Various Alan Lomax Presents: The Martins and The Coys (Starring Woody Gu

With the renewed interest in Woody Guthrie coming courtesy of Wilco and Billy Bragg, this curio arrives out of nowhere to showcase yet another side of America's quintessential folk singer: the actor. Recorded for the BBC in 1944, The Martins and The Coys tells the tale of the legendary family feud, which is ultimately resolved when the young Alec Coy (Guthrie) and Ben Martin (Geoffrey Bryant) find themselves fighting the Nazis shoulder to shoulder. Guthrie has many choice lines, but the real interest lies in his handful of songs, including the rare "You Better Get Ready," "Nine Hundred Miles" and "All Of You Fascists Bound To Lose." Otherwise, the familiar narration of Burl Ives ties together a charming story of an idealised America at the height of wartime patriotic fervour. If one chooses not to stomach that, then there's always the rich collection of songs, which touches upon most of the common American folk themes, from "Buffalo Gals" to "On Top Of Old Smokey." The Martins and The Coys is a must for Woody Guthrie completists, but would also probably be appealing to anyone who enjoyed the Rheostatics' folk fable The Story Of Harmelodia. (Rounder)