Happy Traum: American Stranger
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This collection brings together Happy Traum's second Kicking Mule album in an enhanced CD along with a separate DVD of Happy in a solo concert in 1981.
Here's what Eric Andersen said about American Stranger: "Haunted and ancient. That's how Golden Bird sounded the first time Happy sang it to me. Catskill Rip Van Winkle poetry. And true. Nothing strange there. A wizard's hand appeared from the dark wood. Diamonds that glitter and gold that shines. Catskill magic. The strings weave through the trees and out again into our ears. Remember when neighbors lived far away and people were seldom seen? Our ancestors in Appalachia and the Smokies? Dulcimers, fiddles, and psalteries were our only telephones then. They made us less lonely, for the mountains possessed us in the dark. No other music quite ever retrieved like mountain music the irretrievable like love or life lost forever. The strings and wood were rubbed with rue as well as joy. So be it. Happy is a hero. He had me singing gospel songs one crazy night. He took my head over the Blue Ridge on another. He had me dreaming to the strains of his concertina and when I woke up I was lying somewhere on a shore in England. He's a walking campfire. He's got the Instincts of a rock and roller; he's a master of the groove. And these songs were made to travel. There's one about a stranger sailing toward his string of broken hearts and another trail churning in his wake. There are buckets of moonbeams and a dark road East Texas blues, Irish melodies and a Bahamian murder ballad. A lot of these songs could have written themselves. And maybe they did. Some call it the greatest irony of all and some call It folk music. Remember the cowboy's love for his horse? Can you hear the wind whistling through the rigging of a 3-masted ship heading out of Liverpool to someplace distant and mysterious? Nothing strange there except that the singer Is an American. So tune your ears through the murmurings of the soil and the waterfalls of mountains and hear those fiddles play! I'm sure his music will strike a chord In your ancient soul."