The Smothers Brothers are a folk-singing comedy duo
whose television show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour featured music
, and political satire
. CBS abruptly canceled
the show in 1969 due to continued arguments about censorship. [more inside]
might lead you to learn to play guitar
, to write poems, to sing, or just to watch
more intently. Kelly joe Phelps
, from washington state, is one of the most beautiful musicians I've ever seen. He's got a great way to play traditionals
and his originals
Aside from the usual crap, YouTube has a great selection of
one the most
song of all time: All Along the Watchtower
. Classics like Hendrix (live
), Neil Young (at DailyMotion
with better sound) and U2
--and some great contemporary versions like Keziah
Jones' blazingly-fast version
Bradley Fish's 12-instrument (including Chinese Zither) version
, Michael Hedges’
even a quite good version of DMB's much-maligned cover
. What doesn't really rank: Dylan's original.
Here is Uncle John Scruggs singing and playing Little Log Cabin Round the Lane
in RealAudio Dial Up
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.
While some people like their Kottkes all modern & full of links, I'll take mine old skool. Ladies & gentlemen
, the greatest 12 string
that ever lived
Northerners aren't overly represented on t'internet. Our kid reckoned the late Bernard Manning
would make a comeback using MySpace, but that didn't 'appen. But hold onto t'whippet because The Lancashire Hotpots
are filling the entertainment vacuum (I recommend Chippy Tea
from the playlist). 30% Peter Kay
, 30% George Formby
, 39% Mike Harding
(circa his Rochdale Cowboy
phase), and 1% the UOGB
, they're postmodern northerners
for the 21st century (comparisons to Chas
are inevitable and will be ignored).
, and traditions
of Alaska and Northeast Siberia.
While the first pioneering forays into atonality and free chromaticism
were starting to occur in Western European music, the talents of Latin and South America
were discovering the Romantic beauty of re-interpreting the past. [much, much more inside!]
“We consider the 'primitive' music of blues singers such as Leadbelly to be more authentic than that of the Monkees. But all pop musicians are fakes
. . . Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor . . . have turned out their personal record collections to produce a persuasive defence of inauthenticity as the defining characteristic of great popular music[.]” (via
Joe Heaney told lots of stories, and sang pretty well too.
His style of music, Sean-Nós
out of Connemara
is rare indeed nowadays, but there are songs like Úna Bhán
that stand on their own poetic merit, and others like Cunnla
that are altogether less stodgy than one might think. If it's too Irish for you, how about meeting the language halfway?
"If you had Bruce playing with you," Dylan wrote, in his 2004 autobiography, Chronicles, "that's all you would need to do just about anything."Bruce Langhorne
has quite the discography
. And a hot sauce
, to boot. And he's led quite the life. Here is Richie Unterberger's interview with Langhorne in Parts One
. And here
he talks with Unterberger about working with Mimi and Richard Fariña
. On a personal note, I will add that his hot sauce is hot indeed. Will buy it again.
Youtube links to Neil Young busking
in Glasgow and some more
Vintage Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
to Surf Rock
is a melody that has spanned genres
, from Greek
, Turkish and Jewish folk songs to the classic Dick Dale version on the Pulp Fiction
soundtrack to the Black-Eyed Peas
, to the obligatory Greek folk version/Pump It mash-up
Before you do anything else, just listen to this
. That's eefing
, a 100-plus-year-old vocal technique from rural Tennessee that's, well, the original hillbilly beatboxing. The undisputed master of the art was Jimmie Riddle
. His unique skill landed him recording
* and TV (youtube)
work. Want more weird sounds from the deep south? Try Hollerin & Whoopin
and Ringing the Pig
. *[warning: on the "Little Eefin Annie" page, avoid the "click here to hear Rolf Harris Eeefin'!" link: it's a pesky popup.
Here is a video of one falsetto
Skip James - Devil Got My Woman
More music by and information about Skip James
, a Romanian gypsy named Doma Dumitru Siminica
, leo ki'eki'e
Richard & Solomon Ho'opi'i
and other Legends of Falsetto
Harry Everett Smith was a
, "20th-century Renaissance man
, working as an abstract film-maker, painter, musicologist, anthropologist, theoretician, self-mythologizer and connoisseur of arcana". His Anthology of American Folk Music
was hugely influential
on American music
, while his alchemical, synæsthetic films
were to have a similar impact on experimental film and animation
. Enjoy his mesmerising and astonishing "Early Abstractions" on Youtube
[part 1 or 4], hear Harry lecture
, or listen to some tracks
from The Anthology.
Folkstreams.net has two goals. One is to build a national preserve of hard-to-find documentary films about American folk or roots cultures. The other is to give them renewed life by streaming them on the internet. The films were produced by independent filmmakers in a golden age that began in the 1960s and was made possible by the development first of portable cameras and then capacity for synch sound. Their films focus on the culture, struggles, and arts of unnoticed Americans from many different regions and communities. The filmmakers were driven more by sheer engagement with the people and their traditions than by commercial hopes. Their films have unusual subjects, odd lengths, and talkers who do not speak "broadcast English." Although they won prizes at film festivals, were used in college classes, and occasionally were shown on PBS, they found few outlets in venues like theaters, video shops or commercial television. But they have permanent value...folkstreams.net
Currently streaming are the films The Land Where the Blues Began
, Cajun Country
, Jazz Parades: Feet Don't Fail Me Now
, Talking Feet: Solo Southern Dance: Buck, Flatfoot and Tap
, Ray Lum: Mule Trader
and Pizza Pizza Daddy-O
, among many others
Here is the Mississippi John Hurt Blues Foundation
, the website, which is the creation of one Frank Delaney of Spokane. There's a great deal of guitar related material and a page of mp3's by fans, which includes several interesting originals by one Fred Bolden, a grand nephew. I always knew he had a son who played guitar and wondered why no one had ever tried to record him. Now there is a grand nephew playing, if nowhere near as sublimely as his great uncle, in roughly the same style.Here
is an interview of John Hurt from 1963, courtesy of Stefan Grossman's guitar video empire. It is a real delight.
Consider this a follow up to this post
. Not all of the links there are good. The Mississippi John Hurt Guitar Tab Book
, for instance, is now available only in PDF
format but well worth the download. And here is an illustrated discography of John Hurt
by another Stefan, Stefan Wirz, a subject of yet another post
back in the day.
The world of folk music is often a rather dour place, as folkies try hard to fully express the miseries of a life pre-myspace. In the 1980s, however, the Kipper Family
, of St-Just-near-Trunch, Norfolk, bucked this trend. With such classics as "Arrest These Merry Gentlemen", "Wild Mounting Time" and "We're Norfolk and Good", Sid and Henry Kipper
managed to cheer up many a maudlin English folk club. Although Henry was retired
, Sid Kipper
still performs solo and has recently started doing podcasts
for Channel4 (reg req to download).
For murder ballads, here's your Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins
and your Grayson & Whitter's Ommie Wise
. Then, for some early white blues bottleneck guitar, here's your Frank Hutchison's K. C. Blues
. Not to mention Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues
. All courtesy the Internet Archives 78 RPM
tag. where there is way more--like Bix Beiderbecke's first record, Davenport Blues
, Louis Armstrong's Ain't Misbehavin'
and Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words
, among many others. Then, for more,
has an mp3 page
. The standout there, at least for me, is Gus Cannon's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home
. As for their namesake, the Nugrape Twins, well, the Archive has the mp3 of I've Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape
. And don't let me omit mentioning PublicDomain4U
. They have Mississippi John Hurt's Frankie
, for one. Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links
will lead you to more 78 RPM goodness. And don't forget the inestimable and erudite vacapinta first directed
us to Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine
is the national instrument of Finland,
strongly associated with traditional Finnish folk music
. A psaltery
-like string instrument of somewhat obscure origin
, it prominently figures
in the Kalevala
. Despite this association with the past, the kantele is very much a living instrument- it was used in the soundtrack to "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" for its "pure, chilly sound"
, and electric kanteles have been made
. [more inside, with sound samples]
is a collection of 400-odd videos of traditional music from nothern Europe, including a live (leek-free) performance
from Loituma (below
) in 2001. Other standouts include Hedningarna
, and Garmarna
The songs of the Pete Seeger Sessions
presents an ultra-detailed listing of prior recordings of the songs included in Bruce Springsteen's excellent "We shall overcome" album, a majestic tribute to the American musical tradition, with some songs written over two centuries ago. The site lists more than 1,560 eariler recordings, by nearly as many artists, with some full-length audio clips included.
A creative presentation of Florida folk artists and their work. The interface can be a little baroque, but there's some nifty stuff inside.
(note: sound on intro) is a Belgian band founded by Jim Kline
and Mariusz Radwanski combining medieval, baroque, folk, celtic and sea chanty in a beautiful sound. While strolling down the Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence this afternoon, I chanced upon these two musicians playing dulcet tones in a duet. As I drew closer, I saw the instruments were nothing I'd encountered before: a nyckelharpa
and an arch guitar
. The sound was quite appealing
Going Down the Crooked Road.
Explore the sights and sounds of Virginia's Heritage Music Trail.
North East English folk archives. Interviews, performances
. You can browse the archives a few different ways to get the feel of the place.
Vera Hall was a black woman born near Livingston, Alabama at the turn of the century. She grew up in a supportive family and community, but in difficult, poor rural living conditions. At a young age, Hall became a respected and devout member of the church, and remained so for the rest of her years. But after leaving home, she also fell in with more worldly crowd, for whom blues, craps, and alcohol were the entertainments of choice. The tension between these two spheres-- that of spirituals and the church, on one hand, and that of blues and the juke-joint, on the other-- is a theme that recurred throughout her life and infused her music. She drew upon both perspectives to cope with and overcome her life's perennial difficulties; sadly, it was dotted with tragedy: she lost both parents, a sister, a husband, a daughter, and two grandchildren-- all before she herself passed away in 1964 at the age of 58.
The Vera Hall Project
is the new remix of Sufjan Stevens
' album Illinois by mc DJ
; a torrent is available, as is cover art
. It's not quite like Hippocamp Ruins Pet Sounds
(previously on Mefi
) -- it's not nearly as noisy, and not quite as good, although it's still worth checking out, particularly "Chi-Town" (from "Chicago
"), "Zombies" (from "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!
") and "Jacksontown" (from "Jacksonville
Scottish born singer Shelagh McDonald
was part of the late 1960s British folk scene and recorded two excellent albums
in the early 70s with production not unlike that of Nick Drake. With favorable comparisons to Sandy Denny
, Joni Mitchell and Judee Sill, larger success seemed right around the corner for this talented young woman. Then she vanished.
It's still unknown whether she went back to Scotland or elsewhere entirely, but now her musical catalogue is back in print
, prompting renewed interest. Perhaps she'll come forward at last to receive the royalties she's owed or, if we're lucky, step onto the stage once again.
They Are Confabulators!! They Write About Music!! They Have Come From The Decemberists Board!! Ahhhh! It began on a message board
(reg. required). All the latest news about The Decemberists
, Sufjan Stevens
, and now, more! Their latest entry: A review
of Pitchfork's review
of Sufjan's Illinois
. That'll teach 'em.
folk, popular and art songs from Hungary (in Real Audio and MP3).
I wonder if Odetta will sing backup on "Debaser".
The Pixies will do their first acoustic set ever this summer, and what more appropriate place than where Dylan plugged in and changed the rules? That's right, Newport, baby!
fought in the Civil War and had two children in his eighties. He was a die-hard Populist,
the first resident of Lucas, KA
to go electric and when he died he was mummified. Somewhere in there he had time to build The Garden of Eden,
discussed in "What's the Matter With Kansas"
and contrasted with this wingnut.
And they're both called Populists.
We kept changing the name. First it was the Total Quintessence Stomach Pumpers. Then the Temporal Worth High Steppers. Then The Motherfucker Creek Babyrapers. That was just a joke name. He was Rinky-Dink Steve the Tin Horn and I was Fast Lightning Cumquat. He was Teddy Boy Forever and I was Wild Blue Yonder. It kept changing names. Then it was the Total Modal Rounders. Then when we were stoned on pot and someone else, Steve Close maybe, said Holy Modal Rounders by mistake. We kept putting out different names and wait until someone starts calling us that then. When we got to Holy Modal Rounders, everyone decided by accumulation that we were the Holy Modal Rounders. That's the practical way to get named.The Story Of The Holy Modal Rounders
. In 1965, they used the psychedelic in a lyric and channeled Charlie Poole. From 1999, Green Man reviews their Too Much Fun!
--& Ink 19
's take as well. From No Depression comes Bohemian Rhapsody
and from Richie Unterberger here's an interview with Peter Stampfel
and the liner notes he wrote for the CD re-issue of cult classic The Moray Eels Eat The Holy Modal Rounders
. In a related bonus, here you can find Charlie Poole
singing Moving Day
, a great song which I first heard by the Rounders.
The Alan Lomax Database
is a free multimedia catalog of the audio and video recordings
made by Alan Lomax from 1946 to 1994.
All roads lead to Apache.
(.mp3) to Nas
(.mp3) to electronica
(.mp3), the audio genealogy of one influential tune. (via Soul-Sides
On "Love and Theft"
& On On "Love and Theft" and the Minstrel Boy
& The Annotated Love And Theft
... In melody, Bye and Bye
comes by way of Billie Holiday's Having Myself A Time
by way of Bing Crosby's (& Eddie Duchin's & Kate Smith's & Isham Jones's...) Snuggled On Your Shoulder
--and lyrically, by way, in part
, of Junichi Saga's Confessions Of A Yakuza
, which was not a crime novel, as StupidSexyFlanders
once surmised, but an outright As told to
memoir, which makes it four or five degrees from Yakuza to Dr. Saga to translator to Dylan to Plagiarism in Dylan, or a Cultural Collage? Oh, who's going to throw that minstrel boy a coin ?
Jump Jim Crow
, through the hoops of one Robert Christgau's erudition as he surveys the literature extant in In Search of Jim Crow: Why Postmodern Minstrelsy Studies Matter
, through multiple readings of Raising Cain: Blackface Performance from Jim Crow to Hip Hop
, Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World
and and Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class
. Consider, too, The Minstrel Cycle
from Reading The Commitments
and other various and sundry attempts to peek inside the minstrel mask
—all multiple readings reading blackface minstrels from the pejorative
to the explorative
, subversive to oppressive, past to future, unfolding tesseractly, if not exactly, with singing, dancing
and extraordinary elocutions. Buy your tickets and step within for The Meller Drammer
of Minstrelsy in The Minstrel Show 2.0
The Mystery of Danny Boy
- Most everyone has heard the song "Danny Boy", and while the lyrics
have a traceable history, where did the tune originate? It is known as "Londonderry Air"
in some folks circles, and a lovely band arrangement was done with the title "Irish Tune from County Derry"
. Regardless of the facts, it is still a poignant tune covered by many
Be careful what you wish for, the cliché goes. Having aspired from early youth to become stars, people who achieve that status suddenly find themselves imprisoned, unable to walk down the street without being importuned by strangers. The higher their name floats, the greater the levy imposed, the less of ordinary life they can enjoy. In his memoir, Bob Dylan never precisely articulates the ambition that brought him to New York City from northern Minnesota in 1961, maybe because it felt improbable even to him at the time. Nominally, he was angling for Leading Young Folksinger, which was a plausible goal then, when every college town had three or four coffeehouses and each one had its Hootenanny night, and when performers who wowed the crowds on that circuit went on to make records that sometimes sold in the thousands. But from the beginning Dylan had his sights set much higher: the world, glory, eternity—ambitions laughably incommensurate with the modest confines of American folk music. He got his wish, in spades... 'I Is Someone Else'