Labors of Love: American Vernacular Music & Lucky Mojo, Too
February 12, 2003 1:56 AM   Subscribe

                                   Labors Of Love
Here are some handmade pages, personal and corporate, on American Vernacular Music and more:

First, here's Long Time Coming, with three separate shrines to Dock Boggs, Pretty Boy Floyd and Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, worthy subjects all. I have no idea what the Eyeneer Records revenue model is or was but their American Music Archive, (Latest Update - August 20, 1999), albeit spotty, is still a must stop and see with pages on Charley Patton, Sleepy John Estes and Lucille Bogan, for example, and that's just the blues section. It's a very promising sounding site--and it's too bad they never finished it, but, on the other hand, thank god,they have not yet pulled the plug. Lea Gilmore's It's A Girl Thang's Historical Profiles has it goin' on with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Maybelle and Georgia White for examples. Catherine Yronwode, of course, is a name well known here, as is her wondrous Lucky Mojo, cornucopica that it is. There, among much riches, is the extensive and authoritative Blues Lyrics and Hoodoo --but that's Not All ! »→ »→ »→
posted by y2karl (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Catherine Yronwode deserves your attention, for her contributions are manifold. You can be sure I've pored over The Sacred Sex Home Page--well, duh! The Lucky W Amulet Archive is another treasure and note, too, that among the many delights you can purchase from her The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue are things like Dixie Love Oil -A Southern-style love oil for men or women, Follow Me Boy Sachet Powder (also known as I Dominate My Man) - Used by women to attract, dominate, and hold a man and actual real High John the Conqueror root. You can't beat that.

And Catherine Yronwode's story is compelling--as self portrait, narrative and memoir. Well, she has my vote. What a cool and interesting person and what a cool and interesting theme park of a site. This is the labor of Love here, by far first among equals.

A tangential reference to make here, as least to the theme of American Vernacular Music, is to note that BluesLand, host to Lea Gilmore, also has Blues Audio Archive is a collection of excellent NPR stories on topic and This Week In Blues History, too, is a kick:


On this day in 1924, George Gershwin sat down at the piano in front of bandleader Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, and performed his
Rhapsody In Blue for the first time in public.

On this day in 1956, Screamin' Jay Hawkins recorded
I Put a Spell on You for Okeh records in New York City.

This sort of juxtapostion makes one doubt the validity of astrology.

Well, you can't complain the portions are too small...
posted by y2karl at 1:57 AM on February 12, 2003 [1 favorite]

Biggest. Post. Ever.

Nice work, y2karl.
posted by lazaruslong at 2:00 AM on February 12, 2003

Notice the Freudian slip made by lazaruslong's finger. He was secretly thinking, of course, "B---est. Post. Ever." This is going to be days and days worth of exploration and listening--many effusive thanks.
posted by hippugeek at 2:09 AM on February 12, 2003

Gasp! The lyrics to "Viola Lee Blues!" I've been trying to decipher the first verse for a month. The closest I could get for the last line was "If you're a Mississippi sinner, you must be Lightfoot Brown," thinking that Lightfoot Brown must be a famous criminal from Mississippi.

"Walk Right In," another of Gus Cannon's Jugstompers' songs, provided the title for the first CD of the set “When the Sun Goes Down: The Secret History of Rock & Roll," which I highly recommend. (on Amazon)
posted by hippugeek at 2:26 AM on February 12, 2003

Gorgeous. This will take days, and time well spent. Well done, y2karl.
posted by hama7 at 2:27 AM on February 12, 2003

It reminds me of the huge races post, with its wealth of information. (gone, but not forgotten)
posted by hama7 at 2:30 AM on February 12, 2003

posted by i_cola at 3:11 AM on February 12, 2003

[this is good]

y2karl, you really should start a weblog...
posted by plep at 3:31 AM on February 12, 2003

Redhotjazz was a labor of love that absolutely blew me away when I first found it in 1998. Since lots of early jazz in in the public domain (in some places) and is mono, he's been able to put up a huge library of early jazz in real media format and it's pretty much the original fidelity. The result is an encyclopedia of early jazz that surpasses all the dead tree versions, since you can hear the music as you're reading about it. The site still has that nifty dawn-of-the-hyperlink structure, too. There's just a few links to get you started in a the labyrinth. For me, the great discovery was Perry Bradford an early songwriter who's songs prefigure rock and roll.

And let's not forget Lonnie Johnson, who managed to be there at the creation of jazz, swing, and R&B and still found himself working as a janitor when he was rediscovered by the folk revival, and then the blues-rock world. He participated in just about every part of the American music which conquered the world.
posted by bendybendy at 3:49 AM on February 12, 2003

hello, client? um, about that deadline for your work today...well, might be late because, um, dog...errr, no wait! I mean my grandmother...that's it, my grandmother - she just died...

Holy mugwort and comfrey root, y2karl! This post is excellent, and I will be rearranging my life for the next few days to explore all these riches. Many thanks for the painstaking efforts you take to amuse us, educate us and uplift our spirits.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:58 AM on February 12, 2003

I got interested in Sister Rosetta Tharpe after seeing her rip a badass guitar solo in Amelie...I've tracked down a few mp3's but have yet to find a CD locally... Amazon, here I come!
posted by black8 at 4:12 AM on February 12, 2003

Yummy music and musicians. Good stuff. Many thanks.
posted by nofundy at 4:52 AM on February 12, 2003

In addition to the content, I love the formatting of this post. You put more effort into one title tag than most put into an entire post. And links to both Lucille Bogan and Lea Gilmore! I'm loving this.

If you like these posts and would like y2karl in your inbox every day (he actually fits in there - I don't know how he does it), check his userpage for access to his amazing spamlist. If you miss drylongso, this will make you very happy. It's y2karl's version of a weblog, complete with comments and mini-bios and everything. It's quite delectable. And free. [/shilling]
posted by iconomy at 5:56 AM on February 12, 2003

I love the posts and I am NOT trying to sound snarky, but I'm a little confused about how Tantric sex fits in with a music post, besides the obvious Sting connection?
posted by Pollomacho at 7:15 AM on February 12, 2003

          Great links!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:45 AM on February 12, 2003

Black8, go to Tower or Speakeasy on Mercer--they have Sister Rosetta Tharpe - The Original Soul Sister or will be getting another copy soon. Discography, and tracklist. It's a 4 CD box set with notes for @ $20.

bendybendy, ahem...

Pollomacho, apart from the fact that Sacred Sex fits quite nicely within Lucky Mojo, pun intended, you do know the Swallows sang It Ain't The Meat, It's The Motion...

It ain't the meat it's the motion
That makes your daddy wanna rock
It ain't the meat it's the motion
It's the movement that gives it the sock

Well, I got a girl that's so darn thin
there ain't much of her but bones and skin
one thing about her I can understand
she wraps all around me like a rubber band, baby

It ain't the meat it's the motion
That makes your daddy wanna rock
It ain't the meat it's the motion
It's the movement that gives it the sock

Well, I want a girl who's big and fat
You know I like to see 'em like that
I like to see 'em big and tall
The bigger the come the harder they fall

It ain't the meat it's the motion
That makes your daddy wanna rock
It ain't the meat it's the motion
It's the movement that gives it the sock...

It Ain't The Meat (It's The Motion)
(L. Mann/H. Glover)

That's tantric enough for a start.
posted by y2karl at 9:28 AM on February 12, 2003

Also, there is a clip of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's Rock Daniel here.
posted by y2karl at 9:46 AM on February 12, 2003


One of those seminal black influences on the young Elvis was Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Each day Elvis would rush home from school in Tupelo to listen to her and other singers on WELO's daily half hour of black gospel. According to his school friend, Billy Welch, Elvis would never miss a show.
posted by y2karl at 9:52 AM on February 12, 2003

One other thing--a friend, Tom Berghan, an excellent and multitalented musician, did the circuit in the South in the 70s, as did my friend, Jack Cook, and met all who were still alive.

Tom had a visit with Gus Cannon, had a wonderful time, and on his way out, opened a closet door by mistake, and saw on a shelf above, an old antique paraffin can. He looked at Gus, eyebrows raised and Gus nodded--it was this very can.

He's also been to a spot in Saudi Arabia where the sands are red for as far as you can see--and the sky above pink. Is that cool or what? He has some stories...

He channels a French lutenist and courtier for On The Boards some years, as seen here.
posted by y2karl at 12:02 PM on February 12, 2003

Curse you karl - you're insidiously educating us, aren't you? Well, it's damn well working! ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:50 PM on February 12, 2003

dunno if this applies, but came across this recently (via SE :) and
not really a labour of love, but i thought it was pretty cool!
posted by kliuless at 6:19 PM on February 12, 2003

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