Roots of Fiddle Symposium

Red Clay Ramblers (Chapel Hill Stars Calendar)

Red Clay Ramblers from the Chapel Hill Stars Calendar (Dave Robert Papers, 20504)

A Roots of Fiddle Symposium starts tonight at Nightlight featuring a number of friends of the Southern Folklife Collection. The symposium features three nights (over 4 days) of old time fiddle music at the Nightlight organized by folklorist Cece Conway. We’re excited to be able to enjoy and learn from so many excellent musicians in 3 stacked shows. The final night features CRAVER HICKS WATSON & NEWBERRY who are 3 former RED CLAY RAMBLERS (piano player Mike Craver, fiddler Bill Hicks, Jim Watson on mandolin) and award winning songwriter Joe Newberry on banjo. We pulled some items from the Dave Robert Papers (20504) in honor of this rare event. Dave Robert was the owner of the Cats Cradle when it existed at 405 1/2 West Rosemary, the current location of Nightlight. As the Ramblers were something of a house band at that venue, the symposium is an opportunity for a welcome homecoming celebration.

Above is the Red Clay Ramblers page from a unique calendar of “Chapel Hill Stars” (Red Clay Ramblers were February, in case you are curious).  We also found this monthly calendar from the Cradle, which shows the Ramblers playing at the venue virtually the same days almost 40 years ago. (Also check out that four night run of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee! WOW!).  Details on the Roots of Fiddle Symposium are below.

September Cat's Cradle PosterThursday, September 21
7:30-8:45 round robin featuring: JON NEWLIN, PETER WHITE, JOSEPH DECOSIMO, BOB HERRING, CARY MOSKOVITZ, ANDREW SMALL, and ASHLEE WATKINS

8:45-10:30 ANDREW SMALL and ASHLEE WATKINS with BOB HERRING – Presenting a range of traditional dance music from North Carolina and Virginia, mountain ballads, and early country songs, the New Macedon Rangers offer a fresh and compelling take on classic repertoire. The duo, comprised of Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small, taps into the essence of traditional mountain music while also moving the tradition forward with original songs and instrumentals. Performances feature stirring vocal harmonies accompanied by driving fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and guitars.

Friday, September 22
7:30-9:30 – round robin featuring JOSEPH DECOSIMO, PETER WHITE, BOB HERRING, CARY MOSKOVITZ, JAKE BLOUNT, and TATIANA HARGREAVES.

9:30-10:30 fiddle and banjo duo TATIANA HARGREAVES & JAKE BLOUNT. Their “Reparations” CD presents tunes from Black and Native American communities as stripped-down duets for banjo, fiddle, and voice. In 2016, Jake became the first African American to win in the traditional band category at Clifftop, WV and in 2009, Tatiana was the second woman to win the Clifftop Fiddle contest.

Sunday, September 24
We’ll start with a round robin of fiddlers:
7:00-7:20 – PETER WHITE – “Native American Roots & Spanish Influences on Fiddle.” Peter teaches fiddle making at the University of New Mexico. In 1989 in Albuquerque, Peter’s fiddle shop had a shrine to NEA Heritage Fiddler Tommy Jarrell. He has a fascinating theory that New Mexico Native Americans, taught by Jesuits, may have been the first makers and players of the fiddle in this country.

7:20-7:30 – JON NEWLIN

7:30-8:10 – fiddle and banjo duo TATIANA HARGREAVES & JAKE BLOUNT. Their “Reparations” CD presents tunes from Black and Native American communities as stripped-down duets for banjo, fiddle, and voice. In 2016, Jake became the first African American to win in the traditional band category at Clifftop, WV and in 2009, Tatiana was the second woman to win the Clifftop Fiddle contest.
plus: CARY MOSKOVITZ and FIDDLIN’ AL McCANLESS !!!

8:30-10:00 – CRAVER HICKS WATSON & NEWBERRY featuring 3 original members of the RED CLAY RAMBLERS (piano player Mike Craver, fiddler Bill Hicks, Jim Watson on mandolin) and award winning songwriter Joe Newberry on banjo!!! Do not miss!!!

Record of the Week – Hopscotch Edition: Charles Rouse’s “Two is One”

Before I head off to see Run the Jewels and Kaytranada this evening at Raleigh’s Hopscotch Music Festival, we at the SFC thought we’d mark the occasion by sharing an aptly-titled tune from another funk disciple – Charles Rouse’s “Hopscotch” from his 1974 album Two is One (FC-24141). “Hopscotch” has its own link to hip-hop history in its brief appearance in the Beastie Boys’ “B-Boys Makin With the Freak Freak” from their 1994 classic Ill Communication. 

Check it out here –

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Complete Keynote Collection, Record 5- Charlie Shavers Quintet featuring Earl Hines

Despite what the name might suggest, holdings in the Southern Folklife Collection span the globe, including Japanese imports like today’s featured record (FC-21963). This the fifth volume of a rare Japanese 21-record box set released on Nippon Phonogram in 1986. The set compiles all of the jazz ever recorded for the Manhattan-based Keynote label, spanning from 1941 to 1947. This LP presents the recordings of the Charlie Shavers Quintet featuring Earl “Fatha” Hines, one of the most influential jazz pianists of his time. Among the recordings are three takes of the tune “Rosetta,” a Hines original.

Presented here is a portion of the second take, featuring portions of both Hines’ and Shavers’ solos

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Brownie McGhee – Blues

Brownie McGhee was a Tennessee-born bluesman (and very briefly an off-broadway actor) who recorded his fingerpicked delta-blues for hallowed labels such as Okeh and Savoy from the early 40’s all the way until his death in 1996. His second album Blues (FC-5898), was released on the short-lived 10-inch, 33 1/3 rpm album format by Folkways Recordings in 1955, and was accompanied by notes written by early influential jazz critic Charles Edward Smith and art by the prolific David Stone Martin

Here’s a snippet from the song “Me and Sonny,” referring to McGhee’s frequent collaborator and North Carolina native Sonny Terry —

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12″ transcription disc of the Week – Novelty Inst. Group’s “Oklahoma Stomp”

 

As we continue our dig through the Eugene Earle Collection (20376) we’ve found an outlier amongst the transcription discs of government-issued country music. This 12″, 78 rpm, transcription disc, call no. TR-20376/1948,  was originally manufactured for use in Seeburg Select-O-Matic jukeboxes that were produced in the late ’40s. The bright red color of the vinyl certainly added to the spectacle of watching the mechanism in action.
Here’s a swinging track from the record by the Novelty Inst. Group, entitled “Oklahoma Stomp”

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Happy National Fried Chicken Day (belated)!

D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection 20479, Rick Miller, Southern Culture on the Skids at the Milestone, Charlotte, NC, photo by Kent Thompson

Apparently yesterday was National Fried Chicken Day. We have to admit that we were caught unawares and unprepared for the celebration. Making it up today with this image from the D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection (20479) featuring some of the world’s most studied fried chicken aficionados, Southern Culture on the Skids. Here is Rick Miller offering up snacks for appreciative fans at the Milestone in Charlotte. All photos by D. Kent Thompson.

D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection 20479, Southern Culture on the Skids at Sleazefest, 1994, Local506, Chapel Hill, NC, photo by Kent Thompson

Southern Culture on the Skids at Sleazefest, 1994, Local506, Chapel Hill, NC, photo by Kent Thompson, in the D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection (20479)

Southern Culture on the Skids, Rick Miller, Dave Schmidt, and Mary Huff, photo by Kent Thompson, in the D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection 20479

Southern Culture on the Skids, Rick Miller, Dave Schmidt, and Mary Huff, photo by Kent Thompson, in the D. Kent and Sue Meyer Thompson Collection (20479)

Transcription Disc of the Week – The United States Army Presents “Country Express”

The United States Army Recruiting Service Presents "Country Express", shows 29-66 & and 30-66

Here’s another track from transcription disc TR-20376/1195 in the Eugene Earle Collection (20376). This 1966 promotional record for the US Army Recruiting Service features “Chime Bells” – a song by the hit country singer Warner Mack that features vocals that may best be described as “dub yodels”… definitely worth a listen.

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From the desk of Dock Boggs

Looking into correspondence in folder 220 from the Mike Seeger Collection (20009) today provided some fascinating reading from the desk of Dock Boggs. The letters offer numerous details into Boggs’ late recording and performing career.

I also noticed what appears to be a draft of Dock Boggs’ bio written in pencil on the back of multiple fliers advertising performances at the legendary Melrose Ave. music club, the Ash Grove. Looks like May, 1963 was a pretty awesome time to be hanging out in LA.20009_Mike Seeger Collection_Folder220_Dock Boggs notes

 

 

Happy Birthday to Archie Green

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Archie Green, Dorsey Dixon, and an unidentified MulE, East Rockingham, North Carolina, 1962, John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)

It’s Archie Green‘s birthday today, he would have been 100 years old. The photo above was taken while Green was recording Dixon’s Babies in the Mill (Testament, 1963) album.

Archie played many roles throughout his career–folklorist, archivist, field worker, professor, and public sector advocate. His constant drive to document, archive, and curate is illustrated by his remarkable collection of work, the Archie Green Papers (20002), now housed at the Southern Folklife Collection. Archie was instrumental in the creation of the SFC as well as his advocacy and vision helped orchestrate the transfer of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation collections from UCLA to UNC Chapel Hill in 1983.

Green mentored and inspired countless ethnographers and activists. Archie was constantly engaged with the field, often interviewing fellow folklorists about their work. One interview that feels especially relevant today is one with eminent folklorist Dr. Roger D. Abrahams, who just recently passed away on June 21, 2017, SFC Audio Cassette FS-20002/11163. The interview, conducted in Austin, Texas sometime in the 1970s, while Abrahams is chair of the department and Archie is a professor, includes lots of interesting content about the Austin Cosmic Cowboy scene as well as African American folklore studied. You can hear the entire interview streaming in the SFC’s digital collections

SFC Audio Cassette FS-20002/11163

Tape 8: Archie Green and Roger Abrahams, Austin, Tex. (part 1

Audiocassette

Archie (Aaron) Green grew up in southern California, began college at UCLA, and then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley from which he was graduated in 1939. After working in the shipyards in San Francisco, serving in the Navy in World War II, and becoming active in several labor organizations, Green returned to academia. He received his M.L.S. from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Archie Green and Dock Walsh

John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)

Green joined the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1960 and served there as librarian and later jointly as an instructor in the English Department until 1972. In 1973, Green took on a creative role at the Labor Studies Center in Washington, D.C., in part assisting with the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folklife and labor participation in the Bicentennial celebrations. At the same time, he was producing albums, conducting fieldwork, teaching, lecturing, and writing articles. He was active in the John Edwards Memorial Foundation (now Forum) from its inception and lobbied Congress to pass the American Folklife Foundation Act, which it did in 1976, establishing the Center for American Folklife.

Green retired as professor emeritus from the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1980s to his home in San Francisco, Calif., where he continued to work collaboratively on research and other projects with many individuals and institutions dedicated to the study of folklore and the preservation of folklife. He received an honorary degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. Archie Green died in March 2009.

Happy Birthday, Archie.

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Archie Green and Eugene Earle

John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001)