More photos of the week: Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs with the Foggy Mountain Boys

Life as a country musician has never been easy and Earl Scruggs spent grueling years on the road in the late 1940s pioneering the bluegrass sound with fellow road warriors Bill Monroe, Chubby Wise, Howard Watts, and Lester Flatt. After Flatt and Scruggs left the Blue Grass Boys in 1948, the popularity of Bluegrass music began to grow and through the resourceful management of Louise Certain, soon to be Louise Scruggs, the band secured the sponsorship of Martha White Flour and what was hopefully a more comfortable means of transportation. Still between radio performances, recording sessions, and live shows, the band often performed multiple times per day. The image below features The Foggy Mountain Boys on an unknown stage in the 1950s.


SFC Photo of the Week: Mike Seeger and Elizabeth Cotten

Another image from the Mike from the Mike Seeger Collection, this time playing guitar with his dear friend, Chapel Hill’s beloved Libba Cotten, in 1978 or 1979.
Join us tonight, March 23, 2012, in Wilson Library on UNC’s campus for a discussion and concert in celebration of the life and work of musician, documentarian, and scholar Mike Seeger.

SFC Photo of the Week: Mike Seeger

We wanted to share a few photos from the Mike Seeger Collection in advance of the tribute concert and lecture on Friday, March 23. The image above, featuring Seeger recording William Bragg along with a group of interested students, was captured in Widen, West Virginia by Alice Gerrard in 1967.
Gerrard will perform at the tribute concert along with Ginny Hawker and Mike Seeger’s former band mates from the New Lost City Ramblers, John Cohen and Tracy Schwarz.

Music from the True Vine: A Tribute to Mike Seeger

The life of the late musician, documentarian, and scholar Mike Seeger will be celebrated with a tribute concert and lecture at the Wilson Special Collections Libraryon March 23, 2012.
Seeger, co-founder of the folk revival group the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009. He was a member of the famous Seeger folk family, along with musician siblings Pete and Peggy Seeger and their musicologist parents Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger.
The 6:30 p.m. concert will feature musicians who performed with or were influenced by Seeger: John Cohen (a co-founder of the Ramblers), Alice GerrardGinny Hawker, andTracy Schwarz.
Prior to the concert, historian and author Bill C. Malone will give a 5:30 p.m. lecture on his new biography, Music from the True VineMike SeegerLife & Musical Journey (UNC Press, 2011). At 6 p.m., Malone will moderate a panel discussion with the concert performers.
Malone, an emeritus professor of history at Tulane University, is known for his studies of Southern folk and country music. Music from the True Vine presents Seeger as a gatekeeper of American roots music and culture, showing why generations of musicians and fans of traditional music regard him as a mentor and an inspiration.
Seeger recorded almost forty albums and was nominated for six Grammy Awards, including three for solo work. He also interviewed and produced field recordings of traditional musicians. The National Endowment for the Arts honored him with a National Heritage Fellowshipin 2009.
The program is sponsored by the Southern Folklife Collection in Wilson Library, which holds the collected papers of Mike Seeger, as well as those of Gerrard and Malone. The Friends of the Library and UNC Press are program co-sponsors.
Books will be available for sale and signing, courtesy of the Bull’s Head Bookshop.
Please join us.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Wilson Special Collections Library, Pleasants Family Assembly Room
5:30 p.m. Lecture by Bill C. Malone
6 p.m. Panel discussion with Bill C. Malone, John Cohen, Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker, and Tracy Schwarz
6:30 p.m. Concert featuring John Cohen, Alice Gerrard, Ginny Hawker, and Tracy Schwarz
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza TerllFriends of the Library, (919) 548-1203


SFC Spotlight: On Texas and March 2

Even after almost ten years living in North Carolina, whenever March 2 rolls around, also known as Texas Independence Day, my thoughts inevitably return to the Lone Star State where I was born and raised. Despite the mythology, misinterpretations, and misinformation surrounding the Texas Revolution, something about the story of Anglo and Tejano delegates joining together to so recklessly adopt the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos while General Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón and his troops prepared to take the Alamo has stuck in my head since I first heard the stories in kindergarten. Unlike July 4, I don’t really think of Texas Independence Day as a day of celebration, but rather a day to reflect on the messy and fascinating history of all Texans. Texas independence from Mexico did not benefit the Tejano and Mexican residents of Texas as much as it did the recent Anglo colonists and helped establish a legacy of discrimination that continues to this day, 176 years later. Texas independence also meant the legalization of slavery, outlawed at that time in Mexico, for another 30 years. Still, wandering through the stacks this morning, my mind turned to the sounds of central Texas, well represented in the Southern Folklife Collection, so I pulled a few records to share with you good readers.

First up is Saturday Night in San Antonio, a 1982 Folkways LP, by Los Polkeros, a duo of Ben Tavera King on three-row button accordion and guitarist Frank Corrales on guitar. A fantastic slab of classic conjunto compositions, the guitar work of Corrales is superb on these recordings. The guitar fell out of favor with conjunto groups in the 1950s, replaced in the typical ensemble by the bajo sexto, but Corrales persisted in the old style of pre-war conjunto guitar accompaniment and his talent for melodic flourishes complimenting the accordion make Los Polkeros’ version of the Santiago Jimenez Sr. composition “Viva Seguin” stand out among the many different recordings of that tune. FC453_Viva Seguin as performed by Los Polkeros
Another favorite, also from central Texas, is the Czech tinged western swing of Aldoph Hofner and his San Antonians [see 78 rpm disc pictured above]. Recorded in 1942, their version of “Alamo Steel Serenade” features the singular steel guitar stylings of Adoph’s brother, Emil Hofner, on the lap steel guitar. Emil, given the nickname “Bash,” played the steel harder and heavier than any of his contemporaries [just listen to the clips below], bending his leads and melodies around the rest of the band’s rhythm driven dance music. 78_4900_178_4900_278_4900_3