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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P1071_Southern Folklife Collection_John Edwards Memorial Foundation

Visualizing American Roots Music: THE BYRDS

P303

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.

Cataloger’s Corner

The SFC has recently cataloged over 1,000 CDs from Europe and Argentina, mostly re-issues of songs recorded during the 1930s-1940s. This means we are now one of the world’s largest repositories of recordings by:  Nazi-era singing sextets, British and German dance orchestras, French accordion virtuosi, and mid-century tango ensembles. Put into perspective, this includes 38 albums by Argentinean guitarist Oscar Alemán, 33 albums featuring the German singing troupe the Comedian Harmonists, and 25 albums featuring the French accordion master Will Glahé.

Last week we stumbled upon an anomaly among these historical reissues: a sampler from the Swiss label West Side Studios containing a rare track by the Swiss country group Monday Morning.

West Side Studios sampler

West Side Studios sampler

Monday Morning was, of course, fronted by vocalist and steel guitar wizard Helmut Schoeni, who sounds almost authentically Oklahoma-born in this cover of “Tulsa Straight Ahead.”

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Schoeni may be best known for his solo album Countreeeeeeeee Music (1999) or for his duo-album with Joe Schwach A New Tropical Breeze: Counga Infection (2003). “Tulsa Straight Ahead” gives us a perhaps wider glimpse into his musical range–and especially the ease with which he is able to approximate a “boogie” feeling. We are proud to now be able to provide access to this track, as well as to the other Swiss country gems featured on the West Side Studios sampler (CD-10421).

Track listing for West Side Studios sampler

Track listing for West Side Studios sampler

Visualizing American Roots Music: BUCK OWENS AND THE BUCKAROOS

P1157

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

P2091

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

P914

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

P1217

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.

 

Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert: Saturday, 23 March 2013

Tickets are still available for the last symposium and concert in the Southern Folklife Collection Instrument Series. The symposium is free to the public. The concert is $15 in advance or $19 at the door. More information below. We hope to see you Saturday.  Southern Folklife Collection Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert March 23, 2013

Southern Folklife Collection Presents “The Steel Guitar”
March 23, 2013
The ArtsCenter
300-G East Main Street, Carrboro
Ticket information: (919) 929-2787, ext. 201

Steel guitar music will be the focus of a concert and symposium at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, N.C. The Southern Folklife Collection in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library will sponsor the event on Saturday, March 23.

The symposium will begin at 2 p.m. with lectures by music scholars John Troutman, assistant professor of history and geography at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Tim Miller, a Ph.D. student in musicology at UNC. At 3 p.m., steel guitar artists Allyn Love and Cindy Cashdollar will demonstrate playing styles and techniques.

That evening, a concert at 8 p.m. will feature Chris Scruggs and His Steel Guitar, followed by Cindy Cashdollar with Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Concert tickets are required for the evening performances. Admission is $8 for ArtsCenter Friends and UNC students and employees, and $15 for others ($19 day of show).

The event is the third and final symposium/concert in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Instrument Series, which also featured tributes to the banjo and the fiddle. To learn more about the series, contact Liza Terll, liza_terll@unc.edu, (919) 548-1203.

Steel Guitar Serials in the Southern Folklife Collection

*Special guest post by Laura McPherson, UNC-SILS graduate student and SFC assistant*

As we wait with baited breath for the Southern Folklife Collection’s Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert [symposium is free to the public, tickets to the concert are available to purchase] to begin on Saturday, March 23, we’ve scoured our serials holdings to bring y’all some interesting items on the steel guitar, its history, and the musicians who love it.

Fretts_1963_vol5_steelguitarcover

Jerry Byrd and his steel guitar grace this cover of this 1963 issue of Fretts. The Southern Folklife Collection holds a number of Byrd’s recordings, including Admirable Byrd: The Steel Guitar Music of Jerry Byrd.

Fretts_1963_vol5_steelguitarjerrybyrd

 

Inside the magazine, an article penned by Byrd sets himself as the defendant in a courtroom drama where the prosecutor represents his fans, whose questions run the gamut from “amusing” to “accusing, and abusing.” Later in the article, Byrd claims that the steel guitar is the most controversial instrument and reacts to attempts to standardize the instrument, relegate its use to the genre of country music, and elevate technique above the musicians’s emotional expression.

 

The SFC also holds Volumes 1-3 of Steel Guitar World Magazine, whose tagline, “Just for the love of steel’en” (or steelin’, depending on the issue), can be seen below on this creative cover from the November 1992 issue.

SteelGuitarWorld_Nov1992_cover

 

SteelGuitarWorld_Nov1992_backcover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So whether you call it the pedal steel, slide steel, lap steel, dobro, or just plain steel guitar, swing by the Southern Folklife Collection to check out some of these marvelous magazines and join us on Saturday, March 23, at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro for the final event in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Instrument Series!