January 30, 2016

African American Creole Music from Louisiana: Creole United

Creole United: July 29, 2015

Creole United is a group representing three generations of Louisiana Creole music culture. The members consider themselves the keepers of the music culture of the Southwest Louisiana Creoles. This mix of musical styles originated among the French-speaking African Americans of the lower Mississippi, with influences of Cajun, African, and Spanish music.

The Library of Congress  Creole United performs a concert of creole music from southwest Louisiana (70:00)

January 27, 2016

Little Log Cabin Round the Lane: Uncle John Scruggs 1928

 Scruggs and his dancing grandchildren
Uncle John Scruggs was an American banjo player, born a slave. There exists video of him performing the folk ballad "Little Log Cabin Round the Lane" in a minstrel style. The footage was taken by the Fox Movietone News, in Powahatan, VA on November 8, 1928. Uncle John Scruggs played 5-string banjo in the traditional clawhammer style. There are no other known recordings of his music. Uncle John's image is portrayed in the mural "All in the Family II", which is on display at the Sherrod Library at East Tennessee State University. In the mural, Uncle John Scruggs is pictured in between Bill Monroe, "the Father of bluegrass music", and Earl Scruggs, who popularized the 5-string banjo in the 20th century. The mural illustrates the important role that African-American musicians have played in the evolution of American music. The mural shows that racially diverse musicians are all members of the same family.

University of North Carolina  Uncle John Scruggs - banjo player--outtakes: Filmed on November 8th, 1928

January 23, 2016

Django and Jimmie: Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson

Legacy 88875093782

Format: CD, Album
Country: US
Released: 02 Jun 2015
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country
01 Django And Jimmie (2:53)
02 It's All Going To Pot (2:57)
03 Unfair Weather Friend (4:14)
04 Missing Ol' Johnny Cash (3:27)
05 Live This Long (3:35)
06 Alice In Hulaland (3:02)
07 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (4:11)
08 Family Bible (3:37)
09 It's Only Money (3:56)
10 Swinging Doors (2:51)
11 Where Dreams Come To Die (3:19)
12 Somewhere Between (3:24)
13 Driving The Herd (2:50)
14 The Only Man Wilder Than Me (2:35)
Producer: Buddy Cannon, Art Direction: Federico Ruiz, Coordinator: Shannon Finnegan, Creative Director: Frank Harkins, Designer: Federico Ruiz, Photographer: Danny Clinch

January 21, 2016

Rare 1938 Short Film with Jazz Legend Django Reinhard

Here's a remarkable short film of the great gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, violinist Stéphane Grappelli and their band the Quintette du Hot Club de France performing on a movie set in 1938. The film was hastily organized by the band's British agent Lew Grade as a way to introduce the bands unique style of guitar- and violin-based jazz to the British public before their first UK tour. As Michael Dregni writes in Gypsy Jazz: In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing:
The Quintette was unknown to the British public, and there was no telling how their new music would resonate. So, Grade sought to educate his audience. He hired a movie crew to film a six-minute-plus promotional short entitled Jazz "Hot" to be shown in British theaters providing a lesson in jazz appreciation to warm up the crowds.
Le Quintette du Hot Club de France
That would explain the didactic tone of the first two and a half minutes of the film, which plods along as a remedial lesson on the nature of jazz. It opens with an orchestra giving a note-for-note performance of Handel's "Largo," from the opera Xerxes, which the narrator then contrasts to the freedom of jazz improvisation.

But the film really comes alive when Django arrives on the screen and launches into a jazz arrangement of the popular French song “J’attendrai.” (The name means “I will wait,” and it’s a reworking of a 1933 Italian song, "Tornerai" or "You Will Return," by Dino Olivieri and Nino Rastelli.) Although the sequences of Reinhardt and the band playing were obviously synchronized to a previously recorded track, Jazz "Hot" is the best surviving visual document of the legendary guitarist’s two-fingered fretting technique, which he developed after losing the use of most of his left hand in a fire. To learn more about Reinhardt and to watch a full-length documentary on his life, see our August 2012 post, "Django Reinhardt and the Inspiring Story Behind His Guitar Technique."

(via Open Culture)

January 19, 2016

Obray Ramsey Sings Jimmie Rodgers Favorites

Prestige International 13009

Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1961
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country
A1 T For Texas
A2 Blue Yodel #2
A3 In The Jailhouse Now
A4 Brakeman's Blues
A5 Ben DewBerry's Final Run
A6 Blue Yodel #4
A7 Waiting For A Train
A8 Daddy And Home
B1 Blue Yodel #3
B2 Never No More Blues
B3 My Little Old Home Down In New Orleans
B4 T.B. Blues
B5 Hobo Bill's Last Ride
B6 Mississippi River Blues
B7 My Old Pal
B8 Lullaby Yodel
Obray Ramse (banjo/guitar/vocals) Tommy Hunter (guitar)
Liner Notes by John Greenway, Recorded by Rudy Van Gelder, Produced by Kenneth S. Goldstein

January 17, 2016

Gettin' the Woods on Fire: Joel Mabus with Brian Bishop

Flying Fish FF-235

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1980
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
A1 Settin' The Woods On Fire (2:06)
A2 Gaelic Medley: The Rights Of Man, Cooley's Reel, Tarbolton (3:38)
A3 E. St. Louis Blues (4:41)
A4 Goin' To Cairo (3:11)
A5 Jig Medley: Banish Misfortune, Rakes Of Kildare, Merrily Kiss The Quaker (5:02)
B1 Hewlett (2:17)
B2 Clover Ridge Rag (2:56)
B3 Somewhere Over The Banjo: The Teetotaler, Leather Breeches, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Somewhere Over The Rainbow (4:55)
B4 Working On The Building (3:43)
B5 Women Of Ireland (2:35)
B6 Bring It On Down To My House Honey (3:16)
Joel Mabus (guitar/banjo/vocals) Brian Bishop (guitar/mandolin)
Album Design: Barckholtz Design Group, Cover Illustration & Photography: T. D. Barckholtz, Art Direction: Patti Bayne, Liner Notes: Bob Blackman
Recorded live at The Ten Pound Fiddle Janualy 25, 1980

January 16, 2016

The first Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival

Get the entire film DVD at Amazon
Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1882-1973) was a superb mountain musician who spent his life hunting down the songs, dances and unknown performers of the Appalachian region. He fought to bring dignity to "hillbilly music" and this made him a folk hero. He recorded thousands of songs for the Smithsonian. In the summer of 1928, he created the first music festival by founding his first Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival.

This film tells his story and includes music, clog and square dancing, never before seen footage from southern musicians, as well as Bluegrass and Mountain music legends. Lunsford is on the road for most of the film, introducing Hoffman to great backcountry musicians. People like Obray Ramsey, Artus Moser, Mike Seeger, Alan Lomax, Tommy Hunter, Roger Sprung, William "Red" Raper, Ray Lundsford and many others.

Songs include: Cindy, Grey Eagle, Mountain Dew, Stand with Me, Black Jack Dew, Born in West Virginia, and more!

January 13, 2016

The Mountain Ramblers with Joe Drye

County Records COUNTY-720

Format: Vinyl, LP
Country: US
Released: 1969
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
A1 Cripple Creek
A2 Behind the Eight Ball
A3 Sugar in the Gourd
A4 Carolina Rag
A5 Dance Around Molly
A6 Linda Sue
B1 Wake Up Susan
B2 Pretty Little Widow
B3 Polk County Breakdown
B4 Tommy's Waltz
B5 Tennessee Wagoner
B6 Sally Ann
Joe Drye (fiddle) Carson Cooper (banjo) James Lindsey (mandolin) Jim McKinnon (guitar) Thurman Pugh (bass)
Recorded by Charles Faurot, Cover Photo by Richard Nevens, Produced and Liner Notes by David Freeman

January 11, 2016

Talking Woody Guthrie: Jack Elliot

Topic Records 12T93

Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country: UK
Released: 1963
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country, Folk
A1 Talking Columbia Blues (3:46)
A2 Pretty Boy Floyd (3:01)
A3 Ludlow Massacre (4:10)
A4 Talking Miner Blues (1:59)
A5 Hard Travelling (3:26)
B1 So Long It's Been Good To Know You (2:58)
B2 Talking Dustbowl Blues (2:56)
B3 1913 Massacre (3:39)
B4 Rambling Blues (2:44)
B5 Talking Sailor Blues (4:00)
Ramblin' Jack Elliott (guitar/harmonica/vocals)
Liner Notes: Paul Nelson and Jon Pankake
A reissue of material on Woody Guthrie's Blues (8T5, 1957) with additional songs [A2, A4] are from the 10" 78 rpm album Topic TRC98 (1956), recorded November/December 1955 by Alan Lomax;
[B1] is from ??; [B4] is from the 10" 78 rpm album Topic TRC103 (1957), recorded November/December 1955 by Alan Lomax

January 9, 2016

Mississippi John Hurt: Today!

Vanguard VSD-79220

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country: US
Released: 1966
Genre: Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country Blues, Delta Blues
A1 Pay Day (4:18)
A2 I'm Satisfied (2:50)
A3 Candy Man (2:53)
A4 Make Me A Pallet On The Floor (4:29)
A5 Talking Casey (5:04)
A6 Corinna, Corinna (1:51)
B1 Coffee Blues (3:43)
B2 Louis Collins (4:04)
B3 Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight (3:03)
B4 If You Don't Want Me Baby (3:18)
B5 Spike Driver's Blues (3:24)
B6 Beulah Land (3:43)
Mississippi John Hurt (guitar/vocals)
Producer: Patrick Sky, Liner Notes: Nat Hentoff
Today! is the second studio album, but third body of work recorded by folk/country blues musician Mississippi John Hurt. It was released in 1966 by Vanguard Records. This album contains some of the first commercial material recorded after his "rediscovery" in 1963, and is the first he recorded for Vanguard. The album spans several genres and styles of music, ranging from traditional blues and folk songs, to country, to African-American spirituals. Along with Hurt's two previous releases, Today! helped to reveal his work to a wider folk audience. In 2009, the album was one of the twenty-five selections that were added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. (Wiki)

January 8, 2016

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' Greatest Hits


Format: Vinyl, LP, Stereo
Country: Japan
Released: 1969
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
A1 The Ballad Of Jed Clampett (2:02) 9/24/62
A2 Flint Hill Special (1:56) Unknown date
A3 Jimmy Brown, The Newsboy (2:27) 3/6/64
A4 I Still Miss Someone (2:24) 12/15/64
A5 Petticoat Junction (2:30) 1/17/64
A6 Fireball (1:58) 3/6/64
B1 Earl's Breakdown (3:01) Unknown date
B2 You Are My Flower (2:30) 11/27/63
B3 Pearl Pearl Pearl (2:09) 2/25/63
B4 The Good Things (3:26) 3/6/64
B5 My Saro Jane (2:48) 11/27/63
B6 Foggy Mountain Breakdown (2:06) 10/20/67
Producer: Don Law, Frank Jones
Original Version: Columbia CS-9370 (1966) Added track B6 for the Japanese listeners

January 6, 2016

David Holt’s State of Music: Series Preview

David Holt & Rhiannon Giddens
Masters of traditional music share tunes and stories with four-time Grammy winner David Holt on location in the Southern mountains. Featured artists: guitar phenom Bryan Sutton, multi-faceted musician and ballad singer Carolina Chocolate Drops, breakout star Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, fiddle virtuoso Bruce Molsky, African-American gospel torch bearers Lena Mae Perry and Wilbur Tharpe (performing as The Branchettes), and bluegrass supergroup Balsam Range. “David Holt’s State of Music” premiered on North Carolina's statewide public television network, UNC-TV, in January of 2015. It has since been re-broadcast by UNC-TV and also by Blue Ridge Public TV in Virginia. It was re-edited as a series of three half-hour episodes, and the series was broadcast by UNC-TV on successive Sundays in September. More episodes are being shot in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016. “David Holt’s State of Music” will be distributed for broadcast nationally by PBS in March of 2016.

January 1, 2016

None But One: Jean Ritchie

Greenhays Recordings GR-708

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Country: US
Released: 1981
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Folk
A1 Fair Nottamun Town (2:52)
A2 Too Many Shadows (3:16)
A3 Black Waters (4:07)
A4 None But One (6:25)
A5 The Orphans' Lament (2:52)
B1 Flowers Of Joy (3:38)
B2 See That Rainbow Shine (3:18)
B3 The Riddle Song (3:00)
B4 Sweet Sorrow In The Wind (3:52)
B5 Wondrous Love (2:22)
B6 Now Is The Cool Of The Day (2:26)
Vocals/Dulcimer: Jean Ritchie
Harmony Vocals: Jonathan Pickow (B1 B6) Mary Travers (B1)
Backing Vocals: Claire Bey (A5) Janis Ian (A3 A5) Oscar Brand (B3) Peter Pickow (A2 B6) Susan Reed (B5)
Dulcimer/Recorder/Autoharp/Acoustic Guitar/Resonator Guitar/Bass: Peter Pickow
Acoustic Guitar: Sal DiTroia
Banjo/Dulcimer: Jonathan Pickow
Cello: Pamela Schall
Drums: Howard Gordon (B3) Richard Crooks
Electric Bass: John Crowder
Electric Guitar: Charles Brown III
Fiddle: Kenny Kosek
Pedal Steel Guitar/Mandolin: Eric Weissberg
Piano/Organ/Chamberlin/Directed By, Arranged By, Producer: Ron Frangipane
Producer: Al Steckler, Art Direction: John Gillespie, Photography By: George Pickow, Design: Frank Daniel, Engineer, Synthesizer: Larry Alexander
Recorded and Mixed at Ultima Studios, Baluvelt, New York
Originally issued as SIRE SA-7530 (1977)