Merle Travis Folk Songs Of The Hills Rar ((HOT))
White grew up in the South during the 1920s and 1930s. He became a prominent race records artist, with a prolific output of recordings in genres including Piedmont blues, country blues, gospel music, and social protest songs. In 1931, White moved to New York, and within a decade his fame had spread widely. His repertoire expanded to include urban blues, jazz, traditional folk songs, and political protest songs, and he was in demand as an actor on radio, Broadway, and film.
Merle Travis Folk Songs Of The Hills Rar
White recorded in various contexts, sometimes accompanied only by his guitar and sometimes playing with others backing him on guitar and string bass or piano or with jazz ensembles, gospel vocal groups, or a swing jazz band, as in his popular 1945 recording "I Left a Good Deal in Mobile". He performed and recorded with the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams, and besides his duets with Libby Holman and with Lead Belly, he recorded and performed duets with Buddy Moss and often performed duets with his friend Billie Holiday. He also recorded songs of social and political protest with Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Burl Ives, and Lee Hays in their folk cooperative group the Almanac Singers and in the later group People's Songs, which consisted of the core of musicians and activists who formed Almanac Singers.
On September 1, 1950, White, appearing with only his wife Carol at his side, sat down before HUAC in Washington, D.C., regarding communist influence in the entertainment industry and African-American community. He did not give the HUAC Committee names of Communist Party members. At length, he told them of his life story as a child, seeing his father beaten and dragged through the streets of Greenville by white authorities, and having to leave home at the age of seven to lead street singers across America in order to feed his family. He defended his right and responsibility as a folksinger to bring social injustices to the attention of the public through his songs, and then passionately read the chilling lyrics of one of his most famous recordings, the anti-lynching song "Strange Fruit" (written by Abel Meeropol) which was then placed into the Congressional Record. He also included his words about Paul Robeson regarding the alleged statement Robeson had made in Paris.
White was in many senses a trailblazer: popular country bluesman in the early 1930s, responsible for introducing a mass white audience to folk-blues in the 1940s, and the first black singer-guitarist to star in Hollywood films and on Broadway. On one hand he was famous for his civil rights songs, which made him a favorite of the Roosevelts, and on the other he was known for his sexy stage persona (a first for a black male artist).
On occasion in the early 1940s, when the grandmother watched the children, Carol would join White in singing, performing and recording with the folk collaborative group, the Almanac Singers. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Carol was a guest on Eleanor Roosevelt's television talk show, and in 1982 she was a featured speaker at the Smithsonian Institution's 100th anniversary celebration of the birth of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, while her son, Josh White, Jr., performed a musical program of songs his father had presented at one of his White House command performances. Josh White, Jr., a successful singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, educator, and social activist for the past 60 years, performed and recorded with his father as a duet from 1944 to 1961 and performed with him in two Broadway plays (Josh White, Jr., won a 1949 Tony Award for the play How Long Till Summer). At various times in the 1950s and 1960s, White's daughters Beverly, Fern, and Judy also performed, recorded and appeared on radio and television with him. In 1964, when new anti-segregationist legislation made it easier for African Americans to purchase real estate in previously all-white neighborhoods, White and his wife bought a duplex in the Rosedale, Queens section of New York City. His daughter Beverly and her family lived upstairs, and White and his wife lived downstairs. White lived in this semi-suburban home for the rest of his life. Carol White continued to live there and worked until she was in her 80s, first as manager of a clothing boutique and then as a social worker serving people in nursing homes, until her sudden death in 1998. One week before her fatal heart attack, she received final confirmation that the United States Postal Service would honor White in 1998 with a postage stamp. When shown a mock-up photograph of the stamp by White's estate manager, Douglas Yeager, she expressed joy, gratitude and a long-awaited satisfaction that after all those painful years of social isolation in the McCarthy era, White would be receiving this recognition. She felt that she could finally go in peace.
In July 1973, Van Zandt performed a string of shows over five sweltering nights at the Old Quarter bar owned by Rex ("Wrecks") Bell and Dale Soffar that were recorded on a portable four-track by Earl Willis, the album's producer and engineer. They would eventually be released four years later by Van Zandt's previous producer and manager Kevin Eggers on his new Tomato Records label. The liner notes describe the recording as the "Rosetta Stone" of Texas music. One can hear Van Zandt's influences in covers by artists like Bo Diddley, Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins, and country picker Merle Travis. Van Zandt's most famous works can also be heard, such as "If I Needed You" and "Pancho and Lefty" played to an audience not already familiar with these songs. The singer's laconic banter and corny jokes are also on full display. The album is also noted for the intimacy of the performance, with Van Zandt taking the stage alone and accompanying himself on guitar as he did thousands of times during his career. In the 2007 biography To Live's To Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt, John Kruth writes that Van Zandt played "to nearly a hundred folks per set, packed shoulder to shoulder within the bar's bare brick walls. The room was so jammed that it was impossible for a waitress to wend her way through the crowd to take drink orders. People had to pass money hand over fist and wait, in hopes that a mug of cold beer would eventually find its way back to them." Van Zandt is introduced by Dale Soffar and, after apologizing for the busted air conditioning, performs a gentle reading of "Pancho and Lefty", describing how he wrote the song while traveling near Dallas with Daniel Antopolsky. At the end of the song, the singer remarks, "I've never heard it so quiet in here." The photograph on the album cover was shot by Steve Salmieri.
Ricky Skaggs "Kentucky Thunder" (Columbia Records, 1989) (Produced by Steve Buckingham & Ricky Skaggs)Closing out the decade's run as a commercial country star, Ricky's kind of going through the motions, but still singing from the heart and keeping it real. This disc didn't really speak much to me -- the music seems a little forced, though you can tell there's still a lot of sincerity behind the performance. One thing that's noteworthy is that about half the songs (including the title track) were written by Music Row songsmith and erstwhile truegrasser, Larry Cordle, who's kind of a cult favorite for a lot of folks. Although this is where he got the name for his bluegrass outfit, the future members of Kentucky Thunder don't play on here, it's mostly Nashville studio cats and bluegrass usual suspects like Jerry Douglas, Bela Fleck and Bobby Hicks, as well as hotshot guitarist Albert Lee, who contributes his share of driving, note-heavy leads. The second half of the album tilts towards Ricky's increasing interest in evangelical Christianity, and closes with a heartfelt gospel original, "Saviour, Saved Me From Myself," written by Larry Cordle and J. Rushing.
Ricky Skaggs & The Whites "Salt Of The Earth" (Skaggs Family Records, 2007) (Produced by Ricky Skaggs & The Whites)An awesome, heartfelt country-bluegrass gospel album, featuring Ricky Skaggs and his adoptive family, wife Sharon White and her sister Cheryl, and father Buck White. The White Family has been a singular presence in the American roots scene -- a acoustic-based family band that was an echo of country music's early roots, in the 1970s the band worked in the folk and folk festival circuit, but made an unlikely jump into Nashville and country radio in the early '80s, where they enjoyed moderate success for a few years before scaling back to their more humble roots. There is something special about the group's relationship to Skaggs -- I think in many ways they are his touchstone to tradition, and they always bring out some of his finest harmony-based work. This is a sublime gospel set, with several standards from the likes of Fanny Crosby's "Near The Cross" and "Blessed Assurance", as well as more modern songs such as Janis Ian's "Love Will Be Enough," and the title track by Jim Rushing, "Salt Of The Earth". Fans of harmony vocals will be delighted by this album, which has the feel of a classic - and fans of the Whites will be happy to hear them back in action, still sounding as sweet as ever. Worth checking out!
Ricky Skaggs "Music To My Ears" (Skaggs Family Records, 2012) This opens with some rock-solid traditional truegrass set with rich picking and strong song selection... Then it drifts into more contemporary folk-twang type material, with a mix of secular and spiritual songs... Pretty much par for the course for Mr. Skaggs. For my money, the best tracks are the propulsive opening number, "Blue Night" and the sweet gospel harmonies of the title track, "Music To My Ears." He's keeping the flame burning, for sure. The album also includes a version of "Tennessee Stud," made in tribute to the late Doc Watson, who passed away in 2011.