We ain't afraid of no…Happy Halloween from the Southern Folklife Collection

78_8747_Jole Blons Ghost_78_3979_Tennessee Hill_Billy Ghost_78_0949_Look Out for the Ghost, Red_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel HillGhosts, haints, spirits, phantoms, specters, apparitions, poltergeists, phantasms, banshees, you name it, we are ready for you at the Soutehrn Folklife Collection. For your Halloween listening pleasure, we pulled out some of our favorite ghost tunes from our 78 rpm disc collection.78_10655_BlueGhostBlues_78_10638_Lonesome Ghost Blues_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel Hill
First up, Wayne Raney with “Jolie Blon’s Ghost” from 78-8747, the Tune Wranglers with “Look out for the Ghost, Red” from 78-0949, and the great Red Foley with the Anita Kerr Singers doing “Tennessee Hill-billy Ghost” from 78-3979. But that’s not all, it wouldn’t be Halloween if we didn’t haunt your dreams with Lonnie Johnson’s “Blue Ghost Blues” and “Lonesome Ghost Blues” from 78-10655 and 78-10638.
Wayne Raney:78_8747_1. “Joll Blon’s Ghost,” Wayne Raney, King Record Co., Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
The Tune Wranglers “78_949_2”. “Look Out for the Ghost, Red-Fox Trot,” The Tune Wranglers, Bluebird Records, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
Red Foley and the Anita Kerr Singers:“78_6855_1”. “Tennessee Hill-Billy Ghost,” Red Foley with Anita Kerr Singers, Decca Records, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Lonnie Johnson “Blue Ghost Blues”“78_10655_2”. “Blue Ghost Blues,” Lonnie Johnson, Okeh Electric, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
“Lonesome Ghost Blues”“78_10638_2”. “Lonesome Ghost Blues,” Lonnie Johnson, Okeh Electric, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill

This Week: A Haunted Hell or High Water

Tune in this Sunday from 1-2pm for a special holiday edition of Hell or High Water on WXYC. In honor of Halloween this Saturday and Mexico’s El Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) on Sunday, we’ll be playing the YepRoc Records compilation album, Mondo Zombie Boogaloo (CD-13839), which features The Fleshtones, Southern Culture on the Skids, and Los Straitjackets.
Get into the spooky spirit for the most haunted weekend of the year with songs like “Haunted Hipster,” “Goo Goo Muck,” and “Dracula a Gogo.”
You can listen via 89.3FM or on the web at <http://www.wxyc.org/listen/>.

Lessons from the Ghosts of Saint Simons

BF1472.U6 G48 1970z_Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old Saint Simons_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel HillBF1472.U6 G48 1970z_Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old Saint Simons_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel HillWe were lucky to find this short manuscript of stories and superstitions collected by Burnette Vanstory from the sea island of Saint Simons off the coast of Georgia just in time for Halloween (call no. BF1472.U6 G48 1970z). Vanstory lived on Saint Simons for over 40 years, publishing one of of the first histories of the Georgia coast, Georgia’s Land of the Golden Isles. Along with the delightful illustrations featured here, Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old Saint Simons, features six short stories, including “The Ghosts of Ebo Landing” in which hundreds of enslaved Africans from the Ibo tribe from southeastern Nigeria drowned themselves in Dunbar Creek while singing and chanting in solidarity rather than become slaves.
“The Ghost with the Long Arms” warns travelers from looking too long into the twisted branches of a the liveoak trees, mistaking a haunting apparition for the Spanish moss waving in the wind with terrifying results and the legend of Mary de Wanda (or “Mary the Wanderer”) who roams the banks of the Frederica River searching for her love lost in the hurricane of 1824
BF1472.U6 G48 1970z_Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old Saint Simons_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel Hill
The final four pages, “Superstitions of Old St. Simons,” include the most important information, and if you pay attention, information that may well just save your life. You will have to visit the library to examine all of the techniques and methods of protection from supernatural forces and evil curses. Note well what a “smutty-nosed cat” can do for you and remember “A sassafras root carried in the pocket guarded against illness.”BF1472.U6 G48 1970z_Ghost Stories and Superstitions of Old Saint Simons_Southern Folklife Collection_The Wilson Library_UNC Chapel Hill

78s of the Week: Red Barn / White Church

78_11457_78_14323_Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill
While pulling materials for a class instruction session, we came across these two strikingingly similar labels on 78s. Interested to know more, we did some research and found both labels were founded in the late 1940s in Chicago by former hillbilly comic Delbert “Deb” Dyer (for more details, see the always informative Hillbilly Researcher). He soon moved White Church offices from Chicago to Kansas in 1947 and eventually moved Red Barn there as well.
Odis “Pops” Echols was an original member of the original Stamps Quartet (aka Stamps Melody Boys), one of many white-gospel quartets supported by the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company based in Dallas, Texas. His career took him across the country many times, from Chatanooga to Lubbock, Little Rock, Louisville, Los Angeles, and eventually Clovis, New Mexico. He formed many different iterations of the “Melody Boys,” including the one featured on the Red Barn record above which performed a mix of western music and gospel tunes.
The Blackwood Brothers remain a hugely popular gospel singing group. The original quartet was founded in Choctaw, Mississippi in 1934 by brothers Doyle Blackwood, James Blackwood, Roy Blackwood and his son, R. W. Blackwood. Like the Melody Boys, the Blackwood Brothers were affiliated with Stamps-Baxter and were featured on the radio out of Shenendoah, Iowa in the 1940s when they began recording for Dyer’s White Church label. With their post-WWII careers taking off, the Blackwoods left White Church and founded their own Blackwood Brothers label in 1948.
Dyer left White Church in 1949, but remained active with Red Barn until at least 1952. For a sample of the Red Barn / White Church sound, listen to Odis Echols and his Melody Boys from 78_11457 and the Blackwood Brothers from 78_14323 below.
78_11457_1_Odis Echols and his Melody Boys
78_14323_1, Blackwood Bros. Quartet, “Won’t We Be Happy” Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill

This Week on Hell or High Water: Dave Van Ronk

Dave Van Ronk, concert sponsored by Anvil Magazine, 9 May 1958, photo by Ray Sullivan of Photo-Sound Associates, Ron Cohen Collection (20239), Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill

This Sunday on Hell or High Water, 1 to 2 pm, WXYC and the Southern Folklife Collection will be serving up some classic folk tunes from folk legend and king of Greenwich Village, Dave Van Ronk.
Tune in to hear some blues-, jazz-, and gospel-inspired folk from the man who served as an inspiration to likes of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
You can listen on 89.3FM, or via online stream at http://www.wxyc.org/listen/.

This Week on Hell or High Water…


Special post from “Hell or High Water” coordinator and SFC student Employee, Katherine Hjerpe

Greetings Southern Folklife followers and enthusiasts!
For those of you who don’t already know, every Sunday at 1PM on WXYC-Chapel Hill 89.3FM, “Hell or High Water” features music from the stacks of the Southern Folklife Collection archives in The Wilson Library.
This past weekend, I took a trip home to Connnecticut, home of Grateful Dead-themed music festival Gathering of the Vibes, and the old Dead records of my dad’s I picked up from  my grandmother’s house. Inspired, I looked into the SFC archives to prepare for this week’s broadcast.    

The SFC holds a number of unique Dead recordings (including The Golden Road pictured above and CD-9047 in our collection), as well as one of our favorite short-lived side projects of Jerry Garcia called Old & In The Way. Recorded in 1973, their self-titled album, call number FC-4257, was released on Durham’s own Sugar Hill Records in 1975  

The 5-piece group includes Garcia on vocals and banjo, mandolinist David Grisman, Peter Rowan on guitar and vocals, Vassar Clements on fiddle, and John Kahn on bass. Aside from Kahn, who is still featured as a musician on several albums, the Southern Folklife Collection also has a number of other recordings spanning the careers of members of Old and In the Way.
img009Showcasing the members country-bluegrass roots, the music of Old and in the Way is steeped in string band tradition, with just a little rock n roll, of course. Besides the self-titled debut, the supergroup released a good deal of live material — That High Lonesome Sound and Breakdown. All recordings are from 1973. Tune in to WXYC this Wednesday to hear songs from both volumes.
As a group, they perform traditional bluegrass songs, more popular covers including “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones, and plenty of originals. We hope you’ll tune in this Sunday to hear this aspect of our collection first-hand on WXYC! Start off your afternoon feelin’ fine with Hell or High Water.

Fall Break: Autumn in New York



As the weary students here at UNC-Chapel Hill celebrate and travel for the long weekend otherwise known as Fall Break, the Southern Folklife Collection remains open and active, inside Wilson Library at the base of the quad. To celebrate this mid-semester moment of repose, we dug through the stacks for some seasonal accompaniment, a few of the many versions of the 1934 Duke Vernon song, “Autumn in New York,” a popular destination for UNC students this weekend but a $35 Chinatown bus ride away.
Originally composed for the musical “Thumbs Up!” back in the 1930’s, the song is a jazz standard appearing on countless records and namesaking others, such as the 1956 Verve release by Greensboro’s own jazz guitarist Tal Farlow (FC-24443 in the UNC Library Catalog). Included below is an excerpt of the recording.
FC_24443_3, Autumn in New York, Tal Farlow, Southern Folklife Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill
Farlow’s guitar rendition may be one of the most popular, but one of our favoirites is probably this1976 by saxophonist Dexter Gordon, FC-19092 in our catalog.
FC_19092_5, Autumn in New York, Dexter Gordon, Southern Folklife Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill
Philadelphia jazz pianist Kenny Barron’s 1985 version is equally nostalgic, FC-24615. FC_24615_2, Autumn in New York, Kenny Barron, Southern Folklife Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill
Enjoy the Autumn weekend wherever you may be.

Have you heard the "Rain Song"?

Fellow inhabitants of the Southeast United States will be listening to the rain for a few more days now, and with the potential flooding, danger and damage that are likely to follow, the pitter patter of raindrops is not the most welcome of sounds. On this soggy day, we picked out one of the earliest recorded rain songs we could find issued on 78 rpm. Issued in 1911 by Victor Recording Co. and performed by soprano Elizabeh Wheeler, this “Rain Song” was part of the curriculum for first, second, and third grades, as outlined in the Modern Primer published by Silver, Burdett, & Co. in the early 20th century. Mrs. Wheeler’s affection for rain as expressed in the song are likely not widely shared by North and South Carolinians at this time, but perhaps it may serve as a brief respite from the deluge.78_16182
Elizabeth Wheeler was a vocal instructor and recording artist who appears on over 180 sides recorded for Victor as a solo artist, in a duet with her husband Wlliam Wheeler, and with the Victor Light Opera Company. This particular 78 rpm disc, call number 78-16182 , stood out because it also features a locked groove between the “A Dew Drop” and “Rain Song” on the A-side. If you would like to hear more rain songs, feel free to make a request. See the UNC Library Catalog here for a list.