SFC Spotlight: Back to school with Jimmy Boyd and the School for Workers

78-5076. Jimmy Boyd, “(I’ve got those “wake up, seven-thirty – wash your ears they’re dirty – eat your eggs & oatmeal – rush to school”) blues”

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School is back in session here at UNC, and we are more happy about that than the incomparable Jimmy Boyd (probably best known as the amazing voice of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”). Boyd recorded this tune in 1953, one of a number of popular country and novelty tunes he recorded for Columbia throughout the 1950s, including duets with Rosemary Clooney and Frankie Laine. While some of the novelty tunes have not aged terribly well, this track is country pop candy with the Norman Luboff Choir and pedal steel likely performed by the equally incomparable Speedy West.

Steel solo, 78-5076. Jimmy Boyd, “(I’ve got those “wake up, seven-thirty – wash your ears they’re dirty – eat your eggs & oatmeal – rush to school”) blues”

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We have an exciting fall of projects and programs ahead.  “From the Cradle to the Cave,” our exhibit of North Carolina poster art from the SFC collections opened last week in Davis Library and will hang until next may. It was an excellent event with all five artists present and sweet sounds courtesy of The Kingsbury Manx.

Tickets are on sale for our concert tribute to Howlin’ Wolf. Scheduled for September 19 in the Great Hall of the UNC Student Union, the concert will feature Alvin Youngblood Hart, Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Jody Williams, and Henry Gray.  Prior to the concert, a free public symposium will take place in Wilson Library. At 5:30 p.m., blues scholar Peter Guralnick will discuss Howlin’ Wolf’s life and music. Guralnick is currently writing a book about Sam Phillips, the Sun Records founder who discovered not only Howlin’ Wolf, but also Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash.

Guralnick will then be joined for a Q&A conversation with Phillips’s son Knox Phillips, who learned the music business from his father before embarking on his own career as an engineer, producer, and studio owner. The concert is the first in a series of blues tributes hosted by the Southern Folklife Collection in 2011 and 2012.

In honor of the first Monday of the school year, we wanted to share some items to inspire the coming work ahead.  What better inspiration than Labor Songs for All Occasions, produced by The School for Workers at the University of Wisconsin in 1940.  Part of the SFC Song Folios Collection #30006, circa 1882-1983call no. FL-409. 

There are songs for all occasions, “March of the Toilers,” for walking to classes, “Soup Song” for trips to Lenoir, “Put on Your Smart Now Bonnet” for homework and test preparation, and “We’ll Not Be Fools” as and “The Cudgel Song” for mid-term exams and finals.  Choose your favorite from the the contents below.


 

 

Photo and Folio of the Week: Eddy Arnold on stage, in person, and on screen

**click image to enlarge**

This photograph is fascinating as a document of concert goers in the late 1940s, however the band trailer for Eddy Arnold parked out front is what constantly piques my imagination. With the white wall tires and custom paint job, featuring a portrait of Arnold himself as well as the titles of his countless hit songs, I know I’d bee excited to see this barreling down the freeway with Arnold behind the wheel.

We are not sure in which city this photo was taken as there were countless Capitol Theatre’s across the United States, however, we do know Thunderhoof–starring Mary Stuart, Preston Williams, William Bishop, and of course, Thunderhoof as himself–appeared in theaters in 1948 when Eddy Arnold was at the peak of his 1st stage of Country music stardom.

Arnold recorded over 60 top ten hits for RCA throughout the 1940s, under a contract managed by the infamous Colonel Tom Parker.  In 1948 he had five songs in the top 10 simultaneously and Arnold held the number 1 spot for 40 weeks of that year.  Not sure how much merchandise artists sold on tour back then, but maybe had a few of these song folios, call no. FL-199 from the ever popular Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios, circa 1882-1983 (#30006) , on hand for fans.

Eddy Arnold’s Favorite Songs. Hill and Range Songs, Inc. New York, N.Y. 1948. 44 p. of music and illustrations.#30006, Series: “Song Folios, circa 1882-1983.” FL-199

“Just a Little Lovin'”
“Anytime”
“Bouquet of Roses”
“Molly Darling”
“Chained to a Memory”
“Detour”
“Drivin’ Nails in My Coffin”
“No Children Allowed”
“Dangerous Ground”
“Rose of the Alamo”
“At Least a Million Tears”
“Can’t Win, Can’t Place, Can’t Show”
“False Alarm”
“Who at My Door Is Standing?”
“He Knows”

 

Photo of the week: Porter Wagoner songbook


A young Porter Wagoner, standing in the in the spotlight wearing one of his many stylish “Nudie Suits,” gazes up at himself on the cover of this songbook from his first year on the Grand Ole Opry. Featuring “the songs he loves best,” including the excellent, “Let’s Squiggle,” this 1957 songbook, call no. FL-503,  is part of collection #30006: Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios, circa 1882-1983.

Porter Wagoner: Country Music Favorites
Hill and Range Songs, Inc. New York, N.Y. 1957.

41 p. of music and illustrations.

“Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Tomorrow You’ll Cry)”
“Itchin’ for My Baby”
“Let’s Squiggle”
“I Should Be with You”
“I’m Day Dreamin’ Tonight”
“Tricks of the Trade”
“Love at First Sight”
“Blue Guitar”
“Uncle Pen”
“I Can’t Live with You (I Can’t Live without You)”
“Company’s Comin'”
“I’m Counting on You”
“Be Glad That You Ain’t Me”
“My Everything (You’re My Everything)”
“Trade Mark”


Dr. Demento and John Fahey Interview Son House

FT-2809On May 7, 1965, UCLA students Barry Hansen (who, as you know, would later find fame as radio’s Dr. Demento) and John Fahey (already an accomplished guitarist), along with Mark Levine, sat down for an interview with legendary Delta blues singer Son House in Venice, California.  House, who had recorded some extremely influential sides for Paramount records in the 1930s before disappearing from the blues scene for almost a quarter of a century, had recently been “rediscovered” and at the time was widely regarded as the greatest Delta blues singer still actively performing (watch him sing “Death Letter” here to see why).

The interview has been preserved on field tape FT-2809 in the SFC’s John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection. Many of the questions focus on House’s early career in Mississippi and memories of his blues contemporaries. In the clip below House explains the origins of Charley Patton‘s song “Charlie Bradley’s Ten Sixty-Six Blues”:

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Dr. Demento On The Old-time Record Review

demento

On Friday, February 26th, the Southern Folklife Collection will be hosting legendary broadcaster Barry Hansen, aka “Dr. Demento”, longtime host of the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show. He will be presenting a lecture and spinning records on the subject of “Humor in the 20th Century: Country and Blues”.  The program begins at 5:45 in Wilson Library’s Pleasants Family Assembly Room, to  be preceded by a reception at 5:00, and is free and open to the public.

Mr. Hansen should have much to say on the subject of humor in country and blues music, as before he adopted his Dr. Demento persona to become radio’s greatest spinner of humorous songs he was a young musicology student at UCLA, the original home of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation. In the mid-sixties he began his radio career as the host of the “Old-time Record Review”, a scholarly program devoted to the folk, blues, and country music collected by the JEMF. When the JEMF Collection moved to UNC to become the basis of the Southern Folklife Collection , so too did open-reel tapes of 39 episodes of “Old-time Record Review”.

Listen below to a clip of novice DJ Barry Hansen introducing Hank Williams’ “Mind Your Own Business”, from a 1965 episode of “Old-time Record Review” (SFC# FT-1616):

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