“Every Sincere Wish,” a rather open ended valediction, is what Hank Snow wanted for the recipient of this autographed photo, call no. P1600 from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection (#20001). Perhaps he hoped that all their wishes might be granted, that all their dreams might come true? We like to think that Clarence Eugene “Hank” Snow was offering to grant the wishes himself, but with the caveat that they must be “sincere,” and pity the fool who tried to get one over on the “Singing Ranger.” Despite the lack of specificity, we agree with the sentiment and we extend it on to you via this great Canadian-American country music star from his Rainbow Ranch in Tennessee.
It’s been a busy fall at the SFC and we want to offer our thanks to all the participants–musicians, speakers, audience members, students, and staff–who contributed to the great success of the Southern Folklife Collection tribute concert and symposium in honor of blues legend Reverend Gary Davis. Stay tuned for upcoming information on our third concert in the SFC blues tribute series, this one dedicated to the legendary Son House.
Since many will be celebrating this coming holiday with a roasted bird, we thought it only appropriate to offer a version of “Turkey in the Straw” for your listening pleasure. This recording by the great King, NC fiddler Ralph McGee comes from open reel tape FT-12000, Tape 3 recorded at the 8th Annual Blue Grass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Veteran’s Park, Mount Airy, NC, 2 June 1979. Part of the Ralph Epperson Collection (#20401), this recording features fiddler McGee bowing with a toothpick. Maybe some of you fiddlers out there want to give it a shot this weekend after a good meal. Let us know how it works out.
Call no. FT-12000, “Turkey in the Straw” by Ralph McGee at the 8th Annual Mount Airy Blue Grass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention, 2 June 1979
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jorma Kaukonen will headline a Nov. 17 tribute concert and symposium in honor of blues legend Reverend Gary Davis. Schedule and information follows at the end of this post.
The Southern Folklife Collection and the Friends of the Library will sponsor the evening devoted to the master of finger-style guitar who influenced musicians such as Blind Boy Fuller, Taj Mahal, and Bob Dylan.
The 7:30pm concert will feature musicians who studied with Davis or were directly inspired by him, including Hot Tuna and former Jefferson Airplane member Jorma Kaukonen, Stefan Grossman, and Ernie Hawkins. Tickets to the concert can be purchased from the Carolina Union Box Office.
Prior to the concert, a free public symposium will take place in Wilson Library. At 5:30 p.m., blues scholar Elijah Wald will give a keynote lecture on Davis’s life and music. A panel discussion at 6:30 will include Kaukonen, Grossman, and Hawkins.
Wald, a musician and writer, has written for The Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times, and his books include How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music (Oxford University Press, 2009), The Blues: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2010), and Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues (Amistad, 2004). In 2001, he won a Grammy award for his liner notes for The Arhoolie Records 40th Anniversary Collection: The Journey of Chris Strachwitz 1960-2000.
The concert is the second event in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Blues Legacy Series. A third event is planned for Feb. 2012 for Eddie James “Son” House.
Davis was born in 1896 in Laurens, S.C., and lost his vision before adulthood. He moved to Durham, N.C., in the 1920s, and worked with a number of musicians in the Piedmont blues scene. In 1933, he became an ordained minister of the Washington, N.C., Free Baptist Connection Church. His best-known songs include “Baby, Can I follow You Down,” “Candy Man,” and “Samson and Delilah.”
The Southern Folklife Collection is fortunate to hold a variety of recordings and materials related to Rev. Gary Davis, including FT-4600 from the Bob Carlin Collection (#20050). This open reel audio tape features a young Carlin interviewing one mentor (and former camp counselor) Roy Book Binder, a friend, student, and chauffeur of Gary Davis. The interview includes live concert recordings of Davis and Book Binder offering contextual information and sharing his personal experiences with Davis.
FT_4600_Roy Book Binder interviewed by Bob Carlin, WBRC New Milford, Connecticut, Summer 1969Symposium, Wilson Special Collections Library, (Free and open to the public)
5 p.m. Reception
5:30 p.m. Keynote with Elijah Wald
6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion with Jorma Kaukonen, Stefan Grossman, and Ernie HawkinsConcert, Student Union, Great Hall, with Jorma Kaukonen, Stefan Grossman, and Ernie Hawkins
Purchase concert tickets from Carolina Union Box Office, ($5 for students; $12.50 for others)Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203
Another item from our upcoming exhibit. This Vogue picture disc, catalog number R764 (according to this excellent discography), features Shep Fields and his Orchestra (also known as Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra) performing Sunny Skylar and Patrick Lewis’s hit song “Whatta ya Gonna Do!” and everybody’s favorite “I Guess I’ll Get the Papers (and go home).” The image is attributed only to the mysterious “Sprink,” an illustrator who painted many of the Vogue discs and we now know was the artist Walter F. Sprink.
Vogue picture discs were made from May 1946 until April 1947 by Sav-Way Industries, Inc. of Detroit, Michigan. According to the history compiled by the now defunct Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, Sav-Way CEO Tom Saffady and his engineers developed a new and complicated manufacturing process to ensure 78 rpm discs that were not only aesthetically beautiful but also hi-fidelity audio. Most of the Vogue records feature post-war big band jazz orchestras, but a few include blues and even some country from those famed Sweethearts of Country Music, North Carolina’s own Lulu Belle and Scotty (nee Myrtle Eleanor Cooper and Scotty Greene Wiseman), and Patsy Montana.
The exhibit opens this Thursday, October 20th, as part of a celebration of the UNC Music Library 75th Anniversary.
The exhibit Curating Sound: 75 Years of Music Collections at UNC will open with a keynote address at 5:45 p.m. by Dr. Tim Carter, the David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music at UNC, titled “Adventures of an Archive Rat, or How Kurt Weill Came to Chapel Hill in May 1936.”
At 6:30 p.m. will be a concert titled “From Early to Old-Time: A Concert of Music from the Collections.” UNC students, music library staff members, and community musicians will perform music in four genres: Irish traditional, Baroque, early rockabilly, and old-time.
Curating Sound features original publications and artifacts from the Music Library and the Wilson Special Collections Library and will be on view through Jan. 31, 2012.
We hope to see you on Thursday, October 20.
On Thursday October 20, 2011, the UNC Music Library will celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary with the opening of an exhibition in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Room on the third floor of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. The exhibition, entitled “Curating Sound: 75 Years of Music Collections at UNC” will feature materials from the Music Library, the Southern Folklife Collection, and the Southern Historical Collection of the University Library. On display will be items as diverse as Palestrina prints, libretti from the Florentine Camerata, Lully manuscripts, historic sound recordings, rare concert posters, and even Andy Griffith’s guitar.
The exhibition will open with a reception at 5 pm, a keynote address by Prof. Tim Carter, the David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music, and a short concert featuring works from the collection, including ensembles performing English baroque, Old-time stringband, early rockabilly, and Irish traditional music.
While looking for items to contribute from the Southern Folklife Collection, these two 7-inch 45 rpm records (above and below) caught our eye and seemed worthy of further exploration. Above is the cover to Chants au pied de l’Annapurna [Chants at the foot of Annapurna], field recordings from central Nepal by Rene de Milleville–a french writer who lived in Nepal, specializing in the study of rhododendrons and orchids of the region. The following is a sample of the track “Sitarané” from side A.
“Sitarané” performed by musicians from central Nepal
From closer to home in the John D. Loudermilk Collection (#20148), we found a 45 rpm record from Chapel Hill’s own Colonial Records, owned and operated by Orville B. Campbell. Johnny Dee, the first recording moniker of country great John D. Loudermilk, was a student at Campbell College when he recorded “A-plus In Love.” featuring Joe Tanner on the guitar. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives blog, A View To Hugh, has an excellent article on Loudermilk, and for a few more tracks see this Field Trip South post from two years ago. More information and updates on the exhibit to come, but for now, enjoy a little Johnny Dee.
“A-Plus In Love” by Johnny Dee
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”
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”
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 1882-1983, call 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.
**click photo to enlarge**
World renowned fiddler Kenneth Clayton Baker of Jenkins, Kentucky passed away on July 8, 2011. Master of the “long bow” style of bluegrass fiddling, Baker joined up with Bill Monroe in 1957, becoming the longest lasting member of The Bluegrass Boys when he left the group in 1984. Best known as a bluegrass fiddler, Baker’s reputation as a musician reached far beyond bluegrass into swing, country, and beyond, earning him a National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1993. Baker’s influence on American music is immeasurable.
We are fortunate to hold a wide array of Baker’s recordings a the Southern Folklife Collection spanning his entire career, including his fantastic solo LPs of fiddle tunes recorded for the County label in the 1970s, like Dry and Dusty, call no. FC_4221, pictured above. The Becky Johnson Collection (#20405) includes some wonderfully candid performance photos of Baker and countless other bluegrass heroes, and the always astounding collection of materials assembled by the late Mike Seeger includes priceless recordings of performances by Baker and his fellow Bluegrass Boys.
While scanning through Seeger’s recordings, we came across a bluegrass fiddling workshop hosted by Seeger at Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom festival, 21 June 1969, call no. FT_12857. In the two clips below, Baker first expresses his love for the fiddling of legendary jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, and in the second, we are treated to Baker’s rendition of the classic fiddle tune “Fisher’s Hornpipe.” May he rest in peace.
Kenny Baker, workshop at Bean Blossom, 21 June 1969
Kenny Baker, “Fisher’s Hornpipe,” live at Bean Blossom, 21 June 1969
Did you ever wonder which songs will live forever? We hadn’t ever really thought about it, but then we came across this January 1953 copy of a magazine by the Charlton Publishing Corporation that answered the question that we didn’t know we had twice every month. For just $0.25 this information could have been yours.
Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios (#30006): Songs That Will Live Forever, Vol. X, no. 1, Charlton Pub. Corp: Derby, Conn, January 1953.
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.
“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.
A recent patron inquiry about Chester Randle’s Soul Sender’s got us digging through the masters in the Goldband Recording Corporation Collection, 1930-1995 (#20245) to find this open reel tape of Soul Sender’s alternate takes and practice jams. These tracks are rough and the arrangements are only just coming together, but Randle’s heavily distorted guitar cuts through the mud-sludge bass while Milford Scott’s hammond B-3 organ practically pours over the raw funk of Bill Parker’s drumbeat. The full weight of Lake Charles’ humid swamp air lays heavy on this boogie. Sounds great to us.
There are three different versions of each “Sweet Potato” and “Soul Brother’s Testify” on FT-6694. Unlike the final versions, these rehearsal tapes do not feature horns as part of the ensemble. It’s great to hear the band try on licks and solos, developing the lyrics and arrangements, and laying down some seriously noisy sounds. These tracks eventually saw release on Eddie Shuler’s ANLA imprint. “Soul Brother’s Testify, parts 1 and 2,” (ANLA 102) is a sought after release by funk and soul record collectors and the opening breakbeat has been heavily sampled by hip hop artists. For more information on ANLA releases in the collection see the Goldband finding aid, the SFC Goldband online exhibit, and the list below, but for now, some music.
– “Sweet Potato,” take 3, intro
– “Sweet Potato,” take 2, guitar solo
– “Soul Brother’s Testify,” take 3, intro
– “Soul Brother’s Testify,” take 3, end
The Soul Sender’s ensemble appears on recordings under a few different names with only slight variation–The Original Soul Sender’s, Charles Randle’s Soul Sender’s, sometimes without apostrophes. Guitarist Charles Randle performed with Bill Parker, Milford Scott, and likely the unknown musicians as well, in a variety of groups like Clarence Garlow & His Accordion and the Chester Randle Orchestra. Bill Parker was himself a local R&B star in the early 1960s with his Showboat Band, a group that also occasionally featured young guitarist Chester Randle. Parker recorded numerous other sides for ANLA and Goldband and eventually founded his own Showboat Records.
Eddie Shuler started ANLA in the 1960s to feature soul and R&B artists from South Louisiana and East Texas as an extension of the blues, cajun, swamp pop, and zydeco music he released on his Goldband Record label. Shuler founded Goldband in the 1940s initially to release country, cajun, and western swing records, including those by his own band, the All Star Reveliers. In the early 1950s, Shuler bought an old holiness Church at 313 Church Street in north Lake Charles, Louisiana and developed the Goldband Complex, including a recording studio, record shop, and Shuler’s television repair business, Eddie’s Quick Service TV.
Shuler recorded regional artists for a regional market, distributing the recordings from the back of his car to record stores and to jukebox operators who placed the records on jukeboxes leased to local clubs, dancehalls, and restaurants. Shuler had an ear for talent and for the changing tastes of his audience, building an impressive roster of artists over the years, including the first recordings of legendary Cajun accordionist Iry LeJune, the first hit record by then 13 year old Dolly Parton, Rockin’ Sidney, Boozoo Chavis, Cookie and the Cupcakes, and Cleveland Crochet, whose 1961 recording “Sugar Bee” became the first Cajun tune to break the Billboard Top 100. Shuler’s accomplishments and struggles in the music industry are too many to list here, but for one of the best written histories the music of South Louisiana, see John Broven’s 1983 book South to Louisiana: the music of the Cajun bayous.
Original/Chester Randle’s Soul Senders materials in the Southern Folklife Collection include both 45 rpm records and open reel tape. Follow the following link for more information on the materials listed below, Goldband Recording Corporation Collection, 1930-1995 (#20245):
45-8083, ANLA AL-102, “Soul Brother’s Testify”/”Soul Brother’s Testify”
45-8085 ANLA AL-118. “Low Blow, Part I”/”Low Blow, Part II”
45-8088 ANLA AN-105. “Take a Little Nip”/”Why did I let you go,”
Open reels: FT-6694; FT-6695; FT-7031; FT-7758; FT-7774; FT-7861; FT-7896; FT-7933; and FT-7968.