"Reissue of The Year: A must-hear story of aspiring native, immigrant and underclass voices given permanence for the first time. This soundtrack expands the film to a truly national chorale: Appalachian singers, Cajun dance bands, blues genies and Native American chanters and more. Want to hear America be great again? Drop the needle."

- David Fricke, Rolling Stone -

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American Epic:


The Collection

American Epic: The Collection gathers 100 of the greatest roots recordings from the 1920s and 1930s in one five-disc set. This award-winning box set compiled by film director Bernard MacMahon captures the extraordinary breadth of musical styles recorded during the first field recording sessions. Engineer Nicholas Bergh refined a transfer process using a mix of both modern and vintage equipment in order to extract the remarkable resolution from the records that is often missed, elevating them to unprecedented levels of sonic fidelity. This reverse engineering approach to the transfer process enabled the restoration team of Grammy Award-winning engineer Peter Henderson, Duke Erikson and Joel Tefteller to get the resulting audio closer to the original performance than ever before.

This is not "remastering," in the normal sense, but something closer to fine art restoration. The intent is not for people to marvel at the antiquity of these discs, but rather to experience them as vital, immediate performances that speak to us as directly as they did on the day they were recorded not simply great art for their time, but great art for all times. It includes a 100-page book filled with stunning unpublished photographs, quotes from the artists, their friends and families, lyrics for every song, essays and recording notes. Among the artists included are Mississippi John Hurt, The Carter Family, Charley Patton, Jimmie Rodgers, Lydia Mendoza, Nelstone's Hawaiians, Big Chief Henry's String Band, Robert Johnson and many others.


"A magnificent 100-track compendium, paralleling Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music but expanding on it, with a remastering I can only call profound. Performances you might think you knew sound as if you’ve never heard them before."

- Greil Marcus, The Village Voice -

"This comprehensive five-disc, 100-song treasury is one of the most important compilations of its kind ever released—perhaps since Harry Smith’s seminal Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952. It’s a marvelous history lesson, but even more, it’s a glimpse into the very heart of America, as emotionally relevant today as it was nearly a century ago."

- Blair Jackson, Acoustic Guitar -


Track Listing

Disc one: The Southeast

  1. The Coo-Coo Bird by Clarence Ashley
  2. On The Road Again by Memphis Jug Band
  3. The Panama Limited by Washington White
  4. Indian War Whoop by Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers
  5. ‘Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do (part 1) by Frank Stokes
  6. K. C. Railroad Blues by Andrew and Jim Baxter
  7. I Am Bound for the Promised Land by Alfred G. Karnes
  8. Cottonfield Blues (part 2) by Garfield Akers
  9. I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground by Bascom Lamar Lunsford
  10. Down On Penny's Farm by The Bentley Boys
  11. Foldin' Bed by Whistler's Jug Band
  12. Greenback Dollar by Weems String Band          
  13. Tallahatchie River Blues by Mattie Delaney
  14. Walk Right In by Cannon's Jug Stompers
  15. Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow by The Carter Family
  16. Old Dog Blue by Jim Jackson
  17. Bayou Teche by Columbus Fruge
  18. Cool Drink of Water Blues by Tommy Johnson
  19. Train On the Island by J. P. Nester


Disc two: Atlanta

  1. My Heart Keeps Singing by Elder J.E. Burch
  2. Ninety-Nine Year Blues by Julius Daniels
  3. I Get My Whiskey From Rockingham by Earl Johnson and His Clodhoppers
  4. Death's Black Train Is Coming by Rev. J. M. Gates
  5. Waiting for a Train by Jimmie Rodgers
  6. Darling, Where Have You Been So Long? by The Tenneva Ramblers
  7. Rocky Road by Alabama Sacred Harp Singers
  8. Ma Blond Est Partie by Amedée Breaux, Ophy Breaux & Cleoma Breaux
  9. Peg and Awl by Carolina Tar Heels
  10. Chocolate to the Bone by Barbecue Bob
  11. Down on Me by Eddie Head and Family
  12. Prenez Courage by Cléoma Breaux with Joseph Falcon and Ophy Breaux
  13. Pickin' Off Peanuts by Dilly and His Dill Pickles
  14. Just Because by Nelstone's Hawaiians
  15. Dupree Blues by Willie Walker
  16. Ladies On the Steamboat by Burnett and Rutherford
  17. Mamma, 'Tain't Long Fo' Day by Blind Willie McTell


Disc three: New York City

  1. Cecilia by Cuarteto Flores
  2. La Cocquetera by Los Borinquenos
  3. Coconito by Guty Cárdenas Y Lencho
  4. Lovesick Blues by Emmett Miller
  5. Long Tall Mama by Big Bill Broonzy
  6. John Henry Blues by Two Poor Boys
  7. Mr. Tom Hughes' Town by Lead Belly
  8. Louis Collins by Mississippi John Hurt
  9. I Am The Light of the World by Blind Gary Davis
  10. Fifty Miles of Elbow Room by Rev. F.W. McGee
  11. Chant of the Eagle Dance by Hopi Indian Chanters
  12. Hilo Hula (Hilo Hanakahi) by Mike Hanapi & The Ilima Islanders
  13. If the River was Whiskey by Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers
  14. Stackalee by Frank Hutchison
  15. The Wreck of the '97 by Ernest Stoneman
  16. Faded Coat of Blue by Buell Kazee
  17. Country Blues by Dock Boggs
  18. Sail Away Ladies by Uncle Dave Macon and His Fruit Jar Drinkers
  19. Sail Away Lady by Uncle Bunt Stephens
  20. Sallie Gooden by A.C. (Eck) Robertson
  21. Arkansas Traveller by Don Richardson

Disc four: The Midwest

  1. Hard Time Blues by Lane Hardin
  2. Down the Dirt Road Blues by Charley Patton
  3. Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home by Gus Cannon
  4. Hastings Street by Blind Blake and Charlie Spand
  5. See That My Grave’s Kept Clean by Blind Lemon Jefferson
  6. Gonna Have 'Lasses In the Morning by Golden Melody Boys
  7. New Orleans Stop Time by Bumble Bee Slim and Memphis Minnie
  8. Prove It On Me Blues by Ma Rainey
  9. I’m Gonna Die with My Hammer in My Hand by Williamson Brothers and Curry
  10. Last Kind Words Blues by Geeshie Wiley
  11. Banjoreno by Dixieland Jug Blowers
  12. It's a Good Thing by Beale Street Sheiks
  13. Trust in God and Do the Right by Blind Willie Davis
  14. Someday Baby Blues by Sleepy John Estes
  15. Lonesome Road Blues by Sam Collins
  16. Future Blues by Willie Brown
  17. Bull Doze Blues by Henry Thomas “Ragtime Texas”
  18. Brown Skin Gal (Down the Lane) by Massey Family
  19. Henry Lee by Dick Justice
  20. Old Country Rock by William Moore
  21. La Danseuse (The Dancer) by Delma Lachney and Blind Uncle Gaspard
  22. My Black Mama (parts 1 & 2) by Son House
  23. Cypress Grove Blues by Skip James


Disc five: The Deep South and the West

  1. Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson
  2. Mal Hombre by Lydia Mendoza
  3. Sunshine Special by Frenchy’s String Band
  4. Old Jim Kinnane's by Robert Wilkins
  5. Les Blues De Voyage (Travel Blues) by Amédé Ardoin and Dennis McGee
  6. The Lost Child by Stripling Brothers
  7. I'm Gonna Cross the River Jordan Some of These Days by Jaybird Coleman
  8. Tomi Tomi by The Aloha Serenaders Featuring Sol K. Bright
  9. Sittin’ on Top of the World by Mississippi Sheiks
  10. James Alley Blues by Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown
  11. The Indian Tom Tom by Big Chief Henry's Indian String Band
  12. Blues in a Bottle by Prince Albert Hunt's Texas Ramblers
  13. Je Me Suis En Alle by Berthmost Montet & Joswell Dupuis
  14. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground by Blind Willie Johnson
  15. E, Mama Ea by Sol Hoʻopiʻi and His Novelty Trio
  16. Ghost Dance by Truett And George
  17. Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind On Jesus) by Roosevelt Graves and Brother
  18. Allons à Lafayette by Joseph Falcon
  19. Corrido De Joaquin Murrieta (parts 1 & 2) by Los Madrugadores
  20. Denomination Blues (parts 1 & 2) by Washington Phillips