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Showing posts with label Alan Lomax. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Lomax. Show all posts

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Alan Lomax's man-on-the-street interviews the day after Pearl Harbor featured in Smithsonian program

 Howlin' Wuelf Media

The Smithsonian Channel announced the debut of "The Lost Tapes: Pearl Harbor," a look at the historic attack on United States military forces that brought the country into World War II. This program uses a wealth of original audio and film sources, much of it never available to the public before including folklorist Alan Lomax's man-on-the-street interviews the day after the attack. These particular interviews have not been featured in any other documentary, although other ones from Lomax are online.

The Smithsonian's site says:

"President Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, 'a date which will live in infamy,' a quote that would become one of the most famous in American history. In fact, the attack on Pearl Harbor inspired several powerful public statements, but many of them have never been heard before, until now. Take an unprecedented look at this tragic day entirely through news reports, public statements, recently declassified documents, and footage recorded in the days before, during, and after the event that shook the world."

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Call - Othar Turner and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band

Othar Turner's Rising Star Fife & Drum band (Turner, fife; G.D. Young, bass drum; E.P. Burton, snare; Eddie Ware, snare) play "the call" to picnic night at Othar's farm. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long in Gravel Springs, Mississippi, August 1978. Othar "Otha" Turner (June 2, 1907 – February 26, 2003) was one of the last well-known fife players in the vanishing American fife and drum blues tradition. He was born in Madison County, Mississippi, and lived his entire life in northern Mississippi as a farmer, where in 1923, aged 16, he learned to play fifes fashioned out of rivercanes. Turner's Rising Star Fife and Drum Band (which consisted of friends and relatives) primarily played at farm parties. They began to receive wider recognition in the 1990s. They appeared on Mississippi Blues in Memphis Vol. 1 in 1993, followed by inclusion in many other blues collections. They released their own critically acclaimed album Everybody Hollerin' Goat in 1998. This was followed by From Senegal to Senatobia in 1999, which combined bluesy fife and drum music with musicians credited as "the Afrossippi Allstars". The title, Everybody Hollerin' Goat, refers to a tradition Turner began in the late 1950s of hosting Labor Day picnics where he would personally butcher and cook a goat in an iron kettle, and his band would provide musical entertainment. The picnics began as a neighborhood and family gathering; it grew over the years to attract musical fans, first from Memphis, Tennessee, and later from all over the world. The song, "Shimmy She Wobble", from Everybody Hollerin' Goat was featured in the 2002 film, Gangs of New York. Martin Scorsese, the film's director, featured Turner in his 2003 PBS mini-series The Blues as a link between African rhythms and American blues. The concept was continued on the 2003 album Mississippi to Mali by Corey Harris. The album was dedicated to Turner, who died a week before he was scheduled to record for the album. His granddaughter and protégé Shardé Thomas, then 12 years old, filled in for the recording sessions. Othar Turner died in Gravel Springs, Mississippi, aged 95, on February 26, 2003. His daughter, Bernice Turner Pratcher, who had been living in a nursing home for some time suffering from breast cancer, died the same day, aged 48. A joint funeral service was held on March 4, 2003, in Como, Mississippi. A procession leading to the cemetery was led by the Rising Star and Fife Band, with Shardé Thomas, then 13 years old, at its head playing the fife.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Tribute to Alan Lomax on his day of birth - Screening Room with Alan Lomax (1975)

Alan Lomax (January 31, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was an American folklorist and ethnomusicologist. He was one of the great field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, recording thousands of songs in the United States, Great Britain, Ireland, the Caribbean, Italy, and Spain.

In his later career, Lomax advanced his theories of Cantometrics, the sampling and statistical analysis of folk music, with the help of collaborators Victor Grauer and Roswell Rudd.
Lomax was the son of pioneering folklorist and author John A. Lomax, with whom he started his career by recording songs sung by sharecroppers and prisoners in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Because of frail health he was mostly home schooled, but attended The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) for a year, graduating in 1930 at age 15.[1] He enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 1930 and the following year studied philosophy at Harvard but upon his mother's death interrupted his education to console his father and join him on his folk song collecting field trips. He subsequently earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Texas and later did graduate studies with Melville J. Herskovits at Columbia University and with Ray Birdwhistell at the University of Pennsylvania.

From 1937 to 1942, Lomax was Assistant in Charge of the Archive of Folk Song of the Library of Congress to which he and his father and numerous collaborators contributed more than ten thousand field recordings. During his lifetime, he collected folk music from the United States, Haiti, the Caribbean, Ireland, Great Britain, Spain, and Italy, assembling a treasure trove of American and international culture.

A pioneering oral historian, he also recorded substantial interviews with many legendary folk musicians, including Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Irish singer Margaret Barry, Scots ballad singer Jeannie Robertson, and Harry Cox of Norfolk, England, among many others. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor he took his recording machine into the streets to capture the reactions of everyday citizens. While serving in the army in World War II he made numerous radio programs in connection with the war effort. The 1944 "ballad opera", The Martins and the Coys, broadcast in Britain (but not the USA) by the BBC, featuring Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Will Geer, Sonny Terry, Pete Seeger, and Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, among others, was released on Rounder Records in 2000.

He also produced recordings, concerts, and radio shows, in the U.S and in England, which played an important role in both the American and British folk revivals of the 1940s, '50s and early '60s. In the late 1940s, he produced a highly regarded series of folk music albums for Decca records and organized a series of concerts at New York's Town Hall and Carnegie Hall, featuring blues, Calypso, and Flamenco music. He also hosted a radio show, Your Ballad Man, from 1945-49 that was broadcast nationwide on the Mutual Radio Network and featured a highly eclectic program, from gamelan music, to Django Reinhardt, to Klezmer music, to Sidney Bechet and Wild Bill Davison, to jazzy pop songs by Maxine Sullivan and Jo Stafford, to readings of the poetry of Carl Sandburg, to hillbilly music with electric guitars, to Finnish brass bands – to name a few.
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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Corrina - Clyde Maxwell

Clyde Maxwell (vocal and guitar) performs "Corrina" as his family and Belton Sutherland listen. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long at Maxwell's farm, near Canton, Mississippi, September 3, 1978
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Jesus Stop By Here - Napolian Strickland

Napoleon Strickland (October 1, 1919 – July 21, 2001) was a fife and drum blues artist, and songwriter, and vocalist specializing in country blues, sometimes known as Napolian Strickland. He also played guitar, drums, harmonica, fife, and all manner of percussion instruments.
Born near Como in the northern Mississippi Delta, his father introduced him to the music as a boy but it was Otha Turner that taught him how to play. He was adept with guitar, drums, harmonica, diddley-bow, fife, and all manner of percussion. He was primarily a fie player and singer, playing a great number of festivals, on appearing on several compilation albums of North Mississippi Country Blues. He also appeared in the bopic documentary film, The Land Where The Blues Began. Strickland was considered by many to have been the premier fife player of his genre, having appeared at numerous festivals, on several recorded compilations and on film. He worked as a share cropper for most of his life, mentoring other musicians in the region.[citation needed] After a car accident he was committed to a nursing home but continued to play for guests even from his bed.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Alan Lomax and the Original Social Network - —By Tim McDonnell

Alan Lomax, circa 1942.
In an age where Justin Bieber can skyrocket to the highest heights of pop consciousness thanks to a couple well-placed YouTube videos, we've forgotten how hard it once was to spread popular music to the populace it described. In the 1930's and '40's, while Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and others were crafting the folk songs that laid the foundation for uniquely American styles like rock and roll and the blues, they mostly sang in obscurity to local audiences in the country quarters where they lived. Recording equipment was bulky, fragile, and expensive, and those who could afford access to recorded music were listening mostly to European imports and early jazz. Thus, the music that best captured the lives of workaday Americans could only be heard by lucky locals in small-town dance halls and living rooms.  
Enter Alan Lomax, an upstart folklorist who in his early teens began to accompany his father John on expeditions across the country, recording the songs of poor farmers, prisoners, bar musicians, and others whose music would otherwise have faded like a melody in the wind. Lomax's road stories are captured in a book by Columbia University musicologist John Szwed's Alan Lomax, to be released in paperback tomorrow.
Courtesy PenguinCourtesy Penguin
Lomax was born on the outskirts of Austin in 1915, into a family that worked on the fringes of Unversity of Texas academia; his father made his career collecting the songs of Texas cowboys. Until his death in 2002 at the age of 87, Alan Lomax produced thousands of field recordings, many specifically destined for the Library of Congress, and was the first to "discover" Guthrie, Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, Jelly Roll Morton, and Son House, among other folk musicians revered today. They were progenitors of the singer-songwriter type we know so well today, leaving an incalcuable impact on everyone from Bob Dylan to Kurt Cobain to Jack White.
But the real import of Lomax's work goes beyond bringing backwoods folk singers into the limelight. At the heart of his mission was a fervent belief in the democratizing effect of folk music. The real point of lugging recording equipment over praries, swamps, and mountains was to capture the voices of "miners, lumbermen, sailors, soldiers, railroad men, blacks, and the down-and-outs, the hobos, convicts, bad girls, and dope fiends," and bring their stories, wrapped in song, to the ears of middle- and upper-class whites. America "was hungry for a vision of itself in song," Szwed writes, and Lomax was determined to feed it.

Lomax bounced between the University of Texas and Harvard for a few years, but mostly learned his craft on the road with John, who had imbued his son from birth with a love of and respect for folk music. Their tour schedule was demanding: in a tiny car packed to the gills with blank records and a mess of recording equipment, they drove from town to town across the country, especially the South, for months at a stretch. At each stop they would beeline for the local clerks, academics, and prison wardens and asked to be led to wherever music was being made in town: chain gangs, makeshift bars, logging camps, front porches. They faced malaria and shotguns, but often found music by simply walking through poor black neighborhoods and listening through open doors.
Most of their recordings were dispatched to the Library of Congress, which had funded much of the Lomax's collection effort, sporadically employed Alan and granting him entee to the upper-crust circles he hoped to interest with his musical findings. In the beginning, the recordings were seen merely as curious artifacts, but soon recording companies began to take notice, and Lomax realized the potential of his recordings to build cultural appreciation and understanding between whites and blacks and rich and poor. He began to publish sheet music and records for a wider audience.

"We must show social conditions, not just songs."
In Lomax's philosophy, a more democratic society starts with the democratic creation of culture. Music created and distributed by the "folk," he argued, was the direct line for oppressed groups to register their complaints with the powers-that-be. "We must show social conditions, not just songs," Lomax said of his collection efforts (eventually landing on the FBI's watch list for potential Communists). In this year of Occupy and the Arab Spring, where mass movements mushroomed across social media networks, it's clear he was onto something (though some musicians have bemoaned the lack of a definitive protest song for the Occupy movement).
Moreover, the folk songs Lomax popularized (many of which were older tunes with updated, topical lyrics) gave political credence to the angst of the down-and-out by drawing a connection to "an American tradition of resistance and struggle that had been buried by time, neglect, and misrepresentation." The songs delivered stories of hardship and oppression directly to Washington pols, New York intellectuals (including the popular salon at Lomax's Greenwich Village apartment), and others who would never have listened otherwise. 

In 1934, Lomax got word that Lead Belly, a skilled guitarist with a rolling, unsettling tenor who later became a close friend and roadie for Lomax, was being released from the Louisiana prison where he'd been serving long, hard time for an ancient (and probably trumped-up) murder conviction. Lomax had first heard Lead Belly on a chain gang there years before, and had always prized the recording he'd made as one with the most power to turn the heads of white elites. Lomax sent him a note that, in his philosophy, serves as the ultimate advice to anyone wanting to right some wrongs and earn some well-deserved respect: "Come prepared to travel. Bring guitar."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

When I Cross Over - Boyd Rivers

As many times ad I've posted Boyd, still don't know a lot about him He was filmed by Alan Lomax and he was born December 25,1934 in PICKENS, MS.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sink 'Em Low - Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers

Bessie Jones leads a work song she first heard as a girl being sung by a road-crew chain gang in North Georgia in the nineteen-teens. With support by Big John Davis, Willis Proctor, and Henry Morrison.
The Georgia Sea Island Singers are a group of African Americans who travel the world to share the songs, stories, dances, games, and language of their Gullah heritage. Started sometime in the early 1900s and composed of many individuals over time, the current generation of singers includes Frankie Sullivan Quimby; her husband, Doug Quimby; and Tony Merrell. Together they have presented educational programs that testify about the history of enslaved Africans from coastal Georgia and celebrate the rich language, culture, and traditions that developed on and near the Sea Islands of the Georgia coast—in relative isolation from the rest of the South—for more than 200 years.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

Dangerous Blues - Joe Savage

"Dangerous Blues," sung by Joe Savage, former muleskinner and Parchman Farm inmate, on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi. Shot by Alan Lomax, Worth Long, and John Bishop, on September 2, 1978. Alan Lomax recorded another version of this holler in 1959 from a Parchman prisoner named Floyd Batts. It was also popular in the women's camp: Alan's father John A. Lomax recorded it sung by a group of female prisoners in 1933, and in 1937 Herbert Halpert recorded a solo version at the camp performed by Mattie May Thomas.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blues # 1 (1978) - Belton Sutherland

Belton Sutherland (vocal and guitar) performs an improvised blues on Clyde Maxwell's porch. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long at Maxwell's farm near Canton, Mississippi, September 3, 1978. For more information about the American Patchwork filmwork, Alan Lomax, and his collections, visit
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tiger Rag - Kid Thomas Valentine Band

Here's some guys who have played dixieland jazz a few times!
Kid Thomas Valentine's band performs "Tiger Rag" at Preservation Hall. Drums: Alonzo Stewart; Trombone: Worthia Thomas; Bass: Chester Zardis; Piano: Sing Miller; Banjo: Emanuel Sayles; Sax: Emmanuel Paul; Clarinet: Willie Humphrey; Trumpet: Kid Thomas Valentine. Shot by Alan Lomax and crew in New Orleans, May 17, 1982.
Thomas Valentine, commonly known as Kid Thomas (3 February 1896 - 18 June 1987) was a jazz trumpeter and bandleader.

Kid Thomas was born in Reserve, Louisiana and came to New Orleans in his youth. He gained a reputation as a hot trumpet man in the early 1920s. Starting in 1926 he led his own band, for decades based in the New Orleans suburb of Algiers, Louisiana. The band was long popular with local dancers.

Kid Thomas had perhaps the city's longest lasting old-style traditional jazz dance band. Unlike many other musicians, Thomas was unaffected by the influence of Louis Armstrong and later developments of jazz, continuing to play in his distinctive hot, bluesy sometimes percussive style. He was always open to playing the popular tunes of the day (even into the rock & roll era) as he thought any good dance bandleader should do, but played everything in a style of a New Orleans dance hall of the early 1920s.

Kid Thomas Valentine started attracting a wider following with his first recordings in the 1950s. His band played regularly at Preservation Hall from the 1960s through the 1980s. Thomas also toured extensively for the Hall, including a Russian tour, and was often a guest at European clubs and festivals, working with various local bands as well as his own. During the 1960s Kid Thomas recorded extensively for the Jazz Crusade label both with his own band and with Big Bill Bissonnette's Easy Riders Jazz Band. He made over 20 tours with the Easy Riders in the U.S. Northeast. Many of these recordings are now available on CD on the GHB or Jazz Crusade labels.

In the mid 1980s, as Thomas's strength started to wane, Preservation Hall management brought in Wendell Brunious, at first as second trumpet; Brunious took over most of the trumpet playing in Thomas's final year or so, though Kid Thomas continued to lead the band, keep rhythm with a slap stick, and blow the occasional chorus if he was feeling up to it.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

How You Want Your Rolling Done - Sonny Boy Nelson

He was born Eugene Powell, in Utica, Mississippi, the child of an interracial affair and his white father soon abandoned the family. His family soon moved to a plantation at Lombardy, near Shelby, Mississippi. Nelson learned to play the guitar by the age of seven. Together with his half brother Ben on a mandolin, Nelson began to play as a novelty act at picnics and suppers, and for prisoners at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. In 1915, his half brother, Bennie "Sugar" Wilson, may have been the inspiration for Nelson to learn the banjo-mandolin. Nelson became friends with the Chatmon family (see Sam Chatmon), as both families worked together on the Kelly Drew Plantation in Hollandale, Mississippi.

He later married fellow singer, Mississippi Matilda.

Nelson played many musical instruments, including banjo, guitar, harmonica, horn, mandolin, violin, and played lead most of the time when accompanied with another musician. Nelson's guitar was a Silvertone and he inserted an aluminium resonator into it similar to those found on the National guitar. He also fitted a seventh string, using the 12 string models as his inspiration. The extra string was a 'C' an octave higher than the conventional string. Later electric styles overhadowed his fame, and he went on to live a quiet life until his death.

Nelson died in November 1998, in Greenville, Mississippi, at the age of 89
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Alan Lomax Recordings - Fred McDowell

Fred McDowell: The Alan Lomax Recordings are the first recordings made of
Fred McDowell before the folk festivals and blues clubs, before
Mississippi was inserted in front of his name, before the Rolling Stones
covered his You Got To Move. They're the sound of the music McDowell
played on his porch, at picnics, and juke joints; with his friends and
family; occasionally for money but always for pleasure. It's the music he
taught a young R.L. Burnside to play. Freshly remastered from 24-bit
digital transfers of Alan Lomax's original tapes, and annotated by
Arhoolie Records' Adam Machado and the Alan Lomax Archive's Nathan
Salsburg, they are an illustration of the mind-blowing revelation that was
Fred McDowell. This was released DIGITALLY by Global Jukebox
September 6

On the first day of fall, 1959, in Como, Mississippi, a farmer named Fred
McDowell emerged from the woods and ambled over to his neighbor Lonnie
Young's front porch with a guitar in hand. Alan Lomax was there recording
the Young brothers' fife and drum ensemble, as well as the raggy old
country dance music of their neighbors, the Pratcher brothers, and he had
no idea what to expect from this slight man in overalls. He certainly
didn't expect that Fred would soon become internationally known as one of
the most original, talented, and affecting country bluesmen ever recorded.

The Alan Lomax Archive is the repository of thousands of hours of Lomax's
field recordings from across his seven-decade career, and Global Jukebox
is its first independent music label. It will draw on the full range of
the archive's worldwide

Title: Fred McDowell:
The Alan Lomax Recordings
Label: Global Jukebox
Catalog #: GJ1007
UPC: 847108079473
Genre: Folk, Blues, Traditional
Street Date: 8.2.11
PDF booklet: 8-page booklet of photos and
song notes.


Also available as an LP on
Mississippi Records / Domino Sound
Track List
1. Shake 'Em on Down
2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
3. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
4. Fred McDowell's Blues
5. Woke Up This Morning with My Mind on Jesus
6. Drop Down Mama
7. Going Down to the River
8. Wished I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
9. When the Train Comes Along
10. When You Get Home Please Write Me a Few
of Your Lines
11. Worried Mind Blues
12. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning
(Instrumental Reprise)

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Parchman Farm recollections and field hollers - Joe Savage

Joe Savage recalls breaking out of the Rosedale jail, his time spent at Parchman Farm (the Mississippi State Penitentiary) at Lambert Camp and Camp 1, and his work with a contrary white mule. He sings several field holler verses. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long on the levee in Greenville, Mississippi, August 22, 1978. For more information about the American Patchwork filmwork, Alan Lomax, and his collections, visit

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sutherland's Blues - Belton Sutherland

Belton Sutherland (vocal and guitar) performs an improvised blues on Clyde Maxwell's porch. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long at Maxwell's farm near Canton, Mississippi, September 3, 1978.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I'm Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die (1959) - Alan Lomax

Miles Pratcher, vocal and guitar; Bob Pratcher, fiddle. Recorded by Alan Lomax in Como, Mississippi. September 22, 1959. From "I'm Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die," one of five albums commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lomax's "Southern Journey" field recording trip. Released in 2011 digitally by Global Jukebox (GJ 1005) and on LP by Mississippi Records (MR 065).

The Pratcher brothers were neighbors of bluesman Fred McDowell in Como, and also farmers, but were of an earlier musical generation. Miles and Bob were repositories of the raggy country dance music that would have been heard at picnics and other social occasions in the fin-de-siecle Mississippi Hill Country. Lomax wrote of this performance in 1978 that he "always thought of this genre as a bluesy ballad in ragtime," lying chronologically and stylistically "between black square dance music and the first true instrumental blues." "I'm Going to Live Anyhow Until I Die" was composed in 1901 by the black rag-writer Shepard N. Edmonds, for whom it was a huge hit, and it found a renewed popularity in 1920s as "Tennessee Coon" or "Coon from Tennessee"----about a wicked fellow who "never believed in church or Sunday school"----for hillbilly performers Charlie Poole, the Georgia Crackers, and the Georgia Yellow Hammers. In the hands of the Pratchers, Lomax wrote, "the blues are still happy. The Pratchers grinned bawdily through all their performances." They no doubt meant it when they sang: "I'm gonna shake it well for my Lord."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'll Be Glad When the Sun Goes Down - Alan Lomax

Fred McDowell, vocal and guitar. Recorded by Alan Lomax in Como, Mississippi. September 25, 1959. From "I'll Be So Glad When the Sun Goes Down," one of five albums commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lomax's "Southern Journey" field recording trip. Released in 2011 digitally by Global Jukebox (GJ 1004) and on LP by Mississippi Records (MR 060).

Fred McDowell was a farmer who emerged from the woods on the first day of fall, 1959, and ambled over to his neighbor Lonnie Young's front porch in his overalls with a guitar in hand. Lomax had no idea what he was in for, but after McDowell's first song he knew he was in the presence of one of the most original, talented, and affecting country bluesmen ever recorded.
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McDowell showed few outward signs of conflict he might have felt by playing sacred and "sinful" music in the same setting. A 1964 record of Fred's, "My Home Is In the Delta" (which wasn't actually the case), devotes its first side to blues and its second side to spirituals and church hymns sung with his wife Annie Mae. Unlike Robert Wilkins, who left off blues altogether when he got religion, or Son House, who spent his life deeply tormented, torn between the two, McDowell could move from a blues about a cheating lover into this earnest religious piece. This recording was the only he ever made of "Woke Up This Morning.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Worried Now Won't Be Worried Long - Alan Lomax - Rosalie Hill

Rosalie (or Rosa Lee) Hill, guitar and vocal. Recorded by Alan Lomax in Como, Mississippi, September 25, 1959. From "Worried Now, Won't Be Worried Long," one of five albums commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lomax's "Southern Journey" field recording trip. Released in 2010 digitally by Global Jukebox (GJ 1002) and on LP by Mississippi Records (MR 058).

Rosalie Hill was a daughter of the Mississippi Hill Country's composer, multi-instrumentalist, band leader, and musical patriarch Sid Hemphill. Sid taught Rosalie to play the guitar when she was six; by the time she was ten she was playing dances with him. The only two songs she recorded for Alan were marked by a desolate, keening intensity, although by all accounts she was a jolly woman. Her father died in 1961, after which, as blues researcher George Mitchell noted, most of the very musical Hemphills "just didn't feel like playing no more." Rosie hung up her guitar for a time, but by the time Mitchell visited in 1967 she was playing again, and recorded for him a barely less spry version of "Rolled and Tumbled." She died a year later. (Hill's first name often appears "Rosa Lee," but she signed her contract with Lomax "Rosalie.")

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Reg'lar, Rolling Under - Bessie Jones with Hobart Smith, Ed Young, and friends

Bessie Jones, lead vocal, with Nat Rahmings, drum; Hobart Smith, banjo; Ed Young, fife; and John Davis, Henry Morrison, Albert Ramsay, and Emma Ramsay, vocals. Recorded by Alan Lomax in Williamsburg, Virginia. April 28, 1959. From "Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea," one of five albums commemorating the 50th anniversary of Lomax's "Southern Journey" field recording trip. Released in 2010 digitally by Global Jukebox (GJ 1001) and on LP by Mississippi Records (MR 057).

I'll Meet You on the Other Shore - Various - Alan Lomax

I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore” is the third release from Global
Jukebox, the independent label set up by the Alan Lomax Archives to make
its vast holdings readily accessible to the music lovers via download-only
releases. It's also the third in the series of releases celebrating Alan
Lomax's Southern Journey field recordings. These releases were compiled
and annotated by Nathan Salsburg, the albums draw on new transfers of the
original tapes, and include considerable previously unreleased material
and extensive booklets of photos and notes. “I’ll Meet You On That Other
Shore” is released 12/28/2011.

“I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore” features John Davis and the Georgia
Sea Island Singers, Tidewater Virginia’s Union Choir of the Church of God
and Saints of Christ, Old Regular Baptist lining hymns from Eastern
Kentucky, Ozark balladeer Neal Morris, work songs from Parchman Farm (the
Mississippi State Penitentiary), octogenarian Charles Barnett on vocal and
washtub, fiddler
Carlos “Bookmiller” Shannon’s rendition of “The Eighth of January,” Hobart
Smith’s performance of “Railroad Bill” — a formative influence on the
Folk Revival — and one of the debut recordings of bluesman Mississippi
Fred McDowell.

In 1959 and 1960, at the height of the Folk Revival, Alan Lomax undertook
the first-ever stereo field recording trip through the American South to
its still thriving vernacular musical culture. He traveled through
Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia,
and North
Carolina, making over 70 hours of recordings. The trip came to be known as
Lomax’s “Southern Journey,” and its recordings were first issued for the
Atlantic and Prestige labels in the early ‘60s.

Over the past twenty years the Archive has overseen the release of over a
hundred album, book, and film productions — including the 2006
Grammy-Award winning "Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress
Recordings" box set. This past year the Lomax Archive produced the 9-CD
"Alan Lomax in Haiti 1936-1937" box set -- nominated for two Grammys --
which is part of their Caribbean Repatriation Program to return copies of
the music to its sources. In addition to the commercial releases, the
music is being given to museums and schools in Haiti and other Caribbean
repositories. Lesson plans have been created from the music and local
community welfare organizations have taken the music directly to the
temporary camps in Haiti to offer some level of comfort and healing. Large
groups at the camps have heard and sung along to the recordings — the
sounds of their traditions and past.

Other planned Global Jukebox albums forthcoming in 2011 include, Lomax’s
debut recordings of bluesman Mississippi Fred McDowell; a companion album
to the new John Szwed biography Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the
World; a hardback book and two-CD set dedicated to Alan’s trip through
Asturias, Spain — “the land at the end of everything”; and the launch of a
series of artist curated compilations, for which guest musicians “Play the
Global Jukebox,” and include an exclusive recording of their own.

Alan Lomax's career was dedicated to the cause of "cultural equity": the
fundamental right of every culture to express and develop its distinctive
heritage of songs, dances, and stories. The launch of Global Jukebox is an
exciting continuation of Lomax's efforts to make sonic space for the
world's musical traditions.

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