Smith’s final years and Smith made a comeback and did even more amazing things and won a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys while he lived with Ginsberg – for about 4 years. The thing that I found the most fascinating was that the whole time that Allen Ginsberg was talking about Harry Smith he was crying….and I think of Ginsberg as having gone through a lot and being pretty world wise and such…..but he was just openly weeping about Harry….it was touching as hell!

Harry Smith