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G'WAY an' quit dat noise, Miss Lucy, put dat music book away. What's de use to keep on tryin' ef you practise twell you're gray? - Paul Lawrence Dunbar's poem When Malindy Sings

Author Topic: American Epic PBS  (Read 7029 times)

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Offline jpeters609

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #45 on: May 28, 2017, 09:28:28 AM »
The Hayes archive of Victor recordings has been known about and accessed for many years. John R.T. Davies made extensive use of it, for instance, while remastering the many reissues on the Frog (UK) label.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 01:27:30 PM by jpeters609 »
Jeff

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #46 on: May 28, 2017, 11:03:20 AM »
The piece where HoneyBoy is talking about contemporary Blues singers having "Different" Vocal chords than their generation did, is really fascinating. I wish that had been explored a little more deeply. Homesick Jame's assertion that its because they didn't have to yell commands at Mules is interesting but wasn't what Honeyboy was really touching on I think. I wonder what he was hearing as the most significant differences, and what he thought accounted for them. The '42 footage of him was really amazing. But I do agree with Mike that there is a bit too much of a scrap-book feel to the program overall.
This is aside from the fact that seeing the children of some of these mythic 78 entities and hearing how tough their lives were, takes a bit of the imagined gloss off of them. Ultimately better that way I guess.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #47 on: May 28, 2017, 11:21:36 AM »
It also bears repeating re. the Harry Smith Anthology, that there was already a fairly robust Folk revival/topical song Union/Left movement going on in New York going back as far as the 30's and centered around, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Josh White, Sonny and Brownie, Jean Richie, Pete Seeger and driven in large part by Alan Lomax who quite aside from the vast repertoires of the previously mentioned artists, many of whom knew the contents of the Harry Smith anthology, or variations thereof , from first hand sources, was already sitting on a very sizable archive. The songs that launched and drove the Folk revival really owed more to this group of songs than to the storied Smith Anthology, which I suspect was in large part an effort to supply the first recordings of songs already circulating, in the Folk circles he would have been involved with.
For what its worth, folklorist, musician and compiler of "The Secret Museum of Mankind" series for Schanichie, Pat Conte and I are in agreement about Lomax'x primary influence and the exaggerated importance of the Harry Smith anthology, though we are rarely in agreement about anything else.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 11:28:13 AM by Mr.OMuck »
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

http://www.youtube.com/user/MuckOVision

Offline jostber

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #48 on: May 28, 2017, 12:51:36 PM »
This is very interesting:

T Bone Burnett on PBS Documentary Series ?American Epic? | Variety

http://variety.com/2017/music/news/t-bone-burnett-american-epic-jack-white-pbs-1202429519/

Some finds have been bigger than others. Says Burnett, ?A friend of Bernard (MacMahon, the documentary director and soundtrack album compiler) was painting the Hayes archive north of London, a big warehouse north of London where the EMI tape library is. He came back to Bernard and said, ?You know, those RCA records you love, there are boxes and boxes of them in the Hayes archive.? Bernard went up there, sure enough, there were crates. It turned out that in 1906, the head of RCA ? which was the first record company in the United States ? went to England to compare notes with the head of EMI, which was the first record company in the world. And as he was leaving, he saw a Nipper, and he said, ?I love your logo ? his master?s voice. Would you mind if I put it on my records?? And the head of EMI said, ?No, I wouldn?t, as long as you send me one copy of every record you press with my logo on it.? So from 1906 to 19-thirtysomething, there was one pristine copy of every RCA 78 sent to the Hayes archive. And it?s there ? 30,000 records, pristine.?


Offline jostber

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #49 on: May 28, 2017, 01:14:05 PM »
From Financial Times:

'American Epic?: Jack White on a journey through recording history

https://www.ft.com/content/892b50ba-400d-11e7-82b6-896b95f30f58

Offline waxwing

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #50 on: May 28, 2017, 02:53:20 PM »
The piece where HoneyBoy is talking about contemporary Blues singers having "Different" Vocal chords than their generation did, is really fascinating. I wish that had been explored a little more deeply. Homesick Jame's assertion that its because they didn't have to yell commands at Mules is interesting but wasn't what Honeyboy was really touching on I think. I wonder what he was hearing as the most significant differences, and what he thought accounted for them. The '42 footage of him was really amazing. But I do agree with Mike that there is a bit too much of a scrap-book feel to the program overall.
This is aside from the fact that seeing the children of some of these mythic 78 entities and hearing how tough their lives were, takes a bit of the imagined gloss off of them. Ultimately better that way I guess.

I think what they are both really talking about was the use of the microphone for live performance. In order to project as much as possible in the din of a juke joint or dance hall, pre microphone era performers experimented with the use of their vocal apparatus in ways that took them well outside of their habitual vocal realm. It's not just volume, but timbre and range that help a voice cut through. Once the PA came along this was no longer necessary, and singers could remain comfortably within their habitual voice and still be heard. At the same time that African Americans were leaving the plantations and moving to the cities there were also large technical advances being made. The effects of both, on performers' capabilities and sensibilities, are complex.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline TenBrook

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #51 on: May 30, 2017, 09:53:28 AM »
OMuck,
More on the Alan Lomax and others influence versus the Anthology: I came across the below awhile back and found it interesting as I had not previously heard any mention of how Harry Smith discovered specific artists and finding that he was turned on to the Carter Family by way of Alan Lomax was quite a revelation:

From Wikipedia: "Smith also told Cohen that in selecting his material he relied heavily on the Library of Congress's mimeographed "List of American Folk Songs on Commercial Records", a monograph compiled by Alan Lomax in 1940 with the assistance of Pete Seeger, that Lomax and Seeger had sent out to folk song scholars (and which could also be purchased directly from the Library for 25 cents). Cohen asked Smith: "Where did you first hear of the Carter Family??

Smith: I would think from that mimeographed list that the Library of Congress issued around 1937 [sic], "American Folksongs on Commercially Available Records" [sic]. Shortly after that, two Carter Family recordings, "Worried Man Blues" and "East Virginia Blues" were reissued on the album Smoky Mountain Ballads. That album would come to stores that wouldn?t ordinarily have Carter Family records." More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Everett_Smith

You can grab a pdf of the "List of American Folk Songs on Commercial Records" (and read more about its history) here:
https://roothogordie.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/alan-lomaxs-list-of-american-folk-songs-on-commercial-records/
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 10:00:32 AM by TenBrook »

Offline banjochris

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2017, 10:44:53 AM »
The piece where HoneyBoy is talking about contemporary Blues singers having "Different" Vocal chords than their generation did, is really fascinating. I wish that had been explored a little more deeply. Homesick Jame's assertion that its because they didn't have to yell commands at Mules is interesting but wasn't what Honeyboy was really touching on I think. I wonder what he was hearing as the most significant differences, and what he thought accounted for them. The '42 footage of him was really amazing. But I do agree with Mike that there is a bit too much of a scrap-book feel to the program overall.
This is aside from the fact that seeing the children of some of these mythic 78 entities and hearing how tough their lives were, takes a bit of the imagined gloss off of them. Ultimately better that way I guess.

I think what they are both really talking about was the use of the microphone for live performance. In order to project as much as possible in the din of a juke joint or dance hall, pre microphone era performers experimented with the use of their vocal apparatus in ways that took them well outside of their habitual vocal realm. It's not just volume, but timbre and range that help a voice cut through. Once the PA came along this was no longer necessary, and singers could remain comfortably within their habitual voice and still be heard. At the same time that African Americans were leaving the plantations and moving to the cities there were also large technical advances being made. The effects of both, on performers' capabilities and sensibilities, are complex.

Wax

That's a very interesting point, but I got the impression that they were just being polite to a white interviewer and meant that most modern white blues performers couldn't sing the blues very well.
Chris

Offline Slack

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2017, 12:14:30 PM »
That's the way I took it too Chris.  And the mules part, I interpreted as 'practice makes perfect' eg, singing/field hollers in the fields all day allows you to hone skills and is part of the difference.

Offline outfidel

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #54 on: May 30, 2017, 12:36:11 PM »
Mississippi John Hurt featured in tonight's episode -- including "new" color footage!



...playing "Louis Collins" the way John Miller teaches it  8)
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 12:47:38 PM by outfidel »
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Offline TenBrook

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #55 on: May 30, 2017, 01:52:31 PM »
Just came across an interview with Jack White conducted by Bernard McMahon, it starts out discussing music of the '20s and '30s in general and then moves into a discussion of the process of recording with the Western Electric recording system for the 4th part of the American Epic series featuring current artists. There's some nice photos of the set up and interesting insight into what it was like trying to record the way it was done in the '20s and '30s.

I somehow was able to access the article through a google search but as Slack notes the article requires a subscription, which I do not have, and I now can't access the link that I once accessed. Still maybe searching for "american epic" results in the past week on google and then clicking on the ft (Financial Times) link will let you in.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 02:12:18 PM by TenBrook »

Offline Slack

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #56 on: May 30, 2017, 01:56:02 PM »
Looks like you have to be a subscriber.

Offline TenBrook

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #57 on: May 30, 2017, 02:10:21 PM »
Thanks Slack, I was able to view it by clicking the link after doing a google search for "american epic" results in the past week but now trying to hit the same link gives me the subscription site, so not sure what's up with that. I just updated my original post (which is now effectively a useless post, as I'm assuming none of us subscribe to Financial Times).

Offline Stuart

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #58 on: May 30, 2017, 04:47:15 PM »
Here's the Google Search URL for "Financial Times interview with Jack White"

https://www.google.com/#q=financial+times+interview+with+jack+white

The first link I get is (I put in double spaces so the link is not embedded):

https:  //  www.  ft.  com/  content/  892b50ba-400d-11e7-82b6-896b95f30f58

Click on the first link (or the one you get that matches the URL for the ft.com link above through the Google Results page (And NOT Directly). It took me to the FT interview page. The digital sites that require a subscription and normally block access will sometimes let in a redirect through Google, Bing, etc. Try it and see what happens. I got there using both Firefox and Chrome.

If you get the subscription page, try clearing your browser's cache, history, etc. to see if that helps.

Edited to add: Using Firefox, I tried it again a while later, but got the "Subscribe" page. I then cleared Today's History, including the cache, and was able to get back into the site via the Google results link.

You can also try using a proxy site or at your library if it subscribes to the Financial Times digital edition.

« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 08:34:14 PM by Stuart »

Offline waxwing

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Re: American Epic PBS
« Reply #59 on: May 30, 2017, 10:16:20 PM »
The piece where HoneyBoy is talking about contemporary Blues singers having "Different" Vocal chords than their generation did, is really fascinating. I wish that had been explored a little more deeply. Homesick Jame's assertion that its because they didn't have to yell commands at Mules is interesting but wasn't what Honeyboy was really touching on I think. I wonder what he was hearing as the most significant differences, and what he thought accounted for them. The '42 footage of him was really amazing. But I do agree with Mike that there is a bit too much of a scrap-book feel to the program overall.
This is aside from the fact that seeing the children of some of these mythic 78 entities and hearing how tough their lives were, takes a bit of the imagined gloss off of them. Ultimately better that way I guess.

I think what they are both really talking about was the use of the microphone for live performance. In order to project as much as possible in the din of a juke joint or dance hall, pre microphone era performers experimented with the use of their vocal apparatus in ways that took them well outside of their habitual vocal realm. It's not just volume, but timbre and range that help a voice cut through. Once the PA came along this was no longer necessary, and singers could remain comfortably within their habitual voice and still be heard. At the same time that African Americans were leaving the plantations and moving to the cities there were also large technical advances being made. The effects of both, on performers' capabilities and sensibilities, are complex.

Wax

That's a very interesting point, but I got the impression that they were just being polite to a white interviewer and meant that most modern white blues performers couldn't sing the blues very well.
Chris
You're right, Chris. I went back and watched it again and Honeyboy says at one point, "There's a few white boys can sing good. Just a few of 'em, now." So it begs the question of whether they were talking about white electric blues players, who shared the field with black players pretty evenly, or white country blues players, who totally dominated the field then. I met both Honeyboy and Robert Lockwood right around that time. Honeyboy up at PT, a country blues enclave for those who haven't been, and Robert Jr. back stage at the SF Blues Fest, pretty much pure electric (he was playing the blue electric 12 string with an electric bass player). Maybe both?

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

 


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