Search Results for "Tony Russell"

Tony Russell on Highway 61 Radio

This entry on Highway 61 Radio clued me in that previously mentioned Tony Russell would be the featured guest on the show this weekend. I used to listen to the show often when I lived in radio range. Now the web is here. The episode is now available via the podcast or directly (mp3). Russell is an English expert on American rural music. In the episode, he discusses the lines and lack thereof between blacks and whites in traditional blues music.

Three times blogged Dust-to-Digital has Old Time Music Reader, a compilation of articles from Russell’s now defunct magazine Old Time Music, scheduled for release next year. I had hoped for a release this year. I even have a saved search on eBay in an attempt, unsuccessful so far, to buy old copies of the magazine. I will devour it when it appears.

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Michael M. on April 12th 2009 in General, Music, Recorded

The Hodges Brothers, Jesse James’ Women, and the Nations Brothers

The journey to Clifftop renewed my interest in old-time music, and a recent search reminded me of this post on Bogue Chitto Flingding, an old album by the Hodges Brothers. Arhoolie has re-released the album Bogue Chitto Flingding on CD. I await the arrival of my copy. Watermelon Hangin’ on the Vine is available on eBay. The band had slipped my mind for several years. I decided to repeat my search for more information on the band.

The band played old-time and bluegrass, as I knew. To my surprise, they had recorded some rockabilly, too. The blog boppingbopping has this post about their rockabilly singles. The German, but not the English, Wikipedia has this entry on them. Several of their singles have been posted to YouTube, including “Honey Talk,” “My Heart Fell at Her Feet” and “It Won’t Be Long” on Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi and “I’m Gonna Rock Some Too.” It lists Mississippi Records, Box 101, Osyka, Miss. on its label. They recorded many of their tracks at WAPF, the radio station that was still standard morning listening in my home when I was growing up.

I also stumbled across Sippiana Succotash. The blog is dedicated to memories from Brookhaven, Mississippi, the next big town north of my hometown. This blog post Bogue Chitto’s Own Recording Artists — Or Should We Say Ruth’s? pins their origins to the community of Ruth, Mississippi. Sippiana Succotash also has this post on the McGraw Family, a string band about whom little is known. That same blog had this post about Jesse James’ Women. It was filmed in Silver Creek, Mississippi. The whole thing is available on YouTube although it is not a memorable movie.

My YouTube search also led me to this video of coach Mike Hodges of Bogue Chitto on guitar. I do not know the relationship between him and the Hodges Brothers, but I am sure that there is one. Pointing to more connections, the video was posted by nations1992. The Nations Brothers are another string band I like. As far as I can find, the Nations Brothers were the only Mississippi Piney Woods string band recorded in the early era of electric recording. This blog post on Old Time Party reproduces an article about the Nations Brothers from Old Time Music magazine written and published by blogged Tony Russell. The article reports that the Nations Brothers stopped playing music and went on to lives as prominent civic figures in Brookhaven.

The blog Old Time Party is a great find. It has a wealth of information on old-time music that will take me a long time to read. The information includes multiple posts mentioning Mississippi. Old Time Magazine also published “10 Days in Mississippi” (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), also written by publisher Tony Russell himself. I have searched for the article for years.

This Dock Boggs and John Hurt post on Old Time Party is also excellent. It recounts a double bill concert given by them soon after their rediscoveries that featured Hurt clogging to Boggs at the show’s end. I blogged a while back about when Dock Boggs and beloved Mississippi John Hurt stayed with Mike Seeger. I suspect that it was for that concert. In that post, I mentioned W. E. Myers as a link between Boggs and Hurt. The post points to very similar lyrics in Hurt’s “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me” and the last stanza of Boggs’ “Old Rub Alcohol Blues,” both penned by Myers. These small links are treasures.

I will watch Old Time Party closely from now on.

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Michael M. on August 11th 2012 in General, Movies, Music, Recorded

Mike Seeger dead at 75

I heard the news this morning on NPR affiliate KWMU. Mike Seeger, blogged about five previous times, died just 8 days shy of his 76th birthday. I brought him up just the other day when discussing bluegrass, old-time music and their differences. He had an extended illness, but I had not heard about it. He did a great amount of picking, spending time with pickers and teaching new pickers.

Fishing for more information, I came across this post of an interview with Seeger at Down Home Radio. At 59:35, interviewer Eli Smith said, “Dock said that if he could have started again, he might have liked to play guitar like John Hurt.” Mike Seeger replied that Dock Boggs and beloved Mississippi John Hurt both came and stayed with him. He said that the two played some shows together. The statement by Boggs actually came via Seeger, and in the interview, Seeger recalled hearing Boggs make it. It is documented, too, in a couple of reviews at Amazon, one by Tony Thomas.

W. E. Myers of Richlands, Virginia is an earlier link between Hurt and Boggs, also covered in this comment on this MetaFilter post. Myers recorded Dock Boggs on his Lonesome Ace record label. He wanted to record Hurt, but it never worked out. He did send Hurt two songs, “Richlands Women Blues” and “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me,” in the mail. Years later during Hurt’s rediscovery, he was still playing both of them.

According to the Down Home post, Thomas Hart Benton introduced the Seeger family to the music of Dock Boggs. The Bentons were prominent in Missouri. Thomas Hart Benton painted a mural in the state capitol. When I visited several years ago, I could not get into the room to my sustained disappointment. This post at Word on the Street has photographs with a comment by me at the end. I did spot a wonderful ivory-billed woodpecker, a three time subject, in this exhibition at the Missouri State Museum. I used to enjoy seeing all the Benton paintings at the twice mentioned Whitney Museum. When I moved from New York to Missouri, I was excited by the prospect of seeing more Benton paintings. I have found few in Saint Louis, though.

The post documenting the Dock Boggs statement about John Hurt also links to this post about Boggs and this post about Blind Willie Johnson. Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground (On Which Our Lord Was Laid)” is on the record bolted to the Voyager space probes. I blogged about that record two times. The same blog also has this post from soon after the news of Seeger’s terminal illness. With extreme appropriateness, the four posts are part of The Celestial Monochord: Journal of the Society for Astrophysics and the Hillbilly Blues.

By chance, I am listening to American Routes. The episode tonight is about recently mentioned Newport. Hurt’s “Make Me a Pallet” just finished.

Update August 12, 2009: Two blogs I track also marked Seeger’s death. Highway 61 Radio posted about the obituary in The New York Times. NMissCommentor‘s entry links to it and to this one in the Guardian by three times blogged English expert on American music Tony Russell.

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Michael M. on August 8th 2009 in General, Music

BBC Folk America

Last summer, I posted about my encounter with a BBC television crew at the Mississippi John Hurt Festival. They said that the series on American folk music would air the following February. I found Folk America. This review is very favorable. Much, maybe all, of the show is available as streaming video. The BBC, however, does not permit streaming to the United States. I recently found it on Google Video as episodes 1 Birth of a Nation, 2 This Land Is Your Land and 3 Blowin’ in the Wind.

The series features some familiar people. Twice blogged Tom Paley visited the beloved Folk School a few years ago, and I got to jam with him. Twice mentioned expert on American folk music Tony Russell shares some of his great knowledge. The BBC found great folks for this series.

The part on favorite Mississippi John Hurt starts at 34:14 in the first episode and runs to about 38:20. It features his granddaughter Mary Frances Hurt Wright prominently. Several shots show the Mississippi John Hurt Festival last summer. I was there. I appear 34:48-34:51 as the leftmost person wearing a light blue t-shirt and beige shorts. At 35:13-35:15, the shot looking from Hurt’s parlor out at the gathering shows “Lost Jim” Ohlschmidt and Andy Burke of Willie Mae. Other shots feature the Valley Store and more nearby buildings. Toward the end is the story of “Creole Belle” told by blogged Tom Paxton. This long discussion on the old Mississippi John Hurt Forum brought me to the same connection, and I found the old sheet music. The last part of the episode around 56:30 covers the end of Hurt’s first recording career among the many stalls and collapses in the early folk recording industry. It also has a little more footage of the festival.

Third episode Blowin’ in the Wind 30:40-32:58 is about Hurt’s revival career. He was reintroduced to the world at the Newport Folk Festival. The segment includes brief footage of “Candy Man” along with several touching reminiscences about his reemergence at the festival and subsequent gigging in Greenwich Village.

Twice blogged Henry “Ragtime Texas” Thomas follows Hurt in Birth of a Nation. Blogged Cecil Brown talks about how itinerant musicians lived, and three times mentioned John Sebastian is featured, too. Because Thomas was older than most recorded musicians of his day, his music presumably reaches further back. It is captivating.

Other segments in Birth of a Nation cover major figures in the early recording era. The two episodes cover later phases of the American folk music movement. I am on the last one, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” right now. The documentary provides an enjoyable overview with reasonble depth that starts at the beginning of the recording era. I am glad that I finally found a way to watch it.

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Michael M. on June 11th 2009 in General, Music

Art, Honeyboy and Louie Bluie

Studio 360 featured two great stories in this episode not too long ago. Art Rosenbaum tracks down musicians and records them. The segment starts at 12:08. Rosenbaum was featured in the April 28, 2008 New Yorker issue. The main article is not available on the web, but this slide show and audio interview are. Because I am not a subscriber, I read it in the library. It is a good article about a terrific quest.

The article also profiles Lance Ledbetter of Dust-to-Digital. Ledbetter and Rosenbaum have worked together extensively on Art of Field Recording: Volume I : 50 Years of Traditional American Music Documented by Art Rosenbaum. The Dust-to-Digital blog, in turn, links to the New Yorker. Dust-to-Digital is wonderful, and I want to own everything it puts out. In particular, I am looking forward to the forthcoming Old Time Music Reader. I corresponded with Ledbetter a little about a video on the label’s MySpace page, and he advised me to try eBay for finding old issues of Old Time Music. I since have lost a few auctions. I found out about the OTM Reader from Tony Russell, publisher of the original Old Time Music magazine, when I wrote to ask him for more information about the old-time music of Mississippi.

A feature on DavidHoneyboyEdwards follows the story on Rosenbaum. I saw him most recently in the blogged movie Walk Hard. He also appeared in the twice mentioned Lightning in a Bottle. I came home late last weekend with my fiddle on my back. I had played until dark in Forest Park. Then I went to the Loop to see whether some friends were still busking in front of Star Clipper. They were not, but I discovered the Rum Drum Ramblers in front of Meshuggah and listened for a good while. The doorman asked me what I had in the case. We had a good talk, and the movie came up in our conversation. Edwards is the last of a generation.

That same weekend, I watched Louie Bluie. Terry Zwigoff made it. He also made Crumb about R. Crumb. R. Crumb’s cartoons of old-time and blues musicians are popular within the subculture. R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz, & Country is a compilation of them with an introduction by Zwigoff. The two were members of R. Crumb & His Cheap Suit Serenaders. There are some strange loops.

Louie Bluie profiles Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong. Roger Ebert‘s review of it changed my thinking about Roger Ebert. His television review is on YouTube. Skip to 5:38. The New York Times review gives clues about how funny the movie is, and the obituary gives a good overview of his life. It is a good thing that Armstrong found music. Otherwise, he would have talked all the time. This post on the Tangleweed‘s TweedBlog led me to find the film on YouTube. I was inspired, too, by the record sleeve of a Martin, Bogan and Armstrong record hanging on the wall at the beloved Folk School. Now I have to find Sweet Old Song that aired on the PBS series P.O.V. several years ago. The Louie Bluie Festival will take place June 14. Watch the YouTube preview. I would go except that I already have plans for that weekend.

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Michael M. on May 26th 2008 in General, Live, Movies, Music, Recorded

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.