These recordings are from back at a time when singers would be storytellers and tell the history of an event in musical story form. Most of these songs are about real life tragedies, such as the sinking of the titanic, the wide spread destruction of crops by the boll weevil, floods in Mississippi, plus various fires, explosions, droughts and more over the years.
Disc 1 features a "Man Vs. Machines" theme, disc 2 are all "Man Vs. Nature" themes and disc 3 is "Man Vs. Man" (aka "Murder" ballads).
Some of the songs are based on folklore, and perhaps tall tales, but most are true stories. Of particular interest to me are the murder ballads, and some of the lyrics should maybe even have a warning label of their own, as they may be a bit graphic for some ears. Also of interest is the 1929 version of "When The Levee Breaks" by Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie. There are also several great songs by Charley Patton, Clarence Ashley, Robert "Barbeque Bob" Hicks, Uncle Dave Macon, Ernest Stoneman, and many more.
On the whole, it's a wonderful collection of historical recordings packaged very well, but I docked it a star because I felt there were too many recordings about the Titanic on disc 1 and it seemed to get repetitive after awhile. For that reason I find myself playing disc 2 and 3 most of the time, as disc 1 just doesn't have the same replay value for me.
Still well worth getting for even 2 and a half discs worth of great material!