SFC Spotlight: Alva Greene, Fiddler’s Conventions, and Guthrie T. Meade

2nd Annual Old time Fiddlers and Bluegrass Convention, 1970, Marion, VA.  Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.4. Fiddle Contests and Conventions: General, 1889-1979. Folder 197: 1960s-1990s.

While looking for information about the great Kentucky fiddler Alva Greene, recorded by Kevin “Chris” Delaney (see SFC tapes call nos. FT-284 and FS-7169) as well as Guthrie Meade and Mark Wilson in the 1970s, I had the opportunity to spend a brief moment with a few of Guthrie Meade’s vast fiddle files.

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“Grampaw” performed by Alva Greene, from SFC open reel tape call no. FT-284, side 1. Recorded by Chris Delaney at Mr. Green’s home in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, Sept. 20 1973.  Mr. Green was 78 years old at the time of the recording.  He was born in Elliot Co., Kentucky.  For a fuller fiddle fix, hear more recordings of Alva Greene by Delaney at the Digital Library of Appalachia.

A seemingly inexhaustible scholar, Meade was constantly developing his discographical research, as documented by a page from this early 1970s spiral notebook (below). The notebook also chronicles some of Meade’s 1970s fieldwork exploring his lifelong interest with fiddling contests and fiddlers conventions so we pulled out a few fliers and programs from Meade’s festival files, including the “Creed of Civitan” according to the Marion Civitan Club, to share with you as well (further below).  Our continuing tribute to Hazel Dickens will conclude next week. Have a great weekend.

** CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE **

Fieldnotes, Guthrie T. Meade, 1970s. Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.3. Kentucky Fiddling, 1919-1990. Folder 178: Kentucky fiddlers and tunes: General research

Program, 1st Annual Old Time Fiddlers and Bluegrass Convention, Marion, VA, 1969. Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.4. Fiddle Contests and Conventions: General, 1889-1979. Folder 197: 1960s-1990s.
“Civitan Creed,” back of program, 1st Annual Old Time Fiddlers and Bluegrass Convention, Marion, VA, 1969. Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.4. Fiddle Contests and Conventions: General, 1889-1979. Folder 197: 1960s-1990s.

 

Flier, WHBN’s 3rd Annual Ole Time Fiddlers Contest, Harrodsburg, KY, 1990. Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.4. Fiddle Contests and Conventions: General, 1889-1979. Folder 197, 1960s-1990s.
Registration form, WHBN’s 3rd Annual Ole Time Fiddlers Contest, Harrodsburg, KY, 1990. Guthrie T. Meade Collection, 1817-1991 (#20246). Subseries 6.4. Fiddle Contests and Conventions: General, 1889-1979. Folder 197, 1960s-1990s.

 

Previously Unreleased Mississippi Fred McDowell Recordings Now Available

Chapel Hill’s Devil Down Recordings has announced the release of “Come and Found You Gone”, The Bill Ferris Recordings, a new CD featuring over an hour of previously unreleased Mississippi Fred McDowell recordings made by Bill Ferris in 1967. From the Devil Down website:

These recordings are different from any other of Fred McDowell due to their very nature: rather than conducted with the production of a record in mind, the recordings were made casually over the course of a night. McDowell is here heard at his best, relaxed and energetic, performing many of his most famous songs as well as songs never before heard. With his foot tapping on the hardwood floor and laughter in the background, “Come and Found You Gone” brings the listener into that hot night in August, 1967, immersing them in the world of the blues house party, and guiding them through the night as it unfolded… The 18 track album includes a 16 page booklet featuring liner notes from blues researcher and Rolling Stone Magazine top 10 Professor Bill Ferris, Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, and leading French blues scholar Vincent Joos. This booklet also contains a dozen award-winning photographs taken by Bill Ferris in 1970 at Otha Turner’s 4th of July picnic in Potts Camp, Mississippi.

The SFC was proud to provide Devil Down with access to the original field recordings housed in the William R. Ferris Collection. You can stream tracks or purchase the CD at the Devil Down website.

All This For A Song

All this for a song We are  happy to announce the publication of Norm Cohen’s All This for a Song, the second volume in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Vernacular Music Reference Shelf series. All This for a Song gathers  together an important collection of sixteen case studies, originally published between 1895 and 2003, demonstrating the variety of approaches scholars have used in studying and analyzing American traditional songs and ballads. The volume also includes an extensive bibliography of more than 1,000 song, ballad, and tune studies published from the mid-19th century to the early 21st.

All This for a Song is currently available at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Bull’s Head Bookshop, or you can call the Bull’s Head at 919-962-5066 to order.

New “Dolly” Box Set Released

Dolly

Today Sony Legacy will be releasing a new Dolly Parton  box set, appropriately entitled “Dolly”. The four-CD, 99-track set is the first cross-label, career spanning Dolly Parton retrospective.

The Southern Folklife Collection was proud to provide Sony with remote access to the first two songs presented on this compilation, “Puppy Love” and “Girl Left Alone”, recorded in 1959 for Eddie Shuler’s Goldband Records by then thirteen-year-old Dolly Parton.

Listen to “Puppy Love”, from the original master tape (#FT-7670 in the Goldband Records Collection):

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New Sons of the Pioneers Box Set

wayoutthere2We recently received a copy of Way Out There: The Complete Recordings 1934-1943 (SFC CD-7810), the new Sons of the Pioneers/Roy Rogers box set from German label Bear Family Records. Bear Family boxes are always overstuffed with great material, and this one is no exception, with six CDs and a 160 page hardcover book featuring dozens of photographs and poster reproductions. SFC staff were happy to assist the folks at Bear Family with remote access to material from our 78 rpm record collection during the production of this set.

Listen to the Sons of the Pioneers performing “Way Out There” (from SFC 78-7047):

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The holdings of the SFC are particularly strong in Sons of the Pioneers material, most notably the Sons of the Pioneers Transcription Discs Collection, featuring many non-commercial recordings from the Lucky-U Ranch radio programs of the 1950′s, and the Elizabeth Drake McDonald Collection on the work of songwriter Bob Nolan.

“Give My Poor Heart Ease” Coming This Fall

give my poor heart easeUNC Press has announced a November 2009 publication date for Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices Of The Mississippi Blues, the new book/CD/DVD from UNC’s own Bill Ferris. From the Press:

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, folklorist William Ferris toured his home state of Mississippi, documenting the voices of African Americans as they spoke about and performed the diverse musical traditions that form the authentic roots of the blues. Illustrated with Ferris’s photographs of the musicians and their communities and including a CD of original music and a DVD of original film, this book features more than 20 interviews relating frank, dramatic, and engaging narratives about black life and blues music in the heart of the American South.

The CD/DVD is set to include narratives and performances from Fannie Bell Chapman, Scott Dunbar, James “Son” Thomas, B.B. King and more, personally selected by Bill Ferris from his extensive field recordings housed in the SFC’s William R. Ferris Collection.

UNC Press has put together a great website where you can watch video clips, get bonus material, and preorder your copy.