Guest playlist: Amanda Petrusich

This afternoon’s playlist comes from Amanda Petrusich, a staff writer for Pitchfork and senior contributing editor for Paste. Her books include It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music and Pink Moon (33 1/3 series). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Spin, the Village Voice, the Onion A.V. Club, the Oxford American, ReadyMade,,, and elsewhere. She compiles the weekly pop listings for the Times. She’s currently at work on a book about record collectors, as will probably be plain by her selections below. Follow her on Twitter at @amandapetrusich.


In the summer of 1952, the filmmaker and ethnomusicologist Harry Smith holed up in a little two-room office at 111 West 47th Street, (allegedly) chewing on peyote buttons and digging through his massive collection of 78rpm records to compile the mind-bending Anthology of American Folk Music for Folkways. Although it’s not comprised of New York songs (the tracks he chose are predominantly — although not exclusively — spooky southern screeds), the Anthology was born in midtown Manhattan, and it provides the perfect soundtrack to a blistering New York summer (the sizzle of a 78 might still be the hottest sound around). Here are my five favorite cracklers:

1. “Frankie,” Mississippi John Hurt

2. “John the Revelator,” Blind Willie Johnson

3. “Minglewood Blues,” Cannon’s Jug Stompers

4. “Old Lady and the Devil,” Bill and Belle Reed

5. “Judgement,” Sister Mary Nelson

[Ed. note: We’ve provided the links; here’s another re: Harry Smith himself.]

What’s on your NYC playlist?

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