The 1930s and 1940s represented an era in United States history when large groups of citizens took political action in response to their social and economic circumstances. The vision, attitudes, beliefs and purposes of participants before, during, and after this time period played an important part of American cultural history. Richard and JoAnne Reuss expertly capture the personality of this era and the fascinating chronology of events in American Folk Music and Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957, a historical analysis of singers, writers, union members and organizers and their connection to left-wing politics and folk music during this revolutionary time period. While scholarship on folk music, history, and politics is not unique in and of itself, Reuss' approach is noteworthy for its folklorist perspective and its long, encompassing assessment of a broad cross-section of participants and their interactions. An innovative and informative look into one of the most evocative and challenging eras in American history, American Folk Music and Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957 stands as a historic milestone in this period's scholarship and evolution.
Americana is a music that defies definition. It isn't rock, although it does encompass rock. It isn't folk, but folk is there. It isn't Celtic, but it is woven with Celtic threads. It is a blend of forms, music that draws on a wide range of influences. Gathering these many genres together, Americana continually reinvents itself and actively tells the story of its origins and its future. The Americana Revolution: From Country and Blues Roots to the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and Beyond is an informal social history that describes Americana as both a musical genre and a movement, showing what it is, where it came from, and where it is going. Musician and historian Michael Scott Cain examines how the idea of genre, especially Americana, affects the creation and consumption of music. He tries to discern the formulas of this slippery genre and seeks out the places where artists have broken or bent those formulas in the name of creativity. Through anecdotes and interviews, Cain provides a firsthand view into the creation of Americana to clarify how the genre can be categorized and defined. Through the stories of its creators both long gone and new to the scene, Americana music comes alive as a diverse melting pot of creative genius. With this book, Cain grants music lovers from all backgrounds an unparalleled view into the future of a music that embraces new influences but never forgets its roots.
A vivid, first-hand account of Nobel Prize-winning singer and songwriter Bob Dylan as an artist, friend, and celebrity, illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, and told by an engaging raconteur who cut his own swathe through the turbulent counterculture.August 2014 marks 50 years since Bob Dylan released his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. Recorded in one night, in the middle of a turbulent year in his life, the music marked a departure from Dylan's socially-conscious folk songs and began his evolution toward other directions. During the years they spent together, few people outside of Dylan's immediate family were closer than Victor Maymudes, who was Dylan's tour manager, personal friend, and travelling companion from the early days in 1960s Greenwich Village through the late 90's. Another Side of Bob Dylan recounts landmark events including Dylan's infamous motorcycle crash; meeting the Beatles on their first US tour; his marriage to Sara Lownds, his romances with Suze Rotolo, Joan Baez, and others; fellow travelers Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Wavy Gravy, Dennis Hopper, The Band, The Traveling Wilburys, and more; memorable concerts, and insights on Dylan's songwriting process. On January 26th, 2001, after recording more than 24 hours of taped memories in preparation for writing this book, Victor Maymudes suffered an aneurysm and died. His son Jacob has written the book, using the tapes to shape the story. A Los Angeles Times Best Seller.
Arlo Guthrie, the son of America's legendary dust bowl troubadour Woody Guthrie and Martha Graham dancer Marjorie Mazia Guthrie, was reared in the rarefied atmosphere of New York City's remnant Old Left culture, a period that brought together art, political action, and folk music. Music was part of Guthrie's life from the very beginning and his self-confessed earliest childhood memory was standing knee-high next to Lead Belly, the blues legend and "King of the twelve-string Guitar." Arlo's earliest mentors were his father's friends, and the youngster would learn his craft from the giants of American folk music: Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Cisco Houston, Josh White, Oscar Brand, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Brownie McGhee, and Sonny Terry. Arlo Guthrie: The Warner/Reprise Years revisits Guthrie's fifteen-year ride as a recording artist for the prestigious record label. Hank Reineke guides readers through the colorful history of Guthrie's most creative period, when the droll, shaggy-haired troubadour promised in song that a "new world" was surely coming. In his thoughtful consideration of Guthrie's career as a popular, if idiosyncratic, recording artist for the Reprise/Warner Bros. label, Reineke regales readers with stories behind the remarkable success of Guthrie's talking blues-turned-movie Alice's Restaurant and his celebrated appearance at the 1969 Woodstock festival. Guthrie's time at Reprise/Warner Bros. from 1967 to 1982 saw twelve critically acclaimed solo albums, two staple singles of FM radio ("Coming Into Los Angeles" and "City of New Orleans"), and a pair of treasured folk-music recording collaborations with Pete Seeger. With a look at Guthrie's life and times before and after this prolific period of his career, Arlo Guthrie: The Warner/Reprise Years is the first biography dedicated solely to this gifted artist. A goldmine of information on the Guthrie family's legacy to American music, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the record industry of the 1970s, this work also features a detailed bibliography as well as the first comprehensive discography of Guthrie's recordings through the present day. Arlo Guthrie: The Warner/Reprise Years will appeal to popular music historians, folk-rock fans, and readers interested in the American counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s.
Much has been written about the songs gathered in North America in the first half of the 20th century. However, there is scant information on those individuals responsible for gathering these songs. The Ballad Collectors of North America: How Gathering Folksongs Transformed Academic Thought and American Identity fills this gap, documenting the efforts of those who transcribed and recorded North American folk songs. Both biographical and topical, this book chronicles not only the most influential of these "song catchers" but also examines the main schools of thought on the collection process, the leading proponents of those schools, and the projects that they shaped. Contributors also consider the role of technology-especially the phonograph-in the collection efforts. Chapters organized by region cover such areas as Appalachia, the West, and Canada, while others devoted to specialized topics from the cowboy tune and occupational song to the commercialization of folk music through song collections and anthologies. Ballad Collectors investigates the larger role of the ballad in the development of American identity, from the national appreciation of cowboy songs in popular culture to the use of Appalachian song forms in radio broadcasts to the role of dustbowl ballads in the urban folk revival of the 1950s and 1960s. Finally, this collection assesses the changing role of songs and song texts in the academic fields of folklore, anthropology, musicology, and ethnomusicology. Scholars and students of American cultural and social history, as well as fans of North American folk and popular music, will find The Ballad Collectors of North America a fascinating story of how the American folk tradition gained greater visibility, fueling the revolutions that would follow in the writing and performance of American music.
The Beautiful Music All Around Us presents the extraordinarily rich backstories of thirteen performances captured on Library of Congress field recordings between 1934 and 1942 in locations reaching from Southern Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta and the Great Plains. Including the children's play song "Shortenin' Bread," the fiddle tune "Bonaparte's Retreat," the blues "Another Man Done Gone," and the spiritual "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down," these performances were recorded in kitchens and churches, on porches and in prisons, in hotel rooms and school auditoriums. Documented during the golden age of the Library of Congress recordings, they capture not only the words and tunes of traditional songs but also the sounds of life in which the performances were embedded: children laugh, neighbors comment, trucks pass by.
Musician and researcher Stephen Wade sought out the performers on these recordings, their families, fellow musicians, and others who remembered them. He reconstructs the sights and sounds of the recording sessions themselves and how the music worked in all their lives. Some of these performers developed musical reputations beyond these field recordings, but for many, these tracks represent their only appearances on record: prisoners at the Arkansas State Penitentiary jumping on "the Library's recording machine" in a rendering of "Rock Island Line"; Ora Dell Graham being called away from the schoolyard to sing the jump-rope rhyme "Pullin' the Skiff"; Luther Strong shaking off a hungover night in jail and borrowing a fiddle to rip into "Glory in the Meetinghouse."
Alongside loving and expert profiles of these performers and their locales and communities, Wade also untangles the histories of these iconic songs and tunes, tracing them through slave songs and spirituals, British and homegrown ballads, fiddle contests, gospel quartets, and labor laments. By exploring how these singers and instrumentalists exerted their own creativity on inherited forms, "amplifying tradition's gifts," Wade shows how a single artist can make a difference within a democracy.
Reflecting decades of research and detective work, the profiles and abundant photos in The Beautiful Music All Around Us bring to life largely unheralded individuals--domestics, farm laborers, state prisoners, schoolchildren, cowboys, housewives and mothers, loggers and miners--whose music has become part of the wider American musical soundscape. The hardcover edition also includes an accompanying CD that presents these thirteen performances, songs and sounds of America in the 1930s and '40s.
This volume documents Frederic Ramsey Jr.'s journeys through the 1950s South, where he traveled in search of what might still remain of an original, authentic African American musical tradition.In these photographs, songs, interviews, and narratives, Ramsey portrays farmers, railroad workers, housewives, children, church congregations, and country brass bands from Saratoga, Florida, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Ramsey's images of a past way of life capture the deceptively poor landscapes and lives that gave birth to and sustained some of our warmest and most deeply felt music.
A modern parable. --from the foreword by Grace Slick
"Jorma Kaukonen is a force in American music, equally adept at fingerpicked acoustic folk and blues as he is at wailing on an electric." - Acoustic Guitar
Beethoven composed far more folksong settings than any other type of composition. Yet Beethoven's settings, commissioned by George Thomson of Edinburgh, have been neglected by performers and scholars alike, and nearly all accounts of them are both superficial and startlingly inaccurate. This book is based on a very elaborate study of a wide range of sources, and dispels the many myths that have been circulating about this music. Every one of the 179 settings is dated to within a few weeks and an account is given of the souces of the melodies and texts, the difficulties of sending the music across Europe during the Napoleonic Wars (smugglers were even called upon to assist ), the fees Beethoven received, and when and how the texts were added. By comparing Beethoven's settings with those of his predecessors Pleyel, Haydn and Kozeluch, the author demonstrates that Beethoven comprehensively transcended the bounds of convention, producing settings of extraordinary quality and originality.