Recent additions to SFC books

THE WILSON SPECIAL COLLECTIONS LIBRARY TECHNICAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN CATALOGING A NUMBER OF NEW ADDITIONS TO THE SOUTHERN FOLKLIFE COLLECTION MONOGRAPHS. WE PULLED A FEW OF OUR RECENT FAVORITES TO SHARE WITH YOU GOOD READERS. COME ON BY FOR A VISIT AND GET A CLOSER LOOK.

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South from Hell-fer-Sartin: Kentucky Mountain Folk Tales by Leonard W. Roberts. SFC Call no. GR110.K4 R6 1964

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music 007

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music by Fred Dellar and Roy ThompsonSFC Call no. ML102.C7 D4 1986

A Texas-Mexican Cancionero, by Americo Paredes. SFC call no. M1668.4.T49

A Texas-Mexican Cancionero, by Americo Paredes. SFC call no. M1668.4 .T49

Your Cheatin' Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams by Chet Flippo, SFC call no. ML420 .W55 F6 1985

Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams by Chet Flippo. SFC call no. ML420 .W55 F6 1985

American Folklore Films & Videotapes: An Index. Published by the Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis Tennessee.  SFC Call no. Z5984.U6 A44 1976

American Folklore Films & Videotapes: An Index. Published by the Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis Tennessee. SFC Call no. Z5984.U6 A44 1976

Das Songbuch by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser. SFC Call no. ML3545 .K29 1967

Das Songbuch by Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser. SFC Call no. ML3545 .K29 1967

Don't Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker. SFC Call no. ML420.D98 P4

Don’t Look Back by D.A. Pennebaker. SFC Call no. ML420.D98 P4

Our Appalachia : an oral history edited by Laurel Shackelford and Bill Weinberg. SFC Call no. F217.A65 O97 1977

Our Appalachia: an oral history edited by Laurel Shackelford and Bill Weinberg. SFC Call no. F217.A65 O97 1977

 

78 of the week: Jesse Rodgers with Kama’s Moana Hawaiians

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Two excellent sides for you by the great Jesse Rodgers (first cousin to Jimmie), from Southern Folklife Collection disc call no. 78-828. A successful musician who appeared on the “border-blaster” radio stations XERA and XERN in the late 20s and early 30s, Rodgers career took off in an unexpected direction after Jimmie’s untimely death in 1933. Always looking to repeat past successes, RCA-Bluebird picked up Jesse in hopes he would continue where Jimmie left off, even setting Jesse up to record with the great steel guitarist Charles Kama and his Moana Hawaiians who had recorded previous sides with Jimmie. These two tracks were recorded 28 Feburary 1936 at the Texas Hotel in San Antonio. Kama’s guitar work is superb and his musical arrangement wonderfully compliments the tune. Listen to the solo in the second clip below and note Kama’s masterful accompaniment to Rodger’s blue yodeling. Fantastic. 

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Photo of the week: The Shanty Boys

I20239_pf0018a: Roger Sprung, Mike Cohen, and Lionel Kilberg, from their monthly CBS broadcast. Photo by Ray Sullivan of Photo-Sound Associates. From the Ron Cohen Collection (20239). Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill.

The Shanty Boys (Roger Sprung, Mike Cohen, and Lionel Kilberg), from their monthly CBS broadcast. Photo by Ray Sullivan of Photo-Sound Associates. From the Ron Cohen Collection (20239). Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill.

In the early 1950s, Roger Sprung spent time in Asheville, NC, meeting and learning from banjo greats Bascom Lamar Lunsford and Samantha Bumgarner. He returned to New York and is often credited with introducing bluegrass banjo style to the northern folk revival through his playing in Washington Square park. For more information on Sprung and the Shanty Boys, see Ron Cohen’s excellent book on the folk revival, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940-1970 (Culture, Politics, and Cold War), (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002).

78 rpm disc of the week: The Willie Webb Singers

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Another choice platter for you readers and listeners today. Really excited to put on this disc in the studio yesterday, call no. 78-7964. Side A is great (see below) but side B, “He’s the One,” featuring soloist Ozella Weber, is fantastic. The Willie Webb Singers were a post-war mixed gospel group out of Chicago, much like the Roberta Martin Singers with whom Willie Webb got his start (see Horace Clarence Boyer’s The Golden Age of Gospel for more information). Please do enjoy.

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78 rpm disc of the week: Red Kirk “The Voice of the Country”

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Great pair of pure country tearjerkers from Southern Folklife Collection 78 rpm disc call no. 78-9938. I discovered these numbers thanks to a recent request and gladly spent some time in the studio while the great Red Kirk, known as “The Voice of the Country,” and the phenomenal steel guitar of Jerry Byrd played offered the soundtrack to my morning blues. Recorded in Cincinnati with Jerry Byrd’s String Dusters–Louis Innis on rhythm, Zeke Turner on lead guitar, Red Turner on bass, and Tommy Jackson on fiddle–all great session players that also performed the Midwestern Hayride on WLW. Side two, “It’s Raining in my Heart” is even better.

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Zygote, 1970

Zygote_v1_n7_1970_Southern Folklife CollectionIt was a pleasure to dig into the Southern Folklife Collection‘s two issues of Zygote, an excellent alternative rag out of New York in the early 1970s. I also enjoyed imagining which member of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation originally collected the magazine for the periodical collection. These two issues feature some quality investigative journalism and radical political commentary mixed with record and film reviews, music features, pop-culture criticism, and a psychedelic visual style. The Southern Folklife Collection has but two issues from 1970, this one vol. 1, no. 7, from October 30, and vol. 1, no. 8 from November. If you subscribed for two years you could have picked up the latest Mother Earth LP and the soundtrack to The Strawberry Statement. Plus, Tina Turner and Wayne Cochran (scroll down to the bottom).

Right on.

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The films of Toshi Seeger

DVD_332_Southern Folklife CollectionWhile best known for her film Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison, made along with her husband Pete, son Daniel, and folklorist Bruce Jackson, Toshi Seeger was an accomplished photographer and documentarian whose filmography reaches far beyond the Ellis Unit at the Huntsville prison. Rounder Records, along with Stefan Grossman’s Vestapol Productions, released a remarkable compilation of films by the Toshi and the Seeger family well before the documentary mentioned above was made.  Toshi and Pete describe these films as “home movies,” but they are a far cry from shaky video of Christmas morning. These films are available for viewing at the Southern Folklife Collection, call no. DVD_332, and are highly recommended.

Obituaries written in honor of Toshi Seeger, who died this week at the age of 91, describe her as being the “perfect compliment to Pete,” describing him as the visionary and her as the “grounded” member of their marriage. These films, however, demonstrate playfulness as well as a clarity of creative vision and attention to detail. Her camerawork captures the intensity of performance and communicates the wonder she must have felt in those moments of filming. From an interview made by Todd Harvey and Peggy Seeger in 2006 for the Library of Congress, Toshi shares the following memories (see more on Folkstreams here:

“Toshi Seeger: Most people, if they are filming have a storyboard or script or something. They know what is happening. I had no idea at any time. The boatsingers film footage we made in Ghana [1964], I saw that happening and I said, “let’s stop and get that.” But in the Texas prison I had no idea what was going to happen. We set up the cameras and began filming. At the point that we set the cameras up I saw that they were going to do work songs, so any of the framing is on the spur of the moment, done just as we saw it.

PS: And at the end of the day of filming, the guard, who was on a horse and who was often talking to a friend, wasn’t even watching us…

TS: Well you were talking to him and I was with all the prisoners with double-edged axes. I thought it was very humorous. I shot the film, with the guard on the horse looking away paying no attention to me. These men were telling me their life stories—why they were in there, about their children and wives, and so forth…”

To see the entire film Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison, as well as Singing Fishermen of Ghana, visit Folkstreams.net.

 

RIP Robert Calvin “Bobby Blue” Bland

78_7247_2_Southern Folklife CollectionIt always saddens me that it takes the death of an artist to remind me to look for their work in the Southern Folklife Collection holdings, but then I find something like this excellent 78 from Bobby Blue Bland, call number 78-7247, and the bad feelings fade away. Bland passed on June 23, 2013 at his home outside Memphis, TN, but left behind a remarkable discography of some of the best R&B ever recorded. “Army Blues” features a beautifully woozy and cracked arrangement of “Taps” and Bland’s raw vocals offer a moving critique of the dismay that he and many others felt about the draft in 1952.

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“No Blow, No Show” picks things up and the tape echo sound awesome to our ears. Take a listen and have a great weekend. 

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Friday Yodeling

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Some days, there’s just no other option but to yodel. Today is one of those days. Pardon the brief hiatus here at Field Trip South, but we’re working on big plans in the Southern Folklife Collection. Stay tuned to Field Trip South for future announcements. But until then, feel free to yodel along. Above is a fine mix by the great George P. Watson, from 78-12828. Even better to my ears is this fine Romeo release of Frankie Wallace and His Guitar scatting through “My Hulu Girl” in 1926, from 78-12017.78_12017

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But I had to save the best for last, the remarkable voice and piano stylings of Roy Evans. Put this one on repeat, “The New St. Louis Blues” from 78-11488. Welcome to the weekend. 

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