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The Dark Memories of the Working Class

Nat Allister
A review of "Momma Cry" by joro
Written February 2nd, 2017, 4:44 am by

Nat Allister FROM Fox & Beggar Theater Inc.

SongLadder Editor
I can't praise this song enough...and it reminds me how much I miss my years spent in the Americana, old time, and bluegrass scenes in Southern Appalachia. Joro has created a stirring and visceral ballad of American cotton pickers in the mid-50's, a brutal industry that I would argue has been mostly forgotten in our history, replaced with comedic and cartoonish ideas of "cotton-pickin'" this and "cotton-pickin'" that, whenever one needs to make fun of the South. But the industry employed a massive amount of itinerant, overworked families, and before them, slaves, dating all the way back to the 1700s. In "Momma Cry," the singer's father paints a picture of an abusive and absent father, an impoverished family, and the sounds of his mother crying at night. The song is performed on a superb blend of guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo, and led by a broken and gruff voice, reminding me of legendary mountain singer Ralph Stanley and possessing a strong feeling of authenticity. This song, to me, is perfect.

I would add "Momma Cry" to a playlist called

Hill Ballads

"Momma Cry" is reminiscent of well-known artists such as

Ralph Stanley, Townes Van Zandt

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