Curley Parker & the Garvin Brothers on Cozy Records

Cotton Eyed Joe, Curley Parker & the Garvin Bros.Newly cataloged at the SFC is an obscure bluegrass release on Cozy Records by Curley Parker and the Garvin Brothers, call number 78-17403.

Cozy Records was based in Davis, West Virginia and named after a restaurant in nearby Grafton. It was founded by coal miner and minister John Bava, who’d played and sung along with his wife Lucy in a band called the Country Cousins.

In addition to his record label, Bava also started a magazine called Musical Echoes (printing facilities for which sat in a converted chicken coup), and a music publishing company under his own name. It seems that Bava may have used Musical Echoes partly to promote his compositions among musicians who might perform them. For example, in the SFC’s Sheet Music and Song Lyrics collection, we found this copy of Bava’s composition “Upon the Cross of Calvary” which has a red-and-white sticker referring to Musical Echoes as “song book for the entertainer.”

SFC Sheet Music and Song Lyrics Collection #30013, folder 97

SFC Collection 30013, folder 97

The back cover has been addressed and stamped, with Musical Echoes as the return address. At the bottom, the recipient is told to “request Hank the Cowhand of WMMN, Fairmont, W. Va. to sing ‘Would You Care.’” (Hank recorded this song for Cozy as Hank Stanford & the Sagebrush Round-up some time in the early 1950s; the song was written by Bava).

BAVA-SFC004Cozy recorded local, West Virginia-based talent, as well as musicians who appeared regularly on radio but who’d had trouble making inroads with bigger labels. Besides Hank the Cowhand, Cozy artists included Cherokee Sue, Rita Flory, Rex Parker’s Merry Men, Chuck Palmer & the Cornmuffins, and eventually the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers.

Curley Parker and the Garvin Brothers only made one recording for Cozy Records, “My Guiding Star” / “Cotton Eyed Joe”, released in 1950. Originally from Gilmer County, Georgia, Parker is today best known for having played fiddle with the Blue Sky Boys during the 1940s, as well as for the duo he started with Pee Wee Lambert in 1951. In addition to his musical career, Parker also worked as a land surveyor; ultimately, he phased out professional music appearances in order to focus on his “day job.”

Side A, “My Guiding Star,” features singing by Parker and Earnst Garvin in a song about the unexpected death of the narrator’s fiancé. We’ve included an excerpt here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Side B, “Cotton Eyed Joe,” is an instrumental, and showcases Parker’s fiddling technique (as well as that of an unnamed banjoist, presumably one of the Garvin Brothers). The virtuosity is especially apparent towards the end when the tempo verges on breakneck.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

It does not appear that the Garvin Brothers have any surviving output beyond this release.

Our copy of the Parker-Garvin Brothers release came from SFC donor Guthrie Meade and was autographed by Parker. In the image below, you can (sort of) see the inscription on the lefthand side of the label: “To Gus, Curley Parker.”

My Guiding Star, Curley Parker & the Garvin Brothers

Photo of the week: Jesse “Lone Cat” Fuller

P673_JesseFuller_John Edwards Memorial Foundation Colleciton, SFC, UNC Chapel HillPromotional photo of the great Jesse “Lone Cat” Fuller from Manny Greenhill’s legendary Folklore Productions. Best known for his song “San Francisco Bay Blues,” Fuller was a renaissance man: appearing in silent films like The Thief of Baghdad, hoboeing cross-country, working in the California shipyards, and playing music. Fuller built his own bass accompaniment, the “fotdella,” and played harmonica and washboard along with his 12-string guitar to make himself a one-man jug band. Fuller died in 1976 in Oakland, California. The image is call no. p673 in the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection.

Noble Ray Price, the Cherokee Cowboy

P3910_Standing from left to right: KBBQ disc jockey Hugh Jarrett, musicians Ray Price and Tex Williams, and tailor Nudie Cohn. The four are backstage at the KBBQ First Anniversary Show_Southern Folklife Collection Radio and Television Files (30015)P3910. Standing from left to right: KBBQ disc jockey Hugh Jarrett, musicians Ray Price and Tex Williams, and tailor Nudie Cohn. The four are backstage at the KBBQ First Anniversary Show. Southern Folklife Collection Radio and Television Files (30015).

Country legend, Ray Price died this week at his home in Texas at the age of 87. The “Ray Price Shuffle,” a 4/4 beat developed by the Cherokee Cowboy himself remains a staple of the honky tonk sound. Combined with his velvet voice and countrypolitan ballads, Price changed the sound of Nashville. We picked out a few items from the Southern Folklife Collection to share in remembrance of Price and his lasting legacy. The photo above, P3910 from the Southern Folklife Collection Radio and Television Files (30015) features Price along with one of his great friends, fashion designer Nudie Cohn. Price could often be found on stage wearing one of Cohn’s “Nudie Suits.”  Price’s visual style remained impeccable throughout his career, but it was always his voice that separated him from the rest of the crooners. Listen to his great rendition of the Harlan Howard tune, “Heartache by the Numbers” from call no. 45-1472. 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

45_1472_Ray Price_Southern Folklife CollectionAnother classic from Price’s massive catalog is his hit, “Take Me As I Am (or let me go). This Don Law produced single has the full “Nashville Sound,” a full orchestra and choral arrangement to back Price’s powerful voice and make the syrupy lyrics wonderfully bittersweet. We found a unique promotional flier for the song in the Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name Files (30005), NF1596. These items are but a blip in Price’s 65 year career. We’d love to show you more but you’ll have to make a visit to Wilson Library. For now, let’s sit back and enjoy one more song.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

NF1596_Ray Price_Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name Files (30005)45_1858_Ray Price_Southern Folklife Collection

 

 

Goldband Records approved “Sweet Potato Mash”

P0072_0010_X9444

Sweet potato patch in Cleveland County,

call no. P0072/0010, Commercial Museum Collection of North Carolina Photographs (P0072)

North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

Don’t forget your eat your sweet potatoes tomorrow. No matter whether you roast them, bake them, fry them, hasselback them, or cook them with marshmallows on top, the Southern Folklife Collection has your soundtrack covered thanks to a seasonally appropriate tape from the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245) that came up in the Rivers Studio just this week.

small_cfg

William Parker Guidry, Jr., came up in Southwest Louisiana and Lake Charles, performing and recording as Bill Parker for a number of labels, including Eddie Shuler’s Goldband Records. A drummer and bandleader, he appears all over the Goldband discography, and the man must have been a huge fan of the sweet potato because he wrote and recorded at least two tunes, including a cha-cha, dedicated to the noble tuber.

For you dear readers and listeners, we have “Sweet Potato Mash” by Bill Parker and his Showboat Band. FT7003 was digitized as part of the Southern Folklife Collection digitization project, From the Piedmont to the Swamplands: Preserving Southern Traditional Music, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ham, corn and fiddle tunes at Tommy Jarrell’s

20006_pf0081_0029_Alice Gerrard Collection (20006)_Southern Folklife CollectionBack in 2009 we wrote about a field recording, call no. FS8341 from the Alice Gerrard Collection, documenting the Christmas she and Andy Cahan spent with Tommy Jarrell and his daughter Dena in 1983. For those who are interested, they had chicken and “it was so fine.”

That’s not the only holiday recording in the Alice Gerrard Collection. FS8205 was made in 1981 when Alice and a few others, including old-time musician Rusty Neithammer, spent Thanksgiving with Tommy. They had ham, and also some corn, according to the tape.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

How many other holiday menus and recipes were recorded in the process of doing field work that are now held in Wilson Library at UNC? These recordings and thousands more are available for research in the Southern Folklife Collection. There was quite a bit of music at that Thanksgiving celebration, listen to Jarrell’s solo banjo version of “Let Me Fall” and then Rusty Neithammer and Tommy Jarrell twin fiddle one of my favorites, “Rockingham Cindy.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The Southern Folklife Collection is thankful to be able to share this with all of you out there. Happy Thanksgiving.

SFC Spooky Spotlight: A “Mummie’s Curse” uncovered in the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection

OP20459_16_Jason Lonon Collection, Death-Ray Design!.  Continental Club PosterWith the Wilson Library live action Clue Game happening tonight and All Hallow’s Eve tomorrow, it’s no surprise that strange phenomena have been occuring in the Southern Folklife Collection studios. Just this morning, preservation audio engineer Brian Paulson digitized the Goldband Records master tape of Satan and the Deciples, call no. FT6891 in the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245), as part of our current digitization project, From the Piedmont to the Swamplands: Preserving Southern Traditional Music.

FT6981_ Satan and Deciples_Mummie's Curse_Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245)_Southern Folklife Collection, Brian arrived to work this morning, having left the Rivers Studio in proper order when he left last night, to find this open reel tape spooled on the Otari ready for playback. No one knows how the tape got from the stacks to the studio or what could have loaded the tape onto the machine. Not one to question the will and ways of the supernatural, of course Brian played the tape, reavealing the following horrifying song, “Mummie’s Curse.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Not much is known about Satan and the Deciples (aka Satan and Satin’s Roses, aka Satin and the Deciples). The theory we agreed upon in the Rivers Studio accepts that the band rose out of the swamps around Lake Charles, called from eternal slumber to terrorize the honky-tonks of East Texas like so many of the undead. Other more likely theories suggest the band was a novelty project made up of a crew of local bar band musicians that liked scary movies. Considering the Deciples featured one Baldemar Huerta (aka Freddy Fender who co-wrote both tracks on this tape) on lead guitar, the latter theory is more plausible. We may never know the truth, but we were inspired to pull out Jason Lonon’s poster for a “Halloween Ho-down” (featured above) to share with you fine readers, call no. OP-20451/16 from the Jason Lonon Poster Collection (20451).

Happy Halloween.

“Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation”: 7th World Day for Audiovisual Heritage

Southern Folklife Collection audio preservation engineer, John Loy, in the John M. Rivers, Jr. Studio. Photo by Dan SearsUNESCO, in cooperation with the Co-ordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA) and other partners, has adopted 27 October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to better focus global attention on the significance of AV documents and to draw attention to the need to safeguard them. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation.”ICA_WorldDay for Audiovisual Heritage

RIVERSGRID3The Southern Folklife Collection works toward this goal daily in our efforts to preserve the hundreds of thousands of sound recordings, film and video housed in Wilson Library. Through grant-funded digitization projects and through research driven requests, the Southern Folklife Collection has digitized and made available tens of thousands of recordings documenting the vast riches of traditional expressive culture from the American South and around the world. The John M. Rivers, Jr. Studio (pictured above, right, and below) and the Ben Jones Audio and Video Studios constantly echo with the sounds, songs, and stories collected from centuries past through the 21st.
From the UNESCO statement:

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. They help to maintain the cultural identity of a people; but countless documentary treasures have disappeared since the invention of image and sound technologies that permit the peoples of the world to better share their experiences, creativity and knowledge.

All of the world’s audiovisual heritage is endangered. Nowhere can it be said to be preserved, but through initiatives such as theWorld Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, the precious work of preservation professionals is given impetus to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our heritage.

It was in this context, that the General Conference in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity. (UNESCO)

In honor of the 7th World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, we wanted to highlight some of the recordings recently digitized as part of one of our current projects, From the Piedmont to the Swamplands: Preserving Southern Traditional Music, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The multi-year effort will preserve and make accessible online up to 3,019 hours of sound recordings and 4,500 related photographs dating from the 1920s to 1980s, drawn from the Southern Folklife Collection holdings in the William R. Ferris Collection (20367), Mike Seeger Collection (20009), John Edwards Memorial Foundation Records (20001), and the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection (20245).

20009_Mike Seeger Collection_pf00017_Southern Folklife Collection, UNC Chapel HillRegular readers of Field Trip South will not be surprised to see the Mike Seeger Collection featured here. Many of Seeger’s photographs are currently digitized and available for viewing online: iconic images of America’s musical treasures like Ralph and Carter Stanley, the Carter Sisters, Lesley Riddle, Dock Boggs, and of course, the beloved NC Piedmont picker and singer, Elizabeth Cotten.

The Southern Folklife Collection has preserved hundreds of hours of Seeger’s field recordings and his own master tapes. Every tape is a treat, but occasionally we come upon an especially outstanding track like this version of “Well May the World Go” featuring Mike performing with his brother, the legendary folksinger Pete, on 29 January 1973. They tore through three versions of the tune that day. Have a listen to the third take of that piece here, from FT14925 in the Mike Seeger Collection:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Another recent standout track comes from The New Tranquility String Band (FT14198.) This outtake of  “Boatman” was recorded during sessions for the Berkley Farms: Oldtime and Country Style Music of Berkley LP originally released for Smithsonian Folkways in 1972. This version version has the jaw harp higher in the mix, giving it a striking old-time feel that we like. 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

FT9918_Fanny_Bell_Chapman_Children's concert. Reel 28 of 42. FCT 28-72-7_William R. Ferris Collection_UNC_Chapel HillThe Piedmont to the Swamplands grant also allowed us to digitize the majority of audio recordings collected by folklorist and UNC professor William R. Ferris. With thousands of audio recordings, photographs, and feet of film, the William R. Ferris Collection is an invaluable resource documenting the people and culture of the American South, an archival treasure trove reflecting the ineffable “sense of place” that makes the South such a compelling–and haunting–place. Many of Ferris’s photographs are available online. This performance by a young child, Don Singleton recorded on FT 9918, made our jaws drop.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This next tape was recorded during the process of filming a documentary film about the remarkable Fannie Bell Chapman. The complete film can be viewed in full on Folkstreams.net., Fannie Bell Chapman: Gospel Singer. The following version of “Now Sister Go Where I Send Thee” is from FT9974, the first of six tapes recording Chapman’s music recorded in August 1975. 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

FT11151_Wash Herron on harmonica and "Big Jack" Johnson on guitar__William R. Ferris Collection_UNC_Chapel HillFerris documented the secular as well as the sacred and his recordings of Mississippi blues artists are equally vital documents. The following track is from one of the first recordings of the bluesman “Big Jack” Johnson.  From FT11151, this is Johnson performing on guitar with harmonica player Wash Herron. 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

These clips offer but a glimpse into the Southern Folklife Collection’s preservation efforts. The public is encouraged to explore our finding aids for detailed inventories and description of archival collections and the UNC Libraries online catalog for materials of interest and request that they be preserved and made available for research. Feel free to contact the SFC with any comments or questions at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu. We also hope you will enjoy some music this Sunday, October 27, World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, and think about institutions like the Southern Folklife Collection, the Library of Congress, and countless other archives and institutions that are working to preserve our aural and visual history. Southern Folklife Collection John M. Rivers, Jr. Studio. Photo by Dan Sears

Domo Arigato Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard

Blog MS 5

Two tapes from the Mike Seeger Collection (20009) preserved as part of the Southern Folklife Collection’s ongoing project “From Piedmont to Swamplands,” supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities, recently caught the attention of audio engineer John Loy. The first, call number FT14237, features an interview/performance by Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard on November 21, 1970 at the Kinro Kaikan in Kyoto Japan. It contains 90 minute concert and interview with commentary in Japanese. The program intended provide Japanese listeners with an introductory survey of American old time and vernacular music styles. A wonderful document of cultural exchange.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Another recent find is a tape master sent to Mike in 1969 by the ‘Styx River Ferry ‘ a prominent “Hippy Country” group in the San Francisco/Berkeley area. This band features a who’s who of Bay area bluegrass fixtures rounded up by Bob and Ingrid Fowler. For this recording, call number FT14220, the group enlisted the help of legends of the day with guest performances by “Uncle Josh” Graves and “Cousin Jake” Tullock of the Foggy Mountain Boys. Of particular interest to us is the contextual information on the label, not only including song titles and band members, but also the recording studio, production personnel and a short list of bay area local venues at which the group was performing at the time. Catching Styx River Ferry at the Drinking Gourd would have been quite a time. Listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

FT14220Blog MS 7

 

Big Slim loves you (we do too)

FL247_Cover_Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios (#30006)If you sing along, Big Slim the Lone Cowboy won’t be so lonely. The Southern Folklife Collection happily welcomes you to learn the Secret’s of our heart. Another classic from the Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios, 1882-1893 (#30006), FL-247. See the remaining contents below. Special thanks to a new Southern Folklife Collection friend in Australia for leading us to this great collection of songs through a research request from almost 10,000 miles away.
FL247_Heart_Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios (#30006)


Folio of Favorite Radio Songs of Big Slim, The Lone Cowboy. American Music Pub. Co. New York, N.Y. 1946. 27 p. of music.
“After Yesterday”
“Heart Weary and Blue”
“Lone Star Trail”
“Moonlight on the Cabin”
“Never Say Goodbye”
“Only a Rose (From My Mother’s Grave)”
“Patanio, the Pride of the Plain”
“Secrets of My Heart”
“Sunny Side of the Mountain”
“There’ll Never Be a Sweeter Girl Than You”
“There’s Another Mother Angel Up in Heaven”
“You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine”
“Cowboy Jack”
“Don’t Cry Little Girl of Mine”
“Green Grows the Laurel”
“Hazel That Old Gal of Mine”
“Kickin’ My Love Around”
“Oh, Oh, Uhm Uhm”
“Ridin’ Along Singin’ a Song”
“The Letter Edged in Black”
“There’s a Little Winding Road”
“Two Sparkling Blue Eyes”
“When the Shadows Fell on the Prairie”
“Whoa Mule Whoa”
“Yellow Rose of Texas”

June Carter in the Ed Kahn Collection

The Digital Southern Folklife Collection continues to add content at a steady rate. One of the recent additions includes the photographs from the Ed Kahn Collection (#20360). Among numerous photos of the Carter Family and Merle Travis is the publicity shot of June Carter, mid-leap, featured above. Also note Ms. Carter’s manager, the Colonel himself, Tom Parker (aka Andreas Cornelis (“Dries”) van Kuijk).

Scholar and folklorist, Ed Kahn (1938-2004) spent much of his life devoted to the study of American folk songs and early country music, conducting extensive field research and writing at length about both Merle Travis and the Carter Family. Kahn was was involved in the creation of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation (JEMF), along with Archie Green, D. K. Wilgus, Fred Hoeptner, and Eugene Earle. He was initially appointed Executive Secretary of the JEMF and was instrumental in starting the JEMF Quarterly newsletter. The collection consists of papers, photographs, and audiovisual materials relating to Kahn’s research documenting American folk songs, Mexican border radio, and early country music and recording history.

Carter Family research materials include personal and professional correspondence; research files related to Ed Kahn‘s dissertation, “The Carter Family: A Reflection of Changes in Society”; transcripts documenting interviews with members of the Carter Family and people associated with them; letters to and from members of the Carter Family and their friends, family, and business associates; and handwritten songs found in a cabin where Sara Carter stayed after divorcing A. P. Carter.

Any ideas on what the autograph says?