Various Artists, ‘The Harry Smith Project: The Anthology of American Folk Music Revisited’ (Shout! Factory)
Screw the hipster DJs. The ultimate mix tape was the late beatnik historian Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, which masterfully corralled raw country and down-home blues obscurities. That glorious chunk of Americana was honored by four recent all-star concerts featured on this two-CD, two-DVD box set. Start with the originals, but savor the dramatic, gripping covers by venerable rock emissaries Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, and Elvis Costello, most of which trounce the earnest tributes rendered by their over-respectful, folkier peers (Richard Thompson, the McGarrigles, Bob Neuwirth).