Thursday, May 27, 2010

Merrick Jarrett - Song of the Old West

MERRICK JARRETT is a young Toronto folk-singer who has specialized in cowboy songs. His singing career started in 1941 while he was serving as an airman in Newfoundland. After winning an amateur show, he was featured on a weekly radio program from VORG, Gander. Returning to Toronto after the war, he had his own folk-song program on a local station for three years. In 1952, he made his debut on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network in a folksong series called "A Man and A Maid" with Joyce Sullivan. In 1956, he acted as both narrator and singer in "Cowboy Songs of the Old West," a 14 week series prepared by Edith Fowke for the CBC. These programs proved very popular and from them were chosen the songs for this recording.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jim Howie - Gooseberry Pie - Prairie Schooner (1975)

The music of James Dale Howie reflects a long tradition of Anglo-Scots and southern mountain people and also presents a superb example of the sounds of early radio passing into the repertoire of a traditional singer. Jim was born on December 20, 1934, to Luella Fullerton and Walter Roland Howie on the outskirts of the village of Eden, Randolph County, in southern Illinois. His grandparents and great-grandparents lived in Randolph County, arriving there from Northern Ireland, England and South Carolina before the Civil War.
(excerpt of the liner notes. the rest is in the download folder.)

Thanks go to Drew Christie, who does the Democracy for the Cartoons Blog, for transferring and letting me borrow this album.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Neal Hellman - Appalachian Dulcimer Duets (Kicking Mule)

I recently purchased a dulcimer chord book by Neal Hellman for relatively cheap (something like $4) I found it very helpful in understanding some of the basics of playing the dulcimer. I decided to look to see if he had any albums out and came across this one. The instrumentals are interesting but the singing is kind of folksy. Overall though it is entertaining.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Music of the Ozarks

Liner Notes by Jimmy Driftwood in download folder

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cockerham, Jarrell And Jenkins - Back Home in the Blue Ridge, County 723 (1970)

Sorry Folks, I just found out that this is still in print in a different format. These tracks can be found on a two CDs @ County Sales . They put 3 LPs the trio did from the 60's onto these CDs

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hesperus - Crossing Over 1987


Scott Reiss - director, recorders, hammered dulcimer, Arabic Percussion

Tina Chancey - fiddle, vielle, rebec, kamenj

Bruce Hutton - banjo, mandolin, mouth bow, mountain dulcimer

Mike Seeger - guitar, banjo, guitar, fiddle

Hesperus plays early music, folk music, and various combinations of the two. It presents European medieval, renaissance and baroque music; cultural portraits mixing early and traditional music of a particular country or region, and crossover programs fusing medieval, renaissance, Appalachian, gospel, blues, Cajun and Irish styles. We often partner with musicians from other traditions: Appalachian, Celtic, Sephardic, Cajun, blues, Andean, and African.

If you like this album, I would strongly suggest purchasing a cross-over album the group has done called Patchwork. It would be better to directly purchase from their website, but if you must, there is an album called For No Good Reason At All that I think is essentially the same as Patchwork. it is available for download on CD Baby.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center, located on the banks of the Potomac River near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in September 1971. But its roots date back to 1958, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed bipartisan legislation creating a National Cultural Center. To honor Eisenhower's vision for such a facility, one of the Kennedy Center's theaters is named for him.

Unfortunately, I found out about the Kennedy Center in a souring sort of way. I came across it when I was reading through one of the obituaries for Mike Seeger. That being said, There was a performance on the webpage for the center and it was great. It was one he had done at the ccenter in April of 2003. After watching this, I wanted to see what sorts of other artists had played there, so i did a few searches and came up with a performance by another one of my favorite musicians, Bruce Hutton. For those of you unfamiliar with his style, he plays old-time music with a variety of instruments including but not limited to the banjo, ukulele, autoharp, mouth bow, mandolin, guitar, etc. The video quality for these videos are not the greatest, but the sound quality is fine and the performance more than make up for this. Both these are definitely worth checking out.

Mike Seeger's Performance

Bruce Hutton's Performance

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jimmy "Driftwood" Morris

I came across the Max Hunter Folk Song Collection when I noticed Gadaya included some songs from the archive for compilations on his Old Weird America site. Max Hunter was a traveling salesman from Springfield, Missouri who took a reel-to-reel recorder through yonder Ozarks between 1956-1976. He came across many great folk artists along the way, but one in particular caught my attention while browsing. On this site I found Driftwood Morris, but at the time I did not realize that it was the same Driftwood Morris that wrote Tennessee Stud and the Battle of New Orleans. This was mainly due to the fact that on the first track he was playing what I'm sure is a mountain dulcimer and sounds like he hasn't left his home in years by the way he tell his stories. Also he is only accompanied by his own instrumentals without a back-up band which I have been used to hearing him play with in the past. Anyways, I would highly recommend checking this out. My personal favorite is the last one listed called My Name is Dan Martin. Just scroll down on the webpage to his name.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dave Van Ronk - Ragtime Jug Stompers 1964

This is one of my favorite Van Ronk albums cause theres a ton of mandolin in it. Conveniently someone uploaded this one as well. Let me know if the link dies and I will upload it myself.

Track List:
1. Everybody Loves My Baby
2. Stealin'
3. Take It Slow And Easy
4. St. Louis Tickle
5. Sister Kate
6. Moritat
7. Diggin' My Potatoes
8. Temptation Rag
9. Shake That Thing
10. K. C. Moan
11. Georgia Camp Meeting
12. You're A Viper

Dave Van Ronk - Songs for Ageing Children 1973

I was going to upload this one but noticed that there is already a blog with a link to download it.

Track List:

1. Duncan and Brady
2. As You Make Your Bed
3. Teddy Bear's Picnic
4. Song For Joni
5. Work With Me Annie
6. River
7. My Little Grass Shack (in Kealakekua, Hawaii)
8. Sail Away
9. Candy Man
10. Last Call

Friday, January 8, 2010

Dave Van Ronk - Van Ronk 1971

Track Listing:

Side 1:
1. Bird On The Wire
2. Fox's Minstrel Show
3. Port Of Amsterdam
4. Fat Old John
5. Urge For Going

Side 2:
6. Random Canyon
7. I Think It's Going To Rain Today
8. Gaslight Rag
9. Honey Hair
10. Legend Of The Dead Soldier
11. Ac-Cent-tchu-Ate The Positive

Dave Van Ronk, the Mayor of MacDougal Street, was a key figure in the New York folk scene known as Greenwich Village. He was one of the first to join the scene. He started out as a session jazz musician but once he decided that this scene was dead he found a new home in the folk revival. He was mainly known as a ragtime and blues guitarist, but was not limited to these styles. In his memoir "The Mayor of MacDougal Street" he talks about how, at first when he heard fingerpicking guitar, he thought that there were two people playing at the same time. It was not until he was walking through Washington Square Park where he spotted a man fingerpicking his guitar that he realized what was really going on. He then feverishly learned and even spoke of Tom Paley showing him some fundamentals of the style. Along with Robert Zimmerman, other Greenwich Village contemporaries included the Holy Modal Rounders (two of the tracks on this album are Stampfel covers), Joni Mitchell (covered one track on this album), members of the New Lost City Ramblers, Karen Dalton (Light in The Attic Records just re-released some of her material), Paul Clayton, and I'm sure that I am missing several others. When he died in 2002 Dave Van Ronk left this world, but also left his legacy, influencing countless musicians and likely many more to come.

There were no liner notes is the copy I purchased, but there was a picture with this printed on the back:


Abstract an object from a process on the run
A poem, a play
The turn your back upon it when the damn thin's done
And walk away

To seize a second's beauty and to understand
And let it go
Perhaps you could have held it always in your hand
You'll never know

We either hold a momentand then let it slip
Or we try
To keep a pleasing thing forever in our grip
And watch it die

Now cover up perfection's grave and quickened lime
Or is it better
To grouse among cinders of another time
And call them forever

A poem means just what it says-sometimes it's a bluff
Sometimes it's true
But good bad or indifferent I have said enough
What else is new?

DAVE VAN RONK - Obscure Music, Inc.