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Been All Around This World
66 minutes | 10 months ago
S2 E4 - "Making It In Hell": Parchman Farm, 1933–1969
Brutality and inhumanity were central to the Southern state prison farms, in their theory and their practice, and of them all, the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman Farm was the most brutal and inhuman. Both John A. and Alan Lomax made repeated visits to Parchman, recording — under the eye of the disinterested white captains, sergeants, and warden, and the guns of the "trusty" prisoner-guards — a body of American song unmatched in its depth, dignity, and power. Folklorist and prison documentarian Bruce Jackson once said that the group work songs sung by the black inmates of the Southern penitentiary farms were means of "making it in Hell." Alan Lomax, writing in 1947, said that: "In the pen itself, we saw that the songs, quite literally kept the men alive and normal.... These songs, coming out of the filthy darkness of the pen, touched with exquisite musicality, are a testimony to the love of truth and beauty which is a universal human trait." In this episode, spurred by the ongoing horrors being reported in the Mississippi Department of Corrections in general and at Parchman in particular, we listen back over the four decades of recordings made by the four white folklorists (the Lomaxes, Herbert Halpert, and William Ferris) who took the trouble to visit the place and document the singing of its prisoners: work songs for clearing ground, felling trees, picking cotton, or breaking rocks, as well as solo field hollers, spirituals, and blues.No one can mourn the passing of this song tradition and the system of black disenfranchisement and white supremacy that made it necessary to its singers. But, despite the 1971 class-auction lawsuit that forced federal reorganization of Parchman due to its epidemic use of "cruel and unusual punishment," it's only differently awful in 2020. In his harrowing "Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice," Michael Oshinsky provides a 1975 quote from a convict named Horace Carter, who’d been at Parchman for fifty years. What was missing in the “new” Parchman, Mr. Carter said, was “the feeling that work counted for something… awful bad as it was in most camps, that kept us tired and kept us together and made me feel better. I’m not looking to go backwards. I know the troubles at old Parchman better than any man alive. I’m 73 years old. But I look around today and see a place that makes me sad.” This episode was completed before the announcement that William Barr's Justice Department will open a civil rights investigation into conditions at Parchman. It's hard to imagine an administration with less sympathy for incarcerated people of color, but who knows, maybe, at last, Parchman Farm will be shuttered for good. “These songs are a vivid reminder of a system of social control and forced labor that has endured in the South for centuries, and I do not believe that the pattern of Southern life can be fundamentally reshaped until what lies behind these roaring, ironic choruses is understood.” —Alan Lomax, 1958For streaming audio of all of Alan Lomax's 1947, 1948, and 1959 Parchman Farm recordings, visit research.culturalequity.org. PLAYLIST:[Bed music:] Unidentified ensemble, including Lonnie Robertson, guitar, and possibly "Black Eagle," cornet. Camp 1, April 1936. *Frank Devine and unidentified man: In the Bye and Bye. Unidentified camp, August 1933. *Bowlegs (real name unknown): Drink My Morning Tea. Camp 12, August 1933. *Unidentified men: He Never Said A Mumblin' Word. Unidentified camp, August 1933. *M.B. Barnes, Louella Dade, Passion Buckner, Alberta Turner, Bertha Riley, Lily Mallard, Christine Shannon, and Josephine Douglas: Oh Freedom. Women's camp, April 1936.*Big Charlie Butler: Diamond Joe. Unidentified camp, March 1937. [Bed music:] John Dudley: Cool Drink of Water Blues. Dairy camp, October 1959. *Mattie May Thomas: Workhouse Blues. Women's camp, May 1939.*"22" (Benny Will Richardson) and group: It Makes A Long Time Man Feel Bad. Camp B, November or December 1947. *Ervin Webb and group: I'm Goin' Home. Dairy camp, October 1959. *Johnny Lee Moore, Henry Mason, Ed Lewis and James Carter: Tom Devil. Camp B, October 1959.[Bed music:] James Carter and group: Poor Lazarus. Camp B, October 1959. *Unidentified prisoners: Water Boy Drowned In the Mobile Bay. Unidentified camp, August 1968. *Heuston Earms: Ain't Been Able to Get Home No More / interview. Camp B, October 1959.
44 minutes | a year ago
S2 E3 - Singing from the Sacred Harp, 1928-1983
Sacred Harp -- the four-part shape-note singing tradition long confined to the American South, but recently enjoying remarkable international popularity and participation -- fascinated and challenged Lomax for most of his career. He recorded it multiple times, trying with increasing technological sophistication to capture its indelible magic. In this episode, we survey Alan's Sacred Harp recordings and the tradition's development, ethos, and survival. Intro: United Sacred Harp Musical Association Convention: The Bower of Prayer (#100) (Fyffe, Alabama, October 1959) 1. Allison's Sacred Harp Singers: Weeping Pilgrim (417) (Gennett 6583, Richmond, Indiana, 1928) 2. Alabama Sacred Harp Singers: Present Joys (318) (Columbia 15272, Atlanta, Georgia, 1928)Interstitial: Martha Woodard, Mission (204) (Gadsden, Alabama, June 1982) 3. Alabama Sacred Harp Singing Convention: Ballstown (217) (Jefferson County Courthouse, Birmingham, Alabama, August 1942) 4. United Sacred Harp Musical Association Convention: The Parting Hand (62) + Hallelujah (146) + Amazing Grace (45) (Fyffe, Alabama, October 1959) Interstitial: Martha Woodard, Murillo's Lesson (358) (Gadsden, Alabama, June 1982)5. Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers: How Long (Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington, D.C., August 1983) 6. Holly Springs Sacred Harp Convention: Help Me to Sing (376) (Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church, H.S., Georgia, June 1982*) 7. Alan Lomax extemporizes on musico-historical dimensions of Sacred Harp, with Phil Summerlin and Buell Cobb (Holly Springs Primitive Baptist Church, H.S., Georgia, June 1982) *An egregious error of chronology was made in this episode: Lomax's last shape-note recordings were in fact of the Wiregrass singers in 1983, as the Holly Springs recording took place in the summer of 1982 and not 1983 as repeatedly stated. Apologies!
61 minutes | a year ago
S2 E2 - The Mississippi Hill Country, 1942-1978
1. Sid Hemphill and band: The Carrier Line (or the Carrier song). Sledge, Mississippi, August 1942. 2. Sid Hemphill and Lucius Smith: Going Away, Won't Be Long. Senatobia, Miss., September 1959. 3. Miles and Bob Pratcher: I'm Gonna Live Anyhow Until I Die. Como, Miss., 9/59.4. Fred McDowell with Fanny Davis and Miles Pratcher: Shake 'Em On Down. Como, 9/59. 5. Rosa Lee Hemphill Hill: Faro. Como, 9/59.6. Sidney Hemphill Carter: Pharoah. Senatobia, 9/59.7. Ed Young; Lonnie Young, Sr.; G.D. Young: Ida Reed aka Oree aka Little and Low. Como, 9/59.8. R.L. Burnside: Going Down South. Coldwater, Miss., August 1967. (Recorded by George Mitchell.)9. R.L. Burnside: Coal Black Mattie. Como, August 1978. 10. Napoleon Strickland: Shake 'Em On Down. Como, 8/78. 11. Lucius Smith: New Railroad. Sardis, Miss., 8/78.12. Othar Turner and band: My Babe. Gravel Springs, Miss., 8/78.
53 minutes | a year ago
S2 E1 - The Southern Journey at 60
The Fall 2019 season of the program will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the so-called "Southern Journey" field-recording trip and explore various regions, traditions, and performers Lomax and Collins visited and recorded. This first episode is a (highly cursory) survey. 1. Hobart Smith: Railroad Bill. Bluefield, Virginia, August 25.2. Texas Gladden: Whole Heap of Little Horses. Salem, Virginia, August 26.3. Charlie Higgins, Wade Ward, and Bob Carpenter: Did You Ever Seen the Devil, Uncle Joe? Galax, Virginia, August 31.4. Fred McDowell with Fanny Davis and Miles Pratcher: Gravel Road Blues. Como, Mississippi, September 22.5. Ed Young, Lonnie Young, Sr., and Lonnie Young, Jr.: Church I Know We Got Another Building. Como, Mississippi, September 21.6. Ed Lewis and group (consisting of, at least, Wesley Lee Brown, Oscar Crosby, Robert Lewis, Willie Matthews, John Edmonds, Willie P. Roberts, and Henry Mason): I'll Be So Glad When the Sun Goes Down. Camp B, Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary), September 19 or 20.7. Vera Ward Hall: Wild Ox Moan. Livingston, Alabama, October 10.8. Almeda Riddle: Rainbow Mid Life's Willows. Heber Springs, Arkansas, October 6 or 7.9. Big John Davis and the Spiritual Singers of Coastal Georgia (soon to be renamed the Georgia Sea Island Singers): Moses, Don't Get Lost. St. Simons Island, Georgia, October 12.
47 minutes | 2 years ago
S1 E7 - Sing Christmas
1. Villagers of Cáceres, La Mancha: Christmas processional, Christmas Eve 19522. Merritt Boddie and Marigolds band: Christmas Machete, Gingerland, Nevis, July 19623. Norman Edmonds and the Old-Timers: Breaking Up Christmas, Hillsville, Virginia, August 19594. Sophie Loman Wing and group: All Night Long, St. Simons Island, Georgia, June 19355. Kelley Pace and prisoners: Holy Babe, Cumins State Farm, near Gould, Arkansas, 19426. Vera Ward Hall: No Room At the Inn / Last Month of the Year, Livingston, Alabama, October 19597. Phil Tanner: The Gower Wassail, Columbia Studios, London, 19378. Shirley and Dolly Collins: The Moon Shines Bright, from “For As Many As Will” (Topic, 1978)9. 1959 United Sacred Harp Musical Association: Sherburne (#186), Fyffe, Alabama, September 195910. Villagers of Hío, Aragon: Buenas Entradas de Reyes, Hío, Galicia, November 195211. Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers with Hobart Smith, Nat Rahmings, and Ed Young: Yonder Come Day, St. Simons, Georgia, 1960. Preceded by 1962 discussion about the song between Jones and Antoinette Marchand. And the complete 1957 BBC broadcast of “Sing Christmas and the Turn of the Year,” produced and hosted by Alan Lomax. Songs and performers listed here (although we have edited out Lomax's performance of "No Room At the Inn" for reasons [primarily] of file size). https://www.discogs.com/Various-Sing-Christmas-And-The-Turn-Of-The-Year/release/6156619
42 minutes | 2 years ago
S1 E6 - Oh Freedom
Topical, protest, and resistance songs from Kentucky, Virginia, Arkansas, Trinidad by way of New York City, Oklahoma by way of California, and the Mississippi State Penitentiary, better known as Parchman Farm. 1. Sarah Ogan Gunning: I Hate the Capitalist System. NYC, November 1937. 2. Hobart Smith: Peg and Awl. Bluefield, Virginia, August 1959. 3. Big Bill Broonzy: Black, Brown and White Blues. Decca Studios, NYC, March 1947. 4. Lord Invader: Yankee Dollar. Town Hall, NYC, December 1947. 5. Woody Guthrie: Dust Bowl Refugees. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., March 1940. 6. Nimrod Workman: 42 Years. Mascot, Tennessee, July 1983. 7. Floyd Batts: Dangerous Blues. Parchman Farm Camp 11, Parchman, Mississippi, September 1959. 8. M.B. Barnes & prisoners: Oh Freedom. Parchman Farm Women's Camp, April 1936.
25 minutes | 3 years ago
S1 E5 - Singing of the Sea
Songs from and/or of the sea (and one Great Lake), from Italy, Scotland, Grenada, the Georgia Sea Islands, and Lake Michigan. 1. Captain A.H. Rasmussen: interview on chanties/Amsterdam Maid (fragment). Recorded in London, 1955.2. Daniel Aitkens & tombstone feast group: Blow the Man Down. Recorded in La Resource, Carriacou, Grenada, August 1962.3. Big John Davis, Henry Morrison, and Georgia Sea Island Singers: Hop Along, Let’s Get Her. Recorded in St. Simons Island, Georgia, October 1959.4. Elizabeth Austin and group: Sailing In the Boat When the Tide Runs Strong. Recorded in Old Bight, Cat Island, Bahamas, 1935.5. Dominick Gallagher: The Gallagher Boys. Recorded at Beaver Island, Michigan, 1938. 6. Penny Morrison and group: Cha déid mi do dh’fhear gun bhàta (I’ll Not Go To A Man Without A Boat). Recorded at Balivanich, Benbecula, Scotland, June 1951.7. Michele Ilari and fishermen: Cialomi (tuna fishing chants). Recorded off Agrigento, Sicily, Italy, June 1954.8. Jean Glaud: Hooray Irena. Recorded in Gouyave, Carriacou, Grenada, August 1962. 9. Lomax interview with Newton Joseph, interspersed with chanteys (“Hi-Lo Boys” and “Long Time Ago”), L’Esterre, Carriacou, 1962.
25 minutes | 3 years ago
S1 E4 - Let Us Not Praise Famous Men
The Lomaxes are well-known for the recordings they made of artists who went on to become famous and influential figures in traditional and popular music alike: Lead Belly, Bessie Jones, Woody Guthrie, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters. But there are countless wonderful singers and players in the Lomax collections about whom we know next to nothing or nothing whatsoever, and this episode focuses on some of them, with music from Memphis, Cajun Louisiana, Morocco, Sint Eustatius, Romania, and two songs from the Mississippi Delta (one by way of Detroit).1. Unidentified woman: All Power Is In His Hands. Recorded at the Coahoma County Agricultural High School, Coahoma, Mississippi, July 1942.2. Cecil Augusta: Crawford's Jump. Memphis, Tennessee, October 1959. 3. Sampson Pittman with Calvin Frazier: I Been Down the Circle Before. Detroit, Michigan, November 1938. 4. Unidentified: Strigaturi. Dragus, Romania, August 1964. 5. Alice Gibbs: Jerusalem Cuckoo (I Am A Donkey Driver). St. Eustatius (Statia), 1967.6. Unidentified: Cajun mazurka. Kaplan, Louisiana, 1934. 7. Unidentified Amazigh man: Al-Hamdulillah (Thanks Be to God). Aguelmouss, Ouarzazate, Souss-Massa-Drâa, Morocco. September 1967.
20 minutes | 3 years ago
S1 E3 - Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea
Dance tunes from Arkansas, Abruzzo, the island of Dominica, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a front porch in the North Carolina Piedmont, and an excerpt from the "Dancing Around the World" episode of Alan Lomax's 1948 "Your Ballad Man" radio show. 1. Said excerpt, early 1948, Mutual Broadcasting System.2. Edward King: Le Jour D L'an (New Years Day). Recorded in Baraga, Michigan, October 1938. 3. Neal Morris & Uncle Charlie Higgins: Wave the Ocean, Wave the Sea. Timbo, Arkansas, September 1959.4. Sonia Carbon and group: Bo Mwen Che. Woodford Hill, Dominica, June 1962. 5. Unidentified singers with Liborio Garanfa (guitar) and Giuseppe Gavita (violin): Saltarella. Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy, December 1954.6. Algia Mae Hinton: front porch boogie. Johnston County, North Carolina, July 1983.
28 minutes | 3 years ago
S1 E2 - Baby, It Must Be Love
A selection of songs concerning love in its vagaries, timed for Valentine's Day. Performances from Atlanta, Georgia; Cajun Louisiana; Scotland; Southwest Virginia; Turkmenistan; Eastern Kentucky, and the Arkansas Ozarks. Playlist: 1. Blind Willie McTell: King Edward Blues. Recorded by John A. Lomax in Atlanta, Georgia, November 5, 1940. 2. Isla Cameron: Died for Love. Recorded in London, England, February 11, 1951. 3a. Ella Hoffpauir: Papier d'épingles. Recorded by John A. and Alan Lomax in New Iberia, Louisiana, August 1934.3b. Mr. & Mrs. John Mearns: Pennyworth O' Preens. Recorded in Aberdeen, Scotland, on July 15, 1951. 3c. E.C. and Orna Ball: Paper of Pins. Recorded in Rugby, Virginia, August 30, 1959.4. Gurbandurdy Jeng Ienov and ensemble: You Are Beautiful. Original recording date unknown; dubbed by Alan Lomax at Radio Moscow, August 1964. (Notes read: singer Mr. Gurbandury Ienov, accompanied himself on dutar, with gyjak and 2 dutars.) 5. Harvey Porter: Since You Have Disdained Me. Recorded in Salyersville, Kentucky, on October 23, 1937. 6. Almeda Riddle: The Lonesome Dove. Recorded in Greers Ferry, Arkansas, on October 6 or 7, 1959. 7. Primitiva Amado Díaz, Balbina Díaz-Jiménez, and Marcelina Díaz-Jiménez: The Wedding of Inisilla and Brilliante. Recorded in Arroyo de la Luz, Extremadura, Spain on October 4, 1952.
33 minutes | 3 years ago
S1 E1 - I've Been All Around This World
In the inaugural episode of "Been All Around This World" we survey Alan Lomax's seven-decade field-recording career, with music from Haiti, Ireland, Mississippi, North Carolina, and the tiny Caribbean island of Carriacou, recorded between 1937 and 1991. Playlist: 1. Rara St. Therese: Mwen tètè (I Am Stubborn). Members unidentified. Recorded on March 27, 1937, in Carrefour Dufort, Haiti.2. Tangle Eye (Walter Jackson) with Hard Hat (Willie Lacy), 22 (Benny Will Richardson), and Little Red: When I Went to Leland. Recorded at Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary), Sunflower County, Mississippi, November or December 1947. 3. Margaret Barry: She Moved Through the Fair. Recorded in London, England, on November 1, 1953. 4. Georgia Sea Island Singers (Bessie Jones, John Davis, and Emma Ramsey) with Hobart Smith, Ed Young, and Nat Rahmings: That Suits Me. Recorded at St. Simons Island, Georgia, in April 1960. 5. Belton Sutherland: Blues #2. Recorded at the home of Clyde "Judas" Maxwell, Madison County, Mississippi, on September 3, 1978. 6. Sheila Kay Adams: Dinah. Recorded at the home of Dellie Chandler Norton, Sodom Laurel, Burton Cove, Madison County, North Carolina, September 6-7, 1982. 7. Winston Fleary: Marullus's speech from Julius Caesar (Act I, Scene I). Recorded during Shakespeare Mas, Carriacou, Grenada, 1991.
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