The Vera Hall Project and Songs by Vera Hall
September 17, 2005 9:31 PM   Subscribe

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 [+}
posted by y2karl (5 comments total)
She was known for her moans. She was quite the singer. People of a certain age know her for her rendition of Wild Ox Moan on various collections--or they at least know of Taj Mahal's version of the same song. People of another age know her through Moby's Natural Blues, a remix of her accapella Trouble So Hard. Here are 29 songs by her from The Library of Congress's Southern Mosaic: The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip.

All this---and more--came up from my Dark Was The Night related research... It has been a lot of fun.
posted by y2karl at 9:35 PM on September 17, 2005

born near Livingston, Alabama at the turn of the century.

That makes her what, 5... 6 years old?

I kid, I kid. But writers need to realize that the 2000's brought a new century around ;)
posted by starscream at 10:30 PM on September 17, 2005

I know the Moby song, but have never heard of Vera Hall. I'm embarassed by that. Thanks for the info, y2karl.
posted by jrossi4r at 3:50 PM on September 18, 2005

This is really wonderful stuff.
posted by wells at 7:27 PM on September 18, 2005

The world needs more people like this, people like this who pay attention to the voice in the background that grabs us and doesn't let go. Amazing, amazing work...all by a guy who is still in college! Thank you y2karl.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:47 PM on September 18, 2005

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