Sun 27 Mar 2016
|James Lowry||Tampa Blues||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Dave Dickerson||The War is Over||Virginia Traditions: Southwest Virginia Blues|
|James Henry Diggs||Poor Boy Long Way From Home||Virginia Traditions: Southwest Virginia Blues|
|Marvin Foddrell||Reno Factory||Virginia Traditions: Non-Blues Secular Black Music|
|Turner Foddrell||Slow Drag||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|"Cowboy" T. Burks||Going Down That Road Feeling Bad||Virginia Traditions: Southwest Virginia Blues|
|Clayton Horsley||Don't The Moon Look Pretty||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Irvin Cook & Leonard Bowles||Wist to the Lord I'd Never Been Born||Virginia Traditions: Non-Blues Secular Black Music|
|John Cephas & John Woolfork||Richmond Blues||Virginia Traditions: Tidewater Blues|
|John Cephas||Naylor Rag||Unissued|
|Archie Edwards||The Road Is Rough And Rocky||Classic Appalachian Blues From Smithsonian Folkways|
|Archie Edwards||Bear Cat Mama Blues||Living Country Blues USA : Introduction|
|William Thompson||Every Mail Day||Virginia Traditions: Virginia Work Songs|
|Earl Gilmore||I Went Down In Virginia||Virginia Traditions: Southwest Virginia Blues|
|John Jackson||Poor Boy||Blues & Country Dance Tunes From Virginia|
|John Jackson||Goodbye Booze||Don't Let Your Deal Go Down|
|Alec Seward & Louis Hayes||Big Hip Mama||The Back Porch Boys|
|Alec Seward||Sweet Woman Blues||Creepin' Blues|
|John Tinsley & Fred Holland||Keep Your Hands Off 'Er||Down Home Blue Classics 1943-1953|
|John Tinsley||Red River Blues||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Rabbit Muse||Jailhouse Blues||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Rabbit Muse||Haunted House Blues||Muse Blues|
|Carl Martin||Crow Jane Blues||Crow Jane Blues|
|Carl Martin||State Street Pimp #2||Crow Jane Blues|
|The Foddrell Brothers||Boogie In The Morning||Patrick County Rag|
|The Foddrell Brothers||Lonesome Country Boy Blues||The Original Blues Brothers|
|Howard Twine||Take Care Of My Wife And My Baby||Virginia Traditions: Southwest Virginia Blues|
|Herbert & William Richardson||Tell Me Baby||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Richard Wright||Peakesville Boogie||Virginia Traditions: Western Piedmont Blues|
|Pernell Charity||War Blues||Virginia Traditions: Tidewater Blues|
|Pernell Charity||I'm Climbing On Top Of The Hill||The Virginian|
|Read Liner Notes||Read Liner Notes|
Today's show is a sequel to our show on pre-war Virginia blues we aired a couple of weeks back. The only artist who recorded blues in the pre-war era and also in the post-war was Carl Martin who recorded an album under his own name and with various groups. However, there is a strong possibility that James Henry Diggs who recorded in 1962 was the same man who recorded under that name in 1936 for the Library of Congress when he was an inmate at the State Penitentiary in Richmond. In the immediate post-war years little was recorded by Virginia artists outside of Alec Seward, working with partner Louis Hayes, who recorded a number of excellent down home sides in the 40's and later under his own name, and obscure sides by James Lowry and John Tinsley, the latter recording again in the 70's. Among the most prolific and successful Virginia artists were John Jackson who began recording in the 1960's and John Cephas who became well known with his partnership with Phil Wiggins (Cephas and Wiggins). Several other artists achieved modest success and recorded at least an album or two including the talented Foddrell Brothers, Archie Edwards, Pernell Charity, John Tinsley and Rabbit Muse. Kip Lornell did much to promote traditional Virginia music including making recordings in the field as well as producing, writing liner notes and compiling tracks for the groundbreaking Virginia Traditions series of albums.
A good chunk of today's show is drawn from the Virginia Traditions albums. The series consisted of nine albums issued between 1978 and 1988 by BRI Records, a label operated by the Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College. The recordings, made in various settings between the mid-1920's and the mid-1980's, range from African American work songs to Anglo American ballads to acappella sacred music and stringband tunes. As the Blue Ridge Institute's staff folklorist, Kip Lornell was involved with the series, producing, writing liner notes and compiling tracks which included some of his own field recordings. He was most deeply involved in the volumes Non-Blues Secular Black Music and Tidewater Blues. Smithsonian Folkways has made the entire series available via their website.
|Read Liner Notes||Read Liner Notes|
Marvin and Turner Foddrell were born into a musical family near Stuart in the Virginia Piedmont and for the major parts of their lives played regularly only at community gatherings, never professionally. Marvin and Turner were sons of a regionally renowned multi-instrumentalist, Posey Foddrell, who was proficient on fiddle, mandolin, piano, banjo, and guitar and played both with black and integrated groups. The family had lived in the Stuart area for several generations and they rarely ventured any significant distance from their home, where Turner ran a grocery store on Highway 8, and where the brothers were "discovered" by a local deejay during one of their impromptu jams. The Foddrells became a regular fixture at the annual Blue Ridge Folklife Festival at nearby Ferrum College (the college's Blue Ridge Institute recorded the brothers extensively as well as some of the other artists featured today) and were also featured at many other festivals including some in Europe. The Foddrell Brothers recorded only two commercial records: The Original Blues Brothers (1981) on Swingmaster and Patrick County Rag (1983) on Outlet. They also appeared alongside more famous traditional musicians on a number of anthologies. Both brothers have since passed away. Pete Lowry recorded them extensively in 1979 but none of these recordings were ever issued. Turner’s son Lynn joined the brothers on the 1982 and 1983 performances at the Celebration of Traditional Music. After Marvin’s death, Turner had continued to perform with Lynn. With Turner succumbing to lung cancer on January 31, 1995, the baton was passed onto Lynn.
Pete Lowry was the first to record John Cephas and Phil Wiggins but the results were not released although Cephas did appear on an album by Big Chief Ellis released in 1976. He recorded the duo extensively in 1980 (his last field recordings) and recorded Cephas in-depth in 1976. Kip Lornell recorded Cephas in 1977 with some of the recordings appearing on the Virginia Traditions series. In 1980, Cephas & Wiggins were recorded by Siegfried Christmann and Axel Kustner as a part of the Living Country Blues USA series. The duo's first full-length album was issued on Flying Fish in 1986. Cephas passed away in 2009.
Archie Edwards was born on a farm near Union Hall in rural Virginia in 1918. In the 1930's, he and his brother got a job at a nearby sawmill. Archie played guitar in his spare time and went home on weekends to play for parties. After serving in the the war, he went to Richmond, Virginia, to become a barber. He set up a barbershop in Washington D.C. His barbershop became a musical hangout spot for many local musicians. Through the barbershop, Edwards met Mississippi John Hurt. The two started playing together and joined up with Skip James and played around the city for the new white audience. He died in 1998. His first recordings appeared on the Living Country Blues series with subsequent albums for Northern Blues and Mapleshade.
Carl Martin's main instrument was mandolin but he also mastered the guitar, and according to those who saw him perform, could play anything with strings. Carl Martin not only performed solo, but also spent much of his career in a trio featuring Ted Bogan (guitar) and Howard Armstrong (violin). The trio enjoyed a career that spanned five decades and was known under several different monikers, including the Four Keys, the Tennessee Chocolate Drops (recorded under that name for Vocalion in 1930), and the Wandering Troubadours. In the late '30s, they followed the great migration to Chicago where they would eventually go their separate ways, occasionally playing together. Martin cut sides under his own name in the 30's as well as backing Tampa Red, Bumble Bee Slim, Washboard Sam and others. He recorded again in the 60's for the Testament label, resulting his only full-length album. Following years of playing solo, Martin, Bogan, and Armstrong reunited in the early '70s and played the folk and blues festival circuit all over the country.
John Jackson was born in Woodville, Virginia into a musical family, he learned to play as a boy before moving in his twenties to Fairfax, where he had a day job as a gravedigger, one of many jobs he performed. In the early 1960's he cut several albums for Arhoolie. He visited Europe several times, played at folk festivals, and also recorded for Rounder and Alligator Records. Jackson died in 2002.
|Read Liner Notes|
Alec Seward was born in Charles City County, Virginia and relocated to New York in 1942 where he befriended Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry. He met Louis Hayes and the duo performed variously named as the Blues Servant Boys, Guitar Slim and Jelly Belly, or The Back Porch Boys. The duo recorded sides in 1944 and another batch in 1947. During the 1940's and 1950's Seward played and recorded with Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, McGhee and Terry. Creepin' Blues (with harmonica accompaniment by Larry Johnson) was released by Bluesville in 1965 and never issued on CD. Later in the decade Seward worked in concert and at folk-blues festivals. He died at the age of 70, in New York in May 1972.
Rabbit Muse, was in born 1908 and learned soprano ukulele from a childhood friend before transferring to baritone and setting out on a career that spanned seven decades. Despite this long career he recorded only two albums: Muse Blues (1976) and Sixty Minute Man (1977) both on the Outlet label.
John Tinsley played local house parties before waxing a single for the Mutual label in 1952. He quit playing until coming out of retirement in the 70’s playing several festivals and making a few recording including Country Blues Revived (1978) for Outlet and Sunrise Blues (1981) for Swingmaster.