Short Film: The 78s That Saved Folk Music


“Eli Smith, founder of the Brooklyn Folk Festival, sits down with record collector John Heneghan to discuss an eccentric experimental filmmaker named Harry Smith whose obsession with 78 rpm records helped save American folk music.”

Here is a new short film, “The 78s That Saved Folk Music”, that Charlie Hoxie of Brooklyn cable channel BRIC TV made with me a few months ago, exploring the legacy of the Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled by Harry Smith and released on Folkways Records back in 1952.  While “folk music” does not need saving necessarily, and Harry Smith is only one part of that story, his Anthology remains so good! and so important as a part of history and as a resource today.

Check it out!!

Read the rest of this entry »

8th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 8th-10th, 2016!

The 8th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival is almost here!
40+ great bands and performances!
Get your tickets now!!
www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

SCHEDULE
Friday Evening Concerts
8:00PM Meredith Axelrod – Blues, Ragtime and Country music
8:45PM The Four o’clock Flowers – Blues, Folk, Gospel and early Jazz
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Frank Fairfield and Tom Marion – American and Italian string music and songs
11:00PM Extra Special Guest!!!  Who will it be?
11:45PM Clifton Hicks– Old time banjo and ballads from Georgia!
 
Saturday Afternoon Concerts
12:45PM Pistol Packin’ Mamas – String band blues and rags from Tennessee to the Tex- Mex border. Comin’ all the way from New Orleans, LA!
1:30PM Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues – Jug band music, original and traditional
2:15PM Happy Valley Pals – Oldtime string band from Durham, NC
3:00PM Willy Gantrim – Blues, Folk, Country and original songs
3:45PM Rafe & Clelia Stefanini – Fiddle and banjo music
4:30PM Rayna Gellert (of Uncle Earl) – Old time songs and tunes, original songs
5:15PM Piedmont Bluz – Country Blues guitar, harmonica, washboard
6:00PM Mick & Evan Kinney- Amazing old time string band from the great state of Georgia!
6:45PM Gaida– Syrian vocalist with her band, traditional Arabic maqams and  more
 
Saturday Evening Concerts
7:45PM Ed Sanders & Steve Taylor (of the Fugs) – Songs and poems with music
8:30PM Feral Foster – Original and Folk songs
9:15PM Spirit Family Reunion – Original and Folk songs
10:00PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton – Blues, Old Time and Ragtime Music
10:45PM Roy Williams & The Human Hands – Gypsy jazz, country and more!
11:30PM Radio Jarocho – Son Jarocho from Veracruz, Mexico
 
Saturday
WORKSHOPS AND ACTIVITIES:

Parish Hall:
3:00PM New Topical Songs performance (Songs from the News!)
4:00PM Oldtime Jam Session
5:00PM Lariat Tricks and Cowboy Songs with Cowboy Ernie Sites!
6:00PM Harmonica Contest!!! Read the rest of this entry »

Roots n’ Ruckus Fest! Celebrating 10 Years!

Feral Foster has been hosting his Roots n Ruckus folk music variety show for 10 years!  It’s an amazing show and to me is the heart of the folk music scene here in New York City.  It takes place every Wednesday from 9pm till late at the Jalopy Theatre in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Feral has organized a 10th anniversary festival featuring 40+ bands, great music Wednesday-Saturday at the Jalopy.  This festival is bringing back many of the original performers from this scene as well as numbers of performers and bands that have played the show over the years.

As always, Roots n Ruckus is FREE! No cover… Check it out!

Re-Start Jalopy Records! Lost Train Blues!

Please help us out by supporting the Kickstarter fundraising campaign!  Before November 13th!!
CLICK HERE to donate!

JALOPY RECORDS PARTNERS WITH MISSISSIPPI RECORDS TO RELEASE “Lost Train Blues” – CELEBRATING ALAN LOMAX’S 100TH BIRTHDAY WITH NEVER BEFORE ISSUED FIELD RECORDINGS

Brooklyn’s Jalopy Records has rebooted their homegrown folk music record label with a brand new release, “Lost Train Blues: John & Alan Lomax and the Early Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress.” Help us produce and manufacture this album AND get the ball rolling on a bright, new future for the Jalopy Records label!

Jalopy Records has partnered with well known Oregon based vinyl label Mississippi Records to manufacture and distribute this and future releases. Jalopy Records is the record label of the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, a grass roots cultural center for traditional music, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The record features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, 13 of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo and fiddle music and Native American vocal music. These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci. Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro making for the best possible audio fidelity.

5th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival!

The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is coming’ right up!  It’s free and open to the public and should be once again a wonderful event in out in the park.  Come if you can!  www.WSPFolkFest.com for more information!

7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 17th-19th, 2015!

Hey folks – The 7th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival is on it’s way!  Get your tickets now!

 

April 17th-19th at our amazing new venue, St. Ann’s Church, centrally located in Brooklyn Heights!  Here’s a photo of the venue:

Complete 30 band lineup below! PLUS! Workshops, film screenings, and the BANJO TOSS competition!


CLICK HERE for tickets
, or visit www.BrooklynFolkFest.com

Brought to you by Down Home Radio Show and the Jalopy Theatre…

SCHEDULE

Friday April 17th:

8:00PM Jackson Lynch – Blues guitar, old time fiddle and banjo breakdowns, songs and ballads
8:45PM Horse Eyed Men – Original folk/country outer-space music
9:30PM Michael Hurley – Legendary folk musician, needs no introduction!
10:15PM Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton - Country blues, fiddle and banjo
11:00PM Terry Waldo’s Rum House Band - Legendary early Jazz and Ragtime pianist with his band
11:45PM Feral Foster and His Band – Excellent songwriting based solidly in Blues, Folk, Gospel and Balkan music

Saturday April 18th: Afternoon Concerts Read the rest of this entry »

A World Made By God and By Hand



A World Made By God and By Hand

A Review of “Ogg Land: The Rediscovered Photographs of C.I. Ogg” by Kathryn Freeman
Review written by Eli Smith.  This article will appear in print form in the forthcoming issue of “The Quiet American.”

To view selected Ogg photos in high resolution CLICK HERE, and visit The Photography of Coley Ogg facebook page.  To purchase “Ogg Land” CLICK HERE.

C.I. “Pa” Ogg (1855-1950) was the main photographer in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but he is only today starting to receive his due.  “Ogg Land: The Rediscovered Photographs of C.I. Ogg,” lovingly compiled by his great granddaughter Kathryn Freeman, offers an amazing look into the old ways of the mountain frontier.

In her introduction, Kathryn Freeman writes, “In the summer of 1992 I made a promise to my mother that I would try to create a book of my great grandfather’s old photos, I set out to learn all that I could about the man that was our beloved “Pa Ogg.”  After two decades of searching, my knowledge and archive have grown considerably… Pa Ogg’s work tells the story of Appalachia’s dramatic transformation from a farming economy to an industrial one.  His photographs were widely published, from the late 19th century, right up to the present, but nearly always unattributed.  He was an early photographer lost to history, a documentarian who made ‘art.’  The work is old, but it depicts a way of living that is far older than the photos themselves.”

As the fertile lands of Virginia and other states to the East became settled and accounted for, poor homesteaders, in search of their own stake, were forced to make the dangerous passage through the Cumberland Gap and other mountain passes to claim rugged land deep in the Appalachian interior.  Many were soldiers in the revolutionary war that received homestead land grants in return for their service in Washington’s army.  This book of photographs records the original mountaineer way of life in its final era.

This first volume of Pa Ogg’s work focuses on his beautiful documentation of the natural world and truly rural way of life in E. Kentucky from when he started making photographs around 1880 through the early 20th century.  Ogg’s photographic record preserves the reality of subsistence farming and hunting that had existed for 100 or even 200 years in the mountains, but was soon to be obliterated as people were convinced or coerced into a turn towards a coal mining economy, which now forms the basis of the region’s identity.

C.I. Ogg was unable to read or write, and was known to be modest man who did not like to “sign” his Read the rest of this entry »

4th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival

Hello everybody – come on out to the Washington Square Park Folk Festival that I’ve been putting together the last few years, if ya can!  – Eli

Schedule:

1pm – The Down Hill Strugglers
1:45pm – Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton
2:30pm – Lightning in the East
3:15pm – Radio Jarocho
4pm – Square Dance!  with David Harvey of NYC Barn Dance

Organizers are happy to announce the upcoming 4th Annual Washington Square Park Folk Festival.  This festival is free and open to the public and is set for Sunday Sept. 14th, from 1-5pm.  The festival stage is located by the Garibaldi statue on the East side of Washington Square Park, seating will be provided.

This year the festival will feature blues music from Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, two old time string bands; the Down Hill Strugglers, recently featured on the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and Lightning in the East, featuring banjoist Steve Arkin, and Radio Jarocho playing Son Jarocho style music from the Veracruz region of Mexico.  The festival will close with a community square dance!  The dance is always great fun, and will be called by David Harvey of NYC Barn Dance.

The festival celebrates and continues the long tradition of folk music performance in Washington Square Park. This tradition goes all the way back to the 1940’s and the birth of Folk music in New York City, with the likes of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger coming together on Sunday afternoons to play music and socialize in the park.  This tradition continued up through the 1960’s where the park welcomed a young Bob Dylan to the folk music scene in the city, and it continues up until today.  The Washington Square Park Folk Festival is the first formal festival presentation of Folk music in Washington Square Park’s history and we are proud to see the festival enter its 4th successful year.

Best of the 5th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival Live Album!

Hello everybody -

Do you have your copy of the “Best of the 5th Annual Brooklyn Folk Festival” live album!?  This is a collection of nineteen incredible live recordings made at the 2013 Brooklyn Folk Festival and issued by Jalopy Records.  Performers include John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers, Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, The Cactus Blossoms, Mamie Minch and Tamar Korn, Jeffrey Lewis and others…  Order your copy and listen to samples at CDBaby.com.

1. They Sailed Away from Dublin Bay / The Galtee Reel
Joey Abarta

2. Blues Stay Away from Me
Mamie Minch & Tamar Korn

3. Chickasaw Train Blues
Whiskey Spitters

4. When First Unto This Country
Jackson Lynch

5. Catfish Blues
Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton

6. Strawberry Blues
The Down Hill Strugglers

7. The Coo-Coo Bird
John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers

8. Stani Mi, Majchu (Traditional Bulgarian Song) Read the rest of this entry »

The Brooklyn Folk Festival: April 18th-20th, 2014…

The Brooklyn Folk Festival, a co-production of Down Home Radio and the Jalopy Theatre, is almost here!  It’s gonna be an incredible event! – with 30 bands, film screenings, workshops, jam sessions and contests!  Coming up April 18th – 20th, 2014 at the Bell House, a great venue here in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Folk Festival is now going into its 6th successful year.  This year’s festival will focus on Old Time String Band music from the United States and will feature a number of traditional groups and musicians coming to the city from various parts of the South, representing their local traditions, as well as a number of great groups from right here in New York.  We will also have Indonesian Gamelan gong music, Andean music from regions of the old Inca empire, Balkan music, jug bands, blues, jazz, songwriters and more… a huge wealth of talent!

The festival will feature Frank Fairfield and Jerron “Blindboy” Paxton, Dom Flemons and Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, R. Crumb with the East River Stringband, as well as 25 other bands and performers.  The Brooklyn Folk Festival is modeled on the early days of the Newport and University of Chicago folk festivals and seeks to present an authentic folk festival experience, with a diversity of traditional music, as well as contemporary songwriters, plus workshops, jam sessions, film screenings and the famous Banjo Toss contest!  There will also be a very nice tribute to Pete Seeger with group singing and a family friendly square dance.

Its gonna be fun!  Get your tickets right away!.. visit the festival website at: www.BrooklynFolkFest.com for the compete schedule and ticket information.

- Eli