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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Books and Articles => Topic started by: Stuart on February 20, 2016, 12:29:20 AM

Title: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: Stuart on February 20, 2016, 12:29:20 AM
John told me about this book tonight. Here are a few links:

http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?gcoi=80140100931190

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/06/books/review/hear-my-sad-story-by-richard-polenberg.html

http://www.amazon.com/Hear-My-Sad-Story-Traditional/dp/1501700022
Title: Re: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: ScottN on February 20, 2016, 07:19:22 AM
I'm about 8 chapters in at this point and am enjoying it - definitely recommended. It gives the real stories behind many well known ballads (as well as some not as well known - to me at least).  Well researched and well written.  Definitely gives additional perspective to the songs and makes me want to find and listen to the ones I'm not familiar with.

Thanks,
               Scott
Title: Re: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: jphauser on February 20, 2016, 06:40:14 PM
Another recent book that might be of interest is Paul Slade's Unprepared To Die: America's Greatest Murder Ballads And The True Crime Stories That Inspired Them.   I haven't read it, but I have spent a good deal of time reading Slade's writing on his very entertaining and informative website.  The website contains material on murder ballads and other musical (and nonmusical) subjects.

http://www.planetslade.com/

http://www.soundcheckbooks.co.uk/unprepared-to-die/

There is also a recent book on Railroad Bill by Larry Massey titled The Life and Crimes of Railroad Bill: Legendary African American Desperado.

http://upf.com/book.asp?id=MASSE001
Title: Re: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 20, 2016, 11:18:51 PM
This discussion reminds me of Olive Woolley Burt's groundbreaking book American Murders Ballads and their stories (OUP 1958, $5.50,  272pps).

This I managed to acquire at a "jumble sale" in 1969 for the princely sum of ?1 and in pristine condition.

Attached is a scan of the dust jacket blurb. Click images to zoom in.
Title: Re: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: Stuart on February 20, 2016, 11:28:13 PM
Thanks for the tip, Alan. A couple of the local libraries have it, so I'll have to give it a look.
Title: Re: "Hear My Sad Story" by Richard Polenberg
Post by: Johnm on February 21, 2016, 07:02:17 AM
Hi all,
Professor Richard Polenberg, who wrote "Hear My Sad Story" was my college advisor when I attended Cornell, and he is a great scholar and an excellent writer (and a really nice man).  I had a chance to read "Hear My Sad Story" before it was published and it is fascinating.  Among the people whose stories are discussed in it in detail are Stack Lee, Railroad Bill, Frankie Silvers, Pearl Bryan, Tom Dula, Betty and Dupree, Delia and Cooley, John Henry, Ellen Smith, Omie Wise and others.  Included in the text are photographs of several of these people, newspaper accounts, etc.  It is really an interesting book.  I would sure recommend it.
All best,
Johnm