Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old
March 25, 2008 2:02 PM   Subscribe

Dreams and Songs of the Noble Old, a film by Alan Lomax, takes a loving look at the talents and wisdom of elderly musicians, singers, and story-tellers from southern American folk traditions. All the musicians featured in the film have soul and musical energy to spare: great, great performances and engaging reminiscences make this film a real treat. Please see the [more inside] for a collection of links to several of the outstanding performers featured in the film.

Fiddler Tommy Jarrell's Wikipedia page, and his page at Old Time Music. That site by the way: it's a good 'un.

Wikipedia page for bluesman Jack Owens, who shares some common ground (particularly in repertoire, it would seem) with the great Skip James. Here's little more on Owens.

The spry, occasionally bawdy and spectacularly bearded Sam Chatmon can be seen and heard performing That's Alright and Brownskin Woman.
And here's Chatmon's Wikipedia page. Chatmon was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks and a brother (reputedly) of Charlie Patton.

The wonderful Janie Hunter is profiled here at the National Endowment for the Arts. And you might want to check this out, and this.

Wikipedia page for Nimrod Workman, and his page at National Endowment for the Arts. Here's his brief NY Times obituary from 1994, when he died at the ripe old age of 99. Here's a link to a one-hour radio show focussing on Nimrod: feast your ears, courtesy of Down Home Radio.
posted by flapjax at midnite (14 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I do love me some Lomax. Thanks.
posted by Faux Real at 2:15 PM on March 25, 2008

I look forward to spending time with this when I have some time to spend. Thanks!
posted by roombythelake at 2:30 PM on March 25, 2008

Wow, Jack Owens sure sounds good on the ears. To me, that's a voice of gold!
posted by humannaire at 2:33 PM on March 25, 2008

I am so thankful for Folkstreams. Thanks for the good post!
posted by Miko at 3:26 PM on March 25, 2008

What a great resource. Thanks, fj@m!
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:25 PM on March 25, 2008

Cool post flap! I saw a documentary a few years ago about Lomax, and there was a section which showed some early footage of old negro work songs (their words not mine). One that stuck with me was a chain gang chopping down a tree or something while they chanted - something, something, something... Gri-za-lee bear. I know I am not describing this very well but does anyone have a clue what song this was? The "grizzly bear" refrain is all I can remember.
posted by vronsky at 5:10 PM on March 25, 2008

posted by LobsterMitten at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2008

I found it!
posted by vronsky at 5:37 PM on March 25, 2008

flapjax...you're batting well these days, what with this and the accordian post. well done.
posted by salishsea at 7:00 PM on March 25, 2008

wronsky: This one? I included it in a post about prison songs a while back. That's the Seegers collecting, not Lomax - if there's another one with video of chain gang songs, would you link it?

You might also like Land Where the Blues Began. Highly recommended.
posted by Miko at 7:06 PM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


Some of these old dudes in their 80s and 90s still got the pipes for that high lonesome sound! -- it gives me hope I'll have some left when I'm up there.

And I can't get enough of the sacred harp.

Thanks, flaps.
posted by Herodios at 7:55 PM on March 25, 2008

Excellent post, thank you! And thanks for the introduction to folkstreams. What a trove!
posted by owhydididoit at 8:45 PM on March 25, 2008

Wow, so glad I didn't miss this post. I will have to save it for another time, but it sure looks excellent - thank you, flapjax!
posted by madamjujujive at 11:07 PM on March 25, 2008

That's it miko, thanks.

(this is good flap :)
posted by vronsky at 2:57 PM on March 26, 2008

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