172 posts tagged with Americana.
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popular (folk) song

Satan your kingdom must come down. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 15, 2011 - 31 comments

America reCycled: The best web content I have seen in a while

On one level America reCycled is simply the journal of two brothers riding recycled bicycles across the United States and meeting people. Lots of them. On another level it is a Homeric tale of an American adventure. It has been a long time since I have seen web content of this quality. The writing is superb, the videos so compelling you can't look away and the perspective gained is invaluable. I am positive this has been posted here before, but it certainly deserves a bump.
posted by dbooker on May 20, 2011 - 10 comments

Into the woods...

Whitestone Motion Pictures presents Blood On My Name, a short musical film in the style of Americana folklore. [more inside]
posted by starvingartist on May 3, 2011 - 2 comments

Everything is cheaper than it looks

Pleasant Family Shopping is an extensive blog dedicated to shopping malls and supermarkets of the past. The entries devoted to the 60's are especially interesting. The Woolco entry has lots of period photograghs of customers from around 1970. [more inside]
posted by pyramid termite on Mar 18, 2011 - 27 comments

And The iPod You Rode In On.

You wish you lived next door to Joe Bussard.
posted by timsteil on Feb 25, 2011 - 26 comments

Iconic 70s and 80s Americana

Richard Amsel was a Philadelphian artist who created original and iconic illustrations and paintings found on posters for several popular 1970s and 80s American movies, including Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome, The Dark Crystal, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Sting. He also created unique artwork for TV Guide covers, as well as album cover art for Bette Midler and others. His Time cover featuring Lily Tomlin was added to the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jan 6, 2011 - 10 comments

DeFord Bailey, American musician

Within that small and very specific sub-genre of musical Americana identifiable as the train imitation, there is one amazing performance, from 1926, that set the standard: Pan-American Blues. The man who recorded it did a fine and fanciful job of evoking the sounds of a fox chase as well, and his rhythmically compelling solo rendition of John Henry stands as testament to the potential for musical greatness achievable by one man and a humble harmonica. He was an African-American who was a founding member of the Grand Ole Opry, a musical institution that we rarely (as in, never) today associate with black people, and his touching and tragic story, documented here, is one that will be of interest to those concerned with the racial, economic and socio-cultural history of American popular music. He stands at one of its more unexpected intersections: his name is DeFord Bailey. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 30, 2010 - 15 comments

an old song, and some new thoughts on it

When you see a song from 1924 called "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy", you just wanna hear it, right? Then, maybe, read some contemporary observations on it. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 21, 2010 - 35 comments

"The moment they click that shutter, the magic is there. And that's what I look for."

"When I look for images, I look for something that makes you almost uncomfortable in your own skin—something that makes you observe more intently," Foster says. "That's when I know I have something that's more than just a snapshot." John Foster is a graphic design and communications professional by day, and joined by his wife as collectors of "vernacular photographs" by night. Their collected photographs have been featured at art galleries and museums, and John has worked with others to curate outsider art shows. If that wasn't enough, his collections extend beyond found photos, as previsusly featured on the blue (and as inspiration for another post).
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 29, 2010 - 10 comments

If you want Yours, take a short piece of Lead Pipe and go out and Collect.

Although Fables in Slang were written in 1899, they describe people who are clearly recognizable today. Partly because of his style, though, George Ade (1866-1944) is forgotten as H.L. Mencken predicted he would be. From 1890 to around the close of WWI, Ade was widely known within the US as a humorist and playwright. [more inside]
posted by jet_silver on Aug 21, 2010 - 6 comments

Holy Toledo ...Torches!

U.S. Patent 1732708 "...relates to street torches, such as are commonly used for illuminating road obstructions." Starting in 1929, The Toledo Pressed Steel Co. manufactured millions of small, round kerosene-burning torches (sometimes called smudge pots) that look like cartoon bombs. [more inside]
posted by usonian on Jul 7, 2010 - 14 comments

Wild Turkey Music

In the late 90s EMI's Songbook Series released an album, "Where Were You When The Fun Stopped" with tracks chosen by author Hunter S. Thompson along with detailed liner notes. Since you can't get the cool notes or photos, why not enjoy Hunter's country and folk flavored taste at your July 4th revelry of choice? Ballad of Thunder Road - Robert Mitchum : I Smell A Rat - Howlin' Wolf Big Momma Thornton : Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum : The Hula-Hula Boys - Warren Zevon : Maggie May - Rod Stewart : The Wild Side of Life / It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels - Hank Thompson feat. Kitty Wells & Tanya Tucker : Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band : Mr Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan : Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed : If I Had A Boat - Lyle Lovett : Stars On The Water - Rodney Crowell : Carmelita - Flaco Jiminez feat. Dwight Yoakam : Why Don't We Get Drunk - Jimmy Buffett : American Pie - Don McClean : White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane : The Weight - The Band : Melissa - The Allman Brothers Band : Battle Hymn of the Republic - Herbie Mann (cover) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2010 - 32 comments

Bad Postcards

Bad Postcards: featuring Quacky, Bunnies, Dino, Piggy and Lee Harvey.
posted by puny human on May 28, 2010 - 28 comments

Old-time songster, Henry Thomas

Born in Big Sandy, Texas in 1874, Henry Thomas was one of the oldest black musician who ever recorded for the phonograph companies of the 1920′s and his music represents a rare opportunity to hear what American black folk music must have sounded like in the last decade of the 19th century. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 11, 2010 - 21 comments

Never Quarantine the Past

Found Super 8 film clips reconstruct America from the late 1960s through the 70s. [more inside]
posted by jjray on Mar 27, 2010 - 12 comments

Ishman Bracey, Delta bluesman, 1901-1970

The Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, New Jersey is proud to present the following Orthophonic Recordings by bluesman Mr. Ishman Bracey: Leavin' Town Blues - Trouble Hearted Blues - Brown Mamma Blues and Saturday Blues. And remember, for best results, use Victor Needles. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 6, 2010 - 1 comment

My Vermonts, Let Me Show You Them

Let Me Show You Vermont. Sketches and other imagery of small-town Vermont from Susan Abbott.
posted by Nothing... and like it on Feb 22, 2010 - 23 comments

Gimme that old-time music

Folk America: Excellent BBC 3-part documentary tracing folk music from the '20s to the folk revival of the '60s, encompassing the depression and the civil rights era. part 1: Birth of a Nation (59.21) part 2: This Land is Your Land (59:30) part 3: Blowin' in the Wind (58:49) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 21, 2010 - 13 comments

Luna Commons

Luna Commons is a database of sixteen free digital image collections built using Luna Imaging's Insight software. And there's a lot of cool stuff, well over a hundred thousand images all available for download in good resolution. Here are some of the collections featured: Pratt Institute Fashion Plate Collection, The Farber Gravestones Collection, Maps of Africa, Cornell Political Americana Collection and the The Estate Collection of art by HIV+ artists. The advanced search allows you to search across all collection, for example seeing everything across all collections about animals or New York or your birthyear. Whatever you look for, it's gonna bring up a boatload of interesting images.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 20, 2010 - 4 comments

''Mumbo-Jumbo will hoo-doo you'': Vachel Lindsay reads The Congo

Vachel Lindsay reads The Congo.
Jim Dickinson reads The Congo.
Laura Fox reads The Congo.
Vachel Lindsay as Performer
Lindsay and Racism
See also Race Criticism of "The Congo"
A podcast: Noncanonical Congo: A Discussion of Vachel Lindsay's "The Congo." [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 10, 2010 - 28 comments

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


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

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