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Hi folks:

I'm glad to see all the praise for Dick's work, but I don't think it's 
necessary to diss the Harry Smith AAFM in consequence. They're two very 
different things. The Smith anthology came out just as the folk revival 
of the 1950s was gathering steam, and was a very important source for 
many of the participants. It got 78s back in print and in front of the 
ears of performers and listeners at a time when only a few collectors 
could hear them. It may be flawed, but it has an important place in our 
musical history. (And the records weren't a random selection; they were 
carefully chosen and sequenced. Smith's criteria were eccentric and 
esoteric, but he was very definite about using particular recordings in 
a particular order.)

The Spottswood series is incredibly valuable, and a brilliant survey of 
the variety of our music. It's not as obviously accessible as the Harry 
Smith, and it came out as the second revival (of the early 1970s) was 
beginning to lose steam, so it didn't have the impact that the Harry 
Smith had. Tremendous music, and a brilliantly done job on the notes, 
but mosts of the discs work better if you know something about the field 
already; they don't have the popularization function that the Harry 
Smith had. Like I said, two very different things, from two very 
different eras.

Peace,
Paul