Tamara complained in this post that no one had clued her in to Dead Can Dance's music.
...here's an album that came out about the time I graduated from high school, yet not one person had the common courtesy to inform me of this band's existence for all these years. Selfish meanies, hoarding all the good tunes!
I gotcha beat, Tam. Howza bout a fingerpicking icon that died at 92, three years before I graduated high school, whom I had never heard of until this morning?
Elizabeth Cotten taught herself on the sly to play her brother's guitar while a little girl. This was made more impressive because she was left-handed, and couldn't restring his guitar to reverse the bass and treble strings. She played for her church some, married at 15 (not unusual in 1910), and gave up the guitar to rear a family. In the 1940s, she happened upon the musically famous Seeger family, and ended up becoming their maid. A decade later, she picked up the guitar again, and began to record at their encouragement.
The question is: should we mourn that she started playing again and recording after half her life was over, or should we appreciate what those decades did for the character of her voice and fingerpicking? I still have the joy of getting to hear most of her songs for the first time, yet. I just downloaded her Volume 3: When I'm Gone album, and will certainly be putting more into my music library. Her late-in-life recording of "Freight Train" is as soulful today as when she wrote it over 100 years ago. Greatness.
How do I define Greatness in an album?
I would have to say that it describes any album that I can listen straight-through again and again and again, without breaks. More on this, later, I think.