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Envisioning the American Dream

Envisioning the American Dream is "a visual remix of the American Dream as pictured in Mid-Century media" that discusses topics such as Man and Machines, Vintage Advice for Cheaters, and Suburbia for Sale, amongst many others.
posted by gemutlichkeit on Jun 9, 2014 - 5 comments

If I get killed, please don't bury my soul.

The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie. No grave site, no photograph. Forget that — no anecdotes. This is what set Geeshie and Elvie apart even from the rest of an innermost group of phantom geniuses of the ’20s and ’30s. Their myth was they didn’t have anything you could so much as hang a myth on.
posted by oinopaponton on Apr 12, 2014 - 42 comments

Love the True Detective theme? A brief intro to The Handsome Family

The Handsome Family are an alt-country and americana band based in Albuquerque via Chicago, Texas and Long Island. They have currently finding a new audience thanks to having their song Far From Any Road used as the theme from True Detective on HBO. [more inside]
posted by gnuhavenpier on Feb 27, 2014 - 20 comments

American Deep Blues Touring 1960's Britain

The American Folk Blues Festival 1962 - 1966; Vol 2; Vol 3 - The festival was an annual event with dozens of classic blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf playing to appreciative UK audiences. "Attendees at Manchester in 1962, the first ever venue for the festival in Britain, included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jimmy Page. Subsequent attendees at the first London festivals are believed to have also included such influential musicians as Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood. Collectively these were the primary movers in the blues explosion that would lead to the British Invasion." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 23, 2014 - 19 comments

36 years in the making

Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos: Live "From this rich catalog, Cooder cherry-picked only a dozen songs to include on Live but they’re fairly representative of his eclectic oeuvre. His picks also feature plenty of his guitar playing, which will please fans who felt (as I sometimes did) that his recent albums were a bit stingy with his greatest asset. " "The shows also were a family affair. The Corridos Famosos include Ry’s son Joachim on drums, Joachim’s wife Juliet Commagere on vocals, and her brother Robert Francis on bass, as well as an old friend and collaborator, Flaco Jimenez, the Tejano accordionist who was at Cooder’s side when he played this venue 34 years earlier. Terry Evans, another veteran of the 1977 shows, handles backup vocals, along with Arnold McCuller, filling in for Cooder’s other longtime singing partner Bobby King." Don't miss the clip at the end of the review. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 19, 2013 - 17 comments

Born To Run Into The Ground

Laments for Blockbuster in the style of Bruce Springsteen. Another dying American industry mourned.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard on Nov 16, 2013 - 27 comments

Maura O'Connell to Retire as Solo Act

 “I’d say that my great days, they’re all done,” she said. “I figured out after the last record I did that I’m what is known as now, a legacy artist, which means basically, you’re on your own. . . . It’s been a long road, and it’s been a great road — I’ve been very lucky so much over my life. But at this stage I feel like I’m only going backwards.”
[more inside]
posted by julen on Oct 25, 2013 - 7 comments

American Gothic

The Elvis Impersonator, the Karate Instructor, the Fridge full of Severed Heads, and the Plot to Kill the President. In March, Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, was arrested for mailing ricin-laced letters to a local judge, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and the President - only to be released a week later when another man was arrested for the crime. In the latest issue of GQ, Wells Tower sets out to get to the bottom of the tale and finds himself falling down the rabbit hole into a whole other universe of lost American weirdness. (Know that Moo Cow the dog is okay.)
posted by Naberius on Oct 1, 2013 - 53 comments

Being a mermaid "is a lot more fun than bagging groceries."

Tourists have been visiting the roadside attraction since 1947. Don Knotts filmed a movie there, and Supergrass made a video. A few men have tried to join, but mostly it's a women's (underwater) world at Weeki Wachee. Now the New York Times visits The Last Mermaid Show.
posted by scody on Jul 5, 2013 - 32 comments

A Little Old-Timey Song or Two

"One Town at a Time", by Pokey LaFarge [SLVIMEO] [more inside]
posted by Doleful Creature on Jun 19, 2013 - 5 comments

Let's take it back to the source

You might have heard at one time or another a 60s band called Canned Heat, who made a wee bit of a splash way back when with a little number called Going Up the Country. The song featured a simple but very catchy little flute riff between verses. If you ever wondered where that riff came from (not to mention the melodic contour of the tune itself) you need look no further than a 1928 recording by Henry Thomas, who played the flute melody on his quills, or, panpipes. The song was called Bull Doze Blues. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 24, 2013 - 37 comments

"The Lower Depths"

Before the National Enquirer, TMZ, Globe, The Star and other gossip tabloids, there was the National Police Gazette. Founded in 1845, it originally covered "highwaymen and suchlike malefactors, the thought being that the public would get on to the evil-doers and fix their wagons." Thirty years later a new owner transformed 'the oldest weekly in America' into a full-on tabloid covering "murders, Wild West outlaws, and sport... well known for its engravings and photographs of scantily clad strippers, burlesque dancers, and prostitutes, often skirting on the edge of what [was] legally considered obscenity." Some even consider it "America’s first popular men’s magazine." The Gazette shut down in 1977, but has now been resurrected. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 2, 2013 - 9 comments

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long...

“Dust My Broom”: The Story of a Song
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Just you, the artist, and some new friends.

House concerts are becoming more popular across the country. In Cleveland, Mechanic Street House Concerts has been hosting six shows per year since 2009, most recently opening their doors to the Shivering Timbers with Tom Evanchuck.
posted by slogger on Jan 17, 2013 - 43 comments

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987.   Via The Iwebender Channel

Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 9, 2012 - 10 comments

Punch Brothers, Mandolin Brothers and Lloyd Loar

On Monday September 24th, Mandolin Brothers were visited by 3/5ths of The Punch Brothers: Chris Thile, along with Chris Eldridge and Noam Pickelny. Chris played their Lloyd Loar 1924 F-5 mandolin and their 1925 Fern. Among the numbers they played was a lovely rendition of Tennessee Waltz. Previously [more inside]
posted by Bartonius on Dec 3, 2012 - 16 comments

The Answer My Friend

Whirligigs are whimsical, wind-driven expressions of American folk art that first appeared in this country nearly 200 years ago. Traditional designs depict common characters and activities of early American rural life, from farmers milking cows to lumbermen chopping wood. Here are some highlights of the ninth annual Whirligig & Weathervane Festival in Shelburne Nova Scotia, September 2008. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Oct 24, 2012 - 9 comments

Mittenless man discovers hidden talent

Farmer plays a song with ‘hand-farts’ (1933). (SLvideo / SFW)
posted by mudpuppie on Oct 12, 2012 - 28 comments

Ephemeral New York

Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 11, 2012 - 5 comments

There is a house in New Orleans

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor boy
And God I know I'm one.

[more inside]
posted by growabrain on Aug 19, 2012 - 51 comments

the soul of American music, laid out, explained, delineated and personalized, brilliantly

Goddammit it, I wish I'd written this deliciously nail-on-the-head, brilliantly insightful and sweeping overview of American musico-cultural history, seasoned with heavy dollops of personal remembrances and observations that I identify with so much that it's almost scary. But alas, I didn't. Still, I'm really, really grateful that William Hogeland did: Coons! Freaks! Hillwilliams! : 200 Years of Roots-Rock Revival (a Memoir).
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 28, 2012 - 22 comments

Roots and Branches of Americana

Ray Wylie Hubbard hosts Roots and Branches weekly live from Tavern In The Gruene for New Braunfels, Texas radio station KNBT 92.1 FM. Two hours of music and interviews with established and up and coming Americana artists.
posted by Catch on Jul 18, 2012 - 18 comments

road trip to the American past

motor life blog is Charlie Beesly's fun collection of (mostly) found photos celebrating cars and their owners. Don't miss the winsome training wheels post and the early Kodacolor collection. We've seen some of Charlie's other themed found photos here previously.
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 8, 2012 - 5 comments

Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Old City Hall, Redding California, 1988

Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Old City Hall, Redding California, 1988
This is Ramblin' Jack in his prime. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on May 20, 2012 - 7 comments

RL in '78, TJ in '83

Oh yeah. There he is, Mr. RL Burnside, in the year of nineteen and seventy eight, Independence, Mississippi, porch fulla kids, singin' about when his first wife left him, million-dollar smile on his face. And there he is again, with his guitar and amp, out by the barb wire fence, a poor boy a long way from home. These two little gems just added to the Alan Lomax Archive YouTube channel, where you'll also find some wonderful newly-uploaded clips (filmed in 1983) from fretless banjo plucker Tommy Jarrell, the toast of Toast, North Carolina.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 15, 2012 - 9 comments

Joe Thompson, American musician, RIP

African-American fiddler Joe Thompson, probably the last living link to the black string band tradition of the 19th century, has died at the grand old age of 93. Hear Joe and his cousin, banjoist Odell (who passed on back in 1994) offer some reminiscences on the origins of their music, and a spirited rendition of Cindy Gal. Here's the short but sweet and deliciously ragged Old Corn Liquor. Hear Joe and Odell in concert in 1988, part one and part two, and this little ditty from a living room in 1987. And there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 24, 2012 - 9 comments

Must I hammer it in?

Weirdo vintage Valentine's Day cards.
posted by OverlappingElvis on Feb 14, 2012 - 24 comments

Haunted Air

"The perishing of fabrics and the rotting of early rubber, due to chemical instabilities and damp conditions, create new and sinister, puzzling abnormalities. Time and repeated wear have caused a beautiful metamorphosis, never intended or imagined by the maker." Haunted Air: "A glimpse of how the old, weird America celebrated All-Hallows Eve."
posted by billypilgrim on Oct 25, 2011 - 24 comments

Dog Gone

The Doggie Diner was the name of a Bay Area chain of burger joints that had its heyday in the '60s and '70s. The last remaining restaurant in the Chain was located at the corner of 46th and Sloat in San Francisco, CA. Even after the place became a restaurant with a new name ("Carousel") the giant Fiberglass dachshund head remained as a piece of nostalgia until a storm toppled it on April 1st, 2001. The head was relocated in January 2005 to the median of Sloat Boulevard and became San Francisco city landmark #254. Now the restaurant itself is slated for demolition. [more inside]
posted by MattMangels on Aug 22, 2011 - 32 comments

"A two-piece band called Gillian Welch" releases its first new album since 2003

Singer-songwriter Gillian Welch has released her first new album in eight years, The Harrow and the Harvest. Welch, who writes, plays, and tours with her partner David Rawlings, combines multiple influences that extend well beyond the borders of Appalachian folk, bluegrass, and Americana, to what Alec Wilkinson has called "at once innovative and obliquely reminiscent of past rural forms" in his 2004 New Yorker profile. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jun 30, 2011 - 41 comments

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

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