Ham, corn and fiddle tunes at Tommy Jarrell’s

20006_pf0081_0029_Alice Gerrard Collection (20006)_Southern Folklife CollectionBack in 2009 we wrote about a field recording, call no. FS8341 from the Alice Gerrard Collection, documenting the Christmas she and Andy Cahan spent with Tommy Jarrell and his daughter Dena in 1983. For those who are interested, they had chicken and “it was so fine.”

That’s not the only holiday recording in the Alice Gerrard Collection. FS8205 was made in 1981 when Alice and a few others, including old-time musician Rusty Neithammer, spent Thanksgiving with Tommy. They had ham, and also some corn, according to the tape.

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How many other holiday menus and recipes were recorded in the process of doing field work that are now held in Wilson Library at UNC? These recordings and thousands more are available for research in the Southern Folklife Collection. There was quite a bit of music at that Thanksgiving celebration, listen to Jarrell’s solo banjo version of “Let Me Fall” and then Rusty Neithammer and Tommy Jarrell twin fiddle one of my favorites, “Rockingham Cindy.”

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The Southern Folklife Collection is thankful to be able to share this with all of you out there. Happy Thanksgiving.

Turkey time at the Southern Folklife Collection

We recognize that some of you might prefer an entrée other than the noble bird when feasting on Thursday. Perhaps, like Curly Ray Cline, you’d rather serve the noble pig and we would not begrudge your decision, just as we would support our vegan folk compatriots with extra helpings of dairy-free pumpkin pie and whip up a casserole for the National Day of Mourning.

I wonder about Curly Ray’s pork preference because he is a personal friend of Dr. Ralph Stanley, and everyone knows, Dr. Stanley can call up some turkeys whenever he pleases. You can learn from the Doctor himself, documented on the record above, call no. FC8559 in the Southern Folklife Collection. Listen:

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Truth is, we at the SFC duly honor the bird (there are at least 148 different versions of “Turkey in the Straw” in the Collection), but perhaps not as much as the legendary steel guitarist, Red Rhodes**, whose “Great American Thunder Turkey” from his 1979 release on Ashire Records Steel Guitar, call no. FC14363, has become the soundtrack to our archival lives.

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**SFC Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert coming up March 25, but before that the Fiddle Symposium and Concert is right around the corner on January 11 and 12. see Link for more details.