Various Aimer et Perdre: To Love & To Lose Songs, 1917-1934

Various Aimer et Perdre: To Love & To Lose Songs, 1917-1934
NYC label Tomkins Square has become a leader in sonic archaeology, releasing stellar remastered packages of all manner of ultra-rare music over the last few years. Aimer et Perdre is no exception, gathering two-discs' worth of some of the earliest examples of songs describing love in all its stages that weren't composed by Tin Pan Alley hacks. Even though there's heavy ethnic diversity, with Cajun, Ukrainian and Polish representation, the themes still get across, which is what makes this collection so fascinating. As with Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music – the Rosetta Stone of 20th century music geekdom – this collection's compilers, Christopher King and Susan Archie, go to great lengths to present as broad a picture of available recordings at the time, not just (relatively) known blues and folk names such as the Carter Family, Dock Boggs and Richard "Rabbit" Brown. The point, as if it needs to be made, is that love transcends all borders, and bearing that in mind, Aimer et Perdre is another endlessly rewarding gem for old-time music aficionados of all stripes. The cover art by Robert Crumb is a nice touch too. (Tomkins Square)