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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SFC Spotlight: Jack Bernhardt Papers

http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/b/Bernhardt,Jack.htmlWhen Southern Folklife Collection curator, Steve Weiss, suggested we highlight the Jack Bernhardt Papers (20061) on Field Trip South I happily offered to write the post. I’m not proud to say that conversation was over two months ago. Every time I began to research the collection, I fell down one rabbit hole after another. Should the focus be on the in-depth fieldwork and oral histories with regional gospel bluegrass band Jimmy and Tammy Sullivan?  Or Bernhardt’s excellent documentation of old-time music, with a list of recordings that include performances and interviews with some of Appalachia’s most remarkable musicians and folklorists recorded in the 1980s: Alice Gerrard, Andy Cahan, Matokie Slaughter, Ernest East, Cece Conway, Rafe Brady, Alan Jabbour, Tommy Thompson, Bill Hicks, Nimrod Workman and more. Bernhardt collected hours of interviews and recorded hours of vibrant musical performances, including many informal jam sessions, taking the listener directly into the living room of North Carolina’s legendary musicians like Tommy Jarrell and Bertie Dickens. Each of these recordings deserves consideration, and we welcome you to visit Wilson Library to listen, however it’s Bernhardt’s collection of interviews largely made in his role as critic of contemporary country music that I have been most drawn to.

An addition of 131 tapes in July 2012 to the Bernhardt collection provide a unique perspective on the landscape of country and bluegrass music in the decades straddling the turn of the century. From 1986 to 2011, Bernhardt interviewed variety of contemporary country musicians and composers. Artists include Trace Adkins, Sam Bush, Guy Clark, Susanna Clark, Vassar Clements, J.D. Crowe, Jerry Douglas, Vince Gill, John Hartford, Alan Jackson, Naomi Judd, Alison Krauss, Doyle Lawson, Charlie Louvin, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Martin, Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride, Del McCoury, Reba McEntire, Ricky Scaggs, Earl Scruggs, the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rhonda Vincent, and Gretchen Wilson. With the assistance of SFC research assistant Laura McPherson, we have picked out a few of our favorites and over the next few days we’ll share highlights here on Field Trip South.

We’ll start with The First Lady of Country Music, the legendary Loretta Lynn.  Bernhardt’s interview of Lynn, call number FS-12132, was conducted on 20 April 2001. Bernhardt is a warm conversationalist, however he is also a pointed and professional interviewer, asking pointed and probing questions touching on the broad scope of Lynn’s life and career.  The pair kick off the interview with a frank discussion about politics and reflections on the beginnings of the Iraq War, sounding like two old friends meeting over coffee before switching over to music. Bernhardt and LynnListen as Lynn surveys American country music, frustrated with the industry push to either “go back to sitting on heybales” or going all out pop:

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Later, Lynn’s ever-present charm and humble appreciation is on full display when describing one of her most memorable moments receiving an achievement award in Washington D. C. in the late 1980s.  Ed Asner was the MC. 

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Bernhardt’s questions inspire Lynn to reflect on the her early recording career, touching on the sexism and chauvinism of the Nashville scene and Lynn’s opposition to it from the start:

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We’ll leave you with a great soundbite of Lynn talking about her role as a pioneer artist, paving the way for women in country music. Recounting an interview her daughter gave where the younger Lynn exclaimed “Momma didn’t open the doors, she kicked them down!”

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Check back in with Field Trip South for more from the Jack Bernhardt Papers including interviews with John Hartford, Townes van Zandt, and Gordon Stoker from the Jordanaires.

 

 

The one and only, George Jones

P1072_Southern Folklife Collection_John Edwards Memorial FoundationCountry music legend George Jones died Friday in Nashville at the age of 81. Few artists have lived as hard as a character in a country song as The Possum. Born and raised in Texas, George Glenn Jones grew up with the roughnecks, cowboys, and lonely hearts of the East Texas oil-fields that populated the honky-tonk bars of Beaumont where Jones first made his mark.

In tribute to old Possum, we pulled out his first single recorded in 1954 for Pappy Daily’s Starday Records, the classic “No Money In this Deal,” Southern Folklife Collection call number 78-12324. Listen to that guitar intro (and what kind of name is “Loyce”?):

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78_12324_George Jones_Southern Folklife CollectionJones’s incomparable knack for phrasing and brilliant vocal slides are already on full display. We listened to it three times in a row because it’s just so darn good. For me, however, it’s the b-side, “You’re In My Heart,” that made me a lifelong fan so many years ago. Play this one and let it sink in deep. The next time you are confronted with turmoils of the heart, ask yourself, what would George Jones do? Rest in peace, George Jones.

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Visualizing American Roots Music: THE BYRDS

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The Byrds, 1968

(Kevin Kelly, Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman)

P303. JOHN EDWARDS MEMORIAL COLLECTION (#20001)

The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.

Visualizing American Roots Music: BUCK OWENS AND THE BUCKAROOS

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Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, 1966

(Buck Owens, Don Rich, Willie Cantu, Tom Brumley, Doyle Holly)

P1157. JOHN EDWARDS MEMORIAL COLLECTION (#20001)

The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.

Visualizing American Roots Music: THE KITTY WELLS/JOHNNIE WRIGHT FAMILY SHOW

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The Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show

(Bobby Wright, Kitty Wells, Johnnie Wright, Jack Anglin and band)

P2091. John Edwards Memorial Collection (#20001)

The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.

Visualizing American Roots Music: MADDOX BROTHERS AND ROSE

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Maddox Brothers and Rose

(Cal, Henry, Rose, Don, and Fred Maddox)

P914. John Edwards Memorial Collection (#20001)

The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.

Visualizing American Roots Music: COUSIN MINNIE PEARL

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Cousin Minnie Pearl, The Gal from Grinder’s Switch, WSM Grand Ole Opry

(Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon)

P1217. John Edwards Memorial Collection (#20001)

The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.

SFC steel guitar record of the day: Pure Remington Steel

FC16299The great Herb Remington joined up with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys his first day out of the armed Services in 1946. He auditioned in a hotel room in Los Angeles and immediately started a four-year stint with the Playboys during one one of their most productive periods. It’s no easy feat to walk into a job once held by Leon McAuliffe, but Remington brought his own style to the gig and made it his own with numbers like “Boot Heel Drag” and the tune featured here, “Remington Ride.” Listen to Remington’s classic track from Pure Remington Steel, call number FC-16229, recorded in Houston, Texas for the Stoneway label in 1973. We love the “wah” effect on Remington’s steel at the end of the track. 

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Even better, Texas legends Bob White and Clyde Brewer twin fiddle on this track. Get more steel guitar this weekend at the Southern Folklife Collection Steel Guitar Concert and Symposium. More info here.