SFC Spotlight: Curating Sound and Seven Inch Records

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 Sitarane`

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 A-Plus In Love_Johnny Dee

John D. Loudermilk’s Tobacco Road

tobaccoroadOur friends downstairs at the North Carolina Collection’s A View to Hugh blog have a wonderful post up about singer/songwriter and North Carolina native John D. Loudermilk, featuring some fine candid photographs by Hugh Morton. Author David Meincke touches briefly on the dozens of artists who have recorded Loudermilk’s most famous composition, “Tobacco Road”, which inspired us to post a few additional “Tobacco Road” clips from our John D. Loudermilk Collection.

Allmusic.com lists over four dozen artists as having recorded the song, and even their database is missing a couple, including this unexpectedly funky 1978 version by Richie Lecea (SFC 45-5754): richie_lecea_tobacco_road

And this 1961 take from England’s Johnny Duncan and the Blue Grass Boys (SFC 45-5753): johnny_duncan_tobacco_road

Another English group, the misleadingly named Nashville Teens (pictured), made “Tobacco Road” a top-20 hit on both sides of the pond in 1964. You can watch them lip sync it on television here.

Loudermilk wrote other hit songs (“A Rose and a Baby Ruth”, “Indian Reservation”), but “Tobacco Road” will likely remain his most lasting contribution to American popular culture. If you have a favorite version, please share in the comments.