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Bobby Charles, Singer, Songwriter, National Treasure 1938-2010

Bobby Charles 1938-2010. Songwriter, musician's musician and cultural treasure, he died on last Thursday in Abbeville,Lousiana. In the 1950s, he wrote Fats Domino's Walking to New Orleans, Bill Haley and the Comet's See You Later, Alligator and recorded for Chess records. His eponymous Bearsville album recorded in Woodstock in 1972 has been described as the best Band album released under another name.(Check out Small Town Talk there.) He appeared as well in the Band's farewell concert filmed as The Last Waltz. He made an enormous contribution to American popular music. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jan 19, 2010 - 25 comments

Portraits from the hollers

Shelby Lee Adams has spent decades photographing the holler families of rural Kentucky and the mountain folk of Appalachia. More B&W images from the Edelman gallery. Interview With An Artist: Shelby Lee Adams (alternate B&W PDF version); Essays by Adams: All of Us and The Napier's Living Room, 1989; Interview with 92-year old Scotty Stidham.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 18, 2010 - 15 comments

An Alternative Version of Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead"

Good morning. It's Monday. I know that it sucks to have to come back to work after a holiday weekend. So I am going to share with you this alternative version of Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead" mixed with archival footage of old-timey American dancing. I hope this brightens your day a little bit.
posted by jason's_planet on Dec 28, 2009 - 33 comments

Baking the Cherpumple

Renound "Histo-Tainer" Charles Phoenix, who gives slide shows of found 35mm slides, bakes a Cherpumple. (think turducken, but with cake.)
posted by gyusan on Dec 18, 2009 - 18 comments

A loving look back on Dixieland Jazz

"Men working on the river would move in time to the beat of the music. It was everywhere: on the street, in the church. In the tonks and barrelhouses where people went to be together. Like the beating of a big heart. It gave everyone a good feeling." The Cradle is Rocking is a delightful 12-minute film that, though somewhat damaged (Folkstreams has found what may be the only surviving print), is highly recommended viewing for anyone interested in American roots music: in this case, New Orleans jazz. The film's thoughtful and affable narrator is trumpeter George "Kid Sheik" Cola, who can be heard along with Captain John Handy serving up some fine old-school Dixieland jazz here and here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 9, 2009 - 13 comments

bluestab's blog meets AfricanAfrican aka NegroArtist.com

Chanteur puissant à la voix rocailleuse. And here is bluestab's blog And here, via Babelfish is bluestab's blog in an English of sorts. Then, while, looking for mp3s to match the tabs, I came across the universe of African American history and culture that is AfricanAfrican aka NegroArtist.com, a site so big it has two URLs. [Billy Mays] But, wait--that's not all! [/Billy Mays] [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Oct 23, 2009 - 12 comments

I found some found photos

Stateside, Wild Youth, Motor Life, Roberta's World, Memento, and Sidewalks. Six collections of found vernacular photographs from reservatory.net. More found photos at Phoundfotographs, Accidental Mysteries, and Other People's Pictures. In the same vein as the better known (and previously posted) Shorpy and Square America.
posted by dersins on Sep 24, 2009 - 7 comments

Times of our lives indeed

Hiking, biking, boating, fishing, shooting and more: "The Times of Our Lives." Wonderful scans of vintage photos of the 1950's and 1960's (uh, and 80's) from flickr user aroid. [via]
posted by dersins on Aug 11, 2009 - 7 comments

Always been a rambler....

Mike Seeger, folk musician and folklorist, passed away on August 7, 2009. Half-brother to Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger was self-taught at banjo, fiddle, guitar, autoharp, and dulcimer, among other instruments. Additionally, Seeger spent decades traveling the country to collect and document American folk musicians, many of whom would have been forgotten were it not for his efforts. In the late 50's, Seeger, Tom Paley, and John Cohen founded the old-time string band The New Lost City Ramblers. The Ramblers countered the rising tide of bluegrass music with a return to old-time traditionals and were a significant influence on the mid-century folk revival. Seeger's death coincides with the upcoming release of an Arhoolie Foundation documentary about the Ramblers (warning: the documentary link contains an embedded video). On Youtube: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. [more inside]
posted by signalandnoise on Aug 11, 2009 - 20 comments

Perambulating Penthouse

The Ford Treasury of Station Wagon Living blogged. (Vol 2). Downloadable at the Internet Archive. Scans of drawings here. [more inside]
posted by dersins on Aug 7, 2009 - 29 comments

WangDangSweetPoonTwang

Twangfest 13 is underway in St. Louis. A multi-day festival of Americana music, past editions have featured artists such as the Bottle Rockets, Neko Case, and Jason Ringenberg. Several of this year's featured artists will be playing live on KDHX during the festival, live streaming audio available.
posted by ArgentineBlonde on Jun 11, 2009 - 13 comments

Black and White People Furniture

The Red House sells black and white people furniture (youtube). (via bookofjoe)
posted by alms on May 22, 2009 - 29 comments

Modulating for the Lord!

The foot bone connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone connected to the leg bone, the leg bone connected to the knee bone, the knee bone connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone connected to the hip bone, the hip bone connected to the back bone, the back bone connected to the shoulder bone, the shoulder bone connected to the neck bone, the neck bone connected to the head bone, now hear the word of the lord...and be sure to check the hover-overs for link details on all this bony business,
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 2, 2009 - 24 comments

Bradley Walker

Perhaps the greatest country baritone since George Jones is confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy and has a day job at a nuclear power plant. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Apr 14, 2009 - 29 comments

Tampa Red

Hey kids, let's go way back, and spend a little quality time with Tampa Red, shall we? Cause, you know, you can't get that stuff no more, and if you missed him, you missed a good man.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 20, 2009 - 7 comments

You like vinyl? I've got your vinyl right here.

Desperate Man Blues Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jan 31, 2009 - 15 comments

Why Does Hollywood Hate the Suburbs?

In defense of suburbs: "Revolutionary Road," based on Richard Yates's 1961 novel of the same name, is the latest entry in a long stream of art that portrays the American suburbs as the physical correlative to spiritual and mental death.
posted by kliuless on Dec 29, 2008 - 172 comments

'Where Yesterday Began' --More about Edith Macefield and the Little House In Ballard

'Where Yesterday Began'

More about Edith Macefield and the Little House in Ballard. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 29, 2008 - 42 comments

Walk on Water

Walk on Water: OH Napier is a living piece of Americana and performing a conceptual piece with guitar, river, .25-.38 cal pistol and disquieted camera woman. You may get as many as three songs for your 2:31 of youtubery, I can't say for certain if they are individual pieces or just movements in a larger piece. Also, spirit liquor may have played a part in the creative act.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Dec 4, 2008 - 29 comments

Just three old blues tunes, that's all.

Ramblin' Thomas: No Job Blues (1928), J.D. Short: Lonesome Swamp Rattlesnake (1930), Bo Carter: My Baby (1940). [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 28, 2008 - 3 comments

Dock Boggs, 1966

As a young man in the 1920s, Dock Boggs [previously] recorded some songs that were released as 78s, and they are wonderful treasures of southern Americana, but I was always even more fond of his recordings from the 1960s, when, as an old man, he was rediscovered during the folk boom. So I was delighted to find that three of his 60s-period performances have recently shown up on YouTube. Here's Pretty Polly, Country Blues and I Hope I Live, all from 1966. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 2, 2008 - 15 comments

How do you do! I am the little book that you have made.

Book of Short Stories :: Short stories written by New York State 5th graders in 1931. (Be sure to read the About page to get a sense of the setting of the times.) (via Thingamababy)
posted by anastasiav on Sep 22, 2008 - 20 comments

Not-so-faded glory

Perhaps you think you've had your fill of photographs of decaying architecture and abandoned buildings. If so, the rich color and play of light in Michael Eastman's beautiful body of work from Cuba, Europe, and the U.S. may change your mind. His site is flash - for non-flash folks, the Duane Reed Gallery has additional works, including his B&W portfolios on horses, landscapes, and succulents. (no relation to the Kodak family; via BB-Blog)
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 23, 2008 - 15 comments

A barber came to Bristol...

Eighty one years ago to the day, barber, banjoist and balladeer B.F. Shelton travelled from his home in Kentucky to take part in a recording session in Bristol Tennessee. Now referred to as the "Bristol Sessions", these recordings are widely viewed as some of the most important and influential in American music history. The four songs Shelton recorded that day, stark, simple and immensely powerful in their unadorned honesty, can all be heard here. After Bristol, Shelton never recorded again. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 29, 2008 - 16 comments

Lookin' for a home...

In the little town of Enterprise, Alabama, there stands a bizarre statue that would make any card-carrying surrealist proud: an archetypical Greek goddess raises her arms toward heaven and holds high above her head... an enormous insect. Of course, it's the boll weevil. That cotton-eatin' critter inspired not only the world's only monument to an agricultural pest, but some great tunes as well, from a wide range of artists. [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 15, 2008 - 35 comments

Gone, like a train...

There's just something so pleasing about watching a mixed freight train go by. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 30, 2008 - 64 comments

Eck Robertson drew a mean bow.

Alexander "Eck" Robertson (1886 - 1975) was one hell of a fine fiddler, friend. He made, in 1922, what many country music historians consider the first commercial recording of country music. And now some kind soul has made ol' Eck a MySpace page where you can get a taste (five tastes, actually) of some of that bodacious bowing. Then head over to Ragtime Annie's place. What? She's Done Gone? She must've run off with the Arkansaw Traveler. Guess you'll have to make do with that Turkey In The Straw. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 2, 2008 - 3 comments

Jes' some old tunes, is all...

For your weekend aural edification, courtesy of Internet Archive, a sampling of Old-Time and country blues gems: Buell Kazee's The Dying Soldier (1928), B.F. Shelton's Pretty Polly (1927), Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words (1930), Dock Boggs' Danville Girl, Kelly Harrel's Rovin' Gambler (1925), Clarence Ashley's My Sweet Farm Girl (1931), Charlie Poole's Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues (1925) and the Memphis Jug Band's A Black Woman is Like a Black Snake (1928).
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 18, 2008 - 13 comments

Boggs and Gedney, a perfect match.

The stark, modal banjo and achingly poignant, weathered voice of the great Dock Boggs [previous] are the perfect aural accompaniment to a slideshow of William Gedney's [previous] powerfully intimate photographs: Kentucky, 1964. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 15, 2008 - 11 comments

Oleo Lord

To the congregation of the Solid RockChurch, he's known as the King of Kings. But others who have witnessed his glory have other names for him: MC 62ft Jesus, Touchdown Jesus, and perhaps most famously, as immortalized by Heywood Banks, Big Butter Jesus. And he's been a very busy boy. [more inside]
posted by LeeJay on Mar 29, 2008 - 27 comments

Blood Bitters 'n' Swamp Root

Time, Tide, and Tonics: The Patent Medicine Almanac in America. "Almanacs have been a part of American life since its very beginning. One of the first books printed in English America was an almanac [pdf]. By the mid-18th century the almanac had become, after the Bible, the book most likely to be found in ordinary homes. Produced annually, almanacs provided practical information and entertainment."
posted by katillathehun on Mar 25, 2008 - 6 comments

Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old

Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old, a film by Alan Lomax, takes a loving look at the talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and story-tellers from southern American folk traditions. All the musicians featured in the film have soul and musical energy to spare: great, great performances and engaging reminiscences make this film a real treat. Please see the [more inside] for a collection of links to several of the outstanding performers featured in the film. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 25, 2008 - 15 comments

Now it's dark.

Lost America is a purdy website featuring night photography of ghost towns, urban exploration, decommissioned military facilities, airplane graveyards, and other roadside abandonments of the American west.
posted by dhammond on Mar 2, 2008 - 22 comments

Jonathan Richman - Now Is Better Than Before

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - I'm A Little Dinosaur
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - New England
Jonathan Richman - Now Is Better Than Before
Spring is in the air today and here are a few slices of vintage Jonathan just because... [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Mar 2, 2008 - 45 comments

Robert Petway - Catfish Blues

And here we have a couple of YouTube productions, screensaverish animations of photos and lyrics to the original recordings: Robert Petway - Catfish Blues and Tommy McClennan - It's Hard To Be Lonesome. This is mostly about Petway and Catfish Blues but you can't mention Petway without mentioning McClennan, as they ran together in their time and as both did versions of Catfish, a song canonical in Delta Blues, recorded and performed by nearly everyone--Muddy Waters - Rolling Stone, for example. Petway just happens to be the first person to record Catfish, and quite possibly the person who wrote it and certainly. to my mind, at least, the person who nailed it... in the uptempo version at the very least. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 28, 2008 - 8 comments

Vintage american decor and more

Mid-century American decor's holy trinity of materials were steel, linoleum and plastic., all of which are on display in these galleries from Plan59, which also brings us cars, trucks, food and more. (Including a blog).
posted by dersins on Nov 29, 2007 - 11 comments

Big city lights guide my way into the night

The American Sign Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and documenting historic and vintage signs from the American landscape.
posted by fandango_matt on Nov 29, 2007 - 13 comments

Vintage Musical Americana featuring The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection

Here is Naomia Wise from The Max Hunter Folksong Collection. Folk songs, more or less, sung by real folks, collected in Arkansas by Max Hunter between 1956 and 1976. On a related tip, here is Historic Music--recorded popular music from the 1920s, with a large selection devoted to music from the First World War. And here, from Manufacturing Memory: American Popular Music in the 1930's, are the Popular Music Jukebox 1930-1934 and the Popular Music Jukebox 1935-1939 to complete this day's vintage musical Americana experience.
The Max Hunter songs are in RealAudio. Realplayer haters can use Real Alternative aka Media Player Classic.
posted by y2karl on Nov 27, 2007 - 9 comments

Vintage propaganda and more from Weirdo Video

Please enjoy vintage video propaganda:
Don't Be A Sucker
The Enemy Agent & You
Your Job in Germany
So They Tell Me and
Propaganda Techniques
[more inside]
posted by carsonb on Nov 20, 2007 - 19 comments

Black breastfeeding. From the 'stuff you don't think about' dept.

"I am on a near-daily treasure hunt of sorts. I scour our American past to help understand modern breastfeeding..." The Black Breastfeeding Blog, with photographs and history.
posted by kmennie on Nov 12, 2007 - 43 comments

Honking Duck - Listen to Old Time Music from 78s

Hill Billie Blues by Uncle Dave Macon and his Fruit Jar Drinkers is under 1924 at Honking Duck. You could search that by title as well. Or you can look up by Artist as in Al Hopkins & His Buckle Busters.
Need I mention all are in RealAudio ? Hate Realplayer ? Well, as noted before, fight the power and use Real Alternative aka Media Player Classic instead. It's not exactly my favorite style of interface but they certainly do afford a large selection.
posted by y2karl on Nov 5, 2007 - 6 comments

Down with the old folks at... MySpace.

Each of the following MySpace Music pages features bios and/or photos and/or videos and/or miscellaneous related materials and/or up to four songs by each of the following Old Time, Traditional, Appalachian folk (and related) artists: Lowe Stokes, Clarence Ashley, Charlie Poole, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, Roanoke Jug Band, Roscoe Holcomb, Hobart Smith, The Weems String Band, Burnet & Rutherford, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, John Masters, Dock Boggs, Tampa Joe & Macon Ed, William Stepp, Buddy Thomas, Buell Kazee, Isidore Soucy, John Salyer, Cousin Emmy, Luther Strong, Elizabeth Cotten, Fred Cockerham, G.B. Grayson, Melvin Wine, Lewis Brothers, Uncle Dave Macon, George Lee Hawkins and Wilmer Watts. And here's some general Old Time (etc.) pages, featuring various artists: Dust To Digital, Traditional Music of Beech Mountain and North Carolina Folklife Institute. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 24, 2007 - 17 comments

Folktunes.org - The Folktunes Archive for teaching and learning.

Viola Lee Blues by Cannon's Jug Stompers
The House Carpenter - Clarence Ashley
Old Dan Tucker - Judge Sturdy's Orchestra
Minglewood Blues - Cannon's Jug Stompers
Coo Coo Bird - Clarence Ashley
Sally Gooden - Eck Robertson on fiddle
The Worried Blues - Samantha Bumgarner
Dark Holler - Clarence Ashley
Cocaine Habit Blues - The Memphis Jug Band
All are from Folktunes.org, a list of annotated links to mp3s at the Internet Archive with lyrics and history on each page. It's like a functional annotated academic SomeOfTheCoolest78sAttheInternetArchiveFilter .
posted by y2karl on Oct 22, 2007 - 14 comments

John Fahey - Fare Forward Voyagers

John Fahey - Fare Forward Voyagers
John Fahey - Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Phillip XIV
Clips from a 2 hour performance at the Euphoria Tavern in Portland, Oregon from 1976. Among the cognoscenti at FaheyGuitarPlayers, the consensus is that these clips display Fahey in rare form on a very good night.
Apart from Fahey, Bohemia Visual Music aka Mike Nastra, the contributor of these clips, provides an interesting assortment of way too hip YouTubery offerings including, among others, Spike Jones, Dimandas Galas, Gene Krupa, Tuxedo Moon, Sun Ra, Pere Ubu and the Holy Modal Rounders.
posted by y2karl on Oct 16, 2007 - 9 comments

The Little House In Ballard

Edith Macefield is stubborn. Man, is she stubborn. That's what her mother told her when she was a little girl back in the 1920s. It's a characteristic that has followed her all her life. Now that unrelenting stubbornness has won the 86-year-old woman admirers throughout Ballard. Macefield refused to sell her little old house where she has lived since 1966 to developers, forcing them to build an entire five-story project, which includes a grocery store, fitness club and parking garage, around her. She was offered $1 million to leave. She turned it down flat.
Old Ballard's new hero
Newsfilter, local interest filter, too, but, oh, man, it lifts the spirits. Her's is the last house on the block, the one in which she grew up, the one her mother died in. She is going to be surrounded by five storys of shopping mall but she isn't moving. It's like The Little House come to life. And bonus points: Mike's Chili Parlor, the other hold out on the same block, is the bomb. So you get two Old Lost Seattle treasures in one post.
posted by y2karl on Oct 15, 2007 - 81 comments

...And Ruby Falls

See Rock City. See Seven States.
posted by Miko on Aug 8, 2007 - 27 comments

The slow death of an American institution

Grange Halls are common landmarks in America's rural communities. But what is a "Grange"? The Order of Patrons of Husbandry is a fraternal agricultural organization, but it's not just a social group for farmers; Grange lobbying fought railroad monopolies and led to Rural Free Delivery, the Farm Credit System, and other "progressive legislation that will benefit U.S. agriculture, rural America, and the nation in general". But after 140 years, the Grange is fading away.
posted by litlnemo on Jul 30, 2007 - 30 comments

You want the Old Skool? You can't handle the Old Skool! You don't even have a clue what the Old Skool is! *chops down door* Here's ...Johnny!!!

Here is Uncle John Scruggs singing and playing Little Log Cabin Round the Lane in RealAudio Dial Up and DSL format. The dancing is great and I do like the walk-on kitten part, myself.

That's from the Center For Southern African-American Music Video Link Page. Their audio link page is a wonder, too with individual artists galore. But, for the real deal, check out the Various Artist compilation album pages. Those may be 20 second of so mp3 clips but, still, those Yazoo, Document and Folkways albums are the bomb and there you get a taste of what they offer. And anywhere you can hear, for example, even a few bars of Blind Alfred Reed's How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live ? or Estil C. Ball and Lacey Richardson's Trials, Troubles, Tribulations rules in my world.
posted by y2karl on Jun 29, 2007 - 9 comments

Ride The Hound

Ride the hound. Greyhound Lines has always been the travel choice for Americas' poor. Visit the Greyhound Museum. Hear some stories. Take the Greyhound trivia challenge.
posted by Xurando on Jun 16, 2007 - 26 comments

Beautiful Losers

Karen Dalton - It Hurts Me, Too
Tim Buckley - Sally Go 'Round The Roses
Tim Hardin - If I Were A Carpenter
See also
The Other Side Of Greenwich Village 60's Folk Scene - Part 1
and Part 2  
more within
posted by y2karl on May 4, 2007 - 47 comments

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