The Folk Box: A Forgotten, Yet Unforgettable Album from The Folk Era

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In December 1999, a website popular among music fans, mudcat.org, featured a thread that encouraged speculation about “The Essential Folk Recordings.” Thread participants—including prominent promoters of folk music—agreed upon the lasting importance of three collections: Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, Alan Lomax’s field recordings, and Ralph Peer’s 1927 Bristol Sessions. Also mentioned by some participants were a few recent compilations, as well as certain albums from major folk and blues musicians. Many participants lamented the dearth of reissued folk music on compact disc from the back-catalog of Elektra Records, a company renowned for its contributions to the genre during the urban folk music revival. And one Elektra release, The Folk Box, received particular praise from a number of people fortunate enough to have heard it.