This week Eli interviews mandolin player and owner of Acoustic Disc records, David Grisman. They discuss David’s roots in Greenwhich Village in the early 1960’s, his views on the state of the music/entertainment industry, the appeal of acoustic music as a catagory and his own latest projects.
This week, Eli interviews Delta Blues legend Honeyboy Edwards. Honeyboy reveals many fascinating insights, vignettes and critical information gathered during his 74+ years as a professional musician. He is Eli’s personal favorite all time blues musician. Honeyboy talks about his days playing in Memphis with the Memphis Jug Band (plus how to blow a jug and build a tub bass) and Big Walter Horton, playing in Chicago with all the greats there, how to hop a freight train and get away with it as well as lots more.
Check out autobiography: The World Don’t Owe Me Nothin’
In this episode Henrietta & Eli give some of their own perspectives on Bob Dylan’s early social/political songs. Of particular interest, Henrietta comments on what Dylan saw in Guthrie, what he took from him and what he has been able to keep, all these years, and through all of the changes in his life and music.
This week Down Home host Henrietta Yurchenco draws from material collected during her 1954 field work among Sephardic Jewish women in Tetuan and Tangier, Morocco. The songs they sang into her microphone have been popular since at least the 15th century, before the reconquest of Spain and the Inquisition, when the Moors and Jews were driven out.
For more information on this subject see Henrietta’s own website. – You will find a free web edition of her book on the subject “In Their Own Voices” and English translations of all the song lyrics! They’re fascinating.
Talking about radical art, guerilla street theater, beat style poetry and hip-hop.
This week Eli and Dave Weissman (Down Home’s producer) talk with actor/poet Steven Ben Israel and his son Baba Israel, a beatboxer, hip-hop poet and educator. We get their relative perspectives on coming up as artists in New York City, Steven in the 50’s and 60’s and Baba in the 90’s and how they brought together Beat generation styles and hip-hop. Steven is a part of The Living Theater, an avant garde theater company and Baba has his own production company, Open Thought Productions.
Interview with Baba Israel and Steven Ben Israel
“Guerilla theater is when a group of people do a piece, the cops come and the cops beat up the audience.”
“What can you do in the street that the people aren’t gonna go, “ah get a way from me”? -that’s the first thing. You have a guy walking down the street singing and people say get away from me. Cause it’s a very fragile reality out there.”
“…You may just join the army because you have a fear going way back … to go out there and break out of this working class box, either the army or the factory. And the main thing with the Living Theater and its history was to address that fear. The main thing in this society is fear, to address that fear by understanding that the fear of life is heavier than the fear of death…” -Steven Ben Israel
On this show we hear Lord Buckley’s “The Nazz” as well as several live performances from Steven and Baba. (The Nazz is a hip Louis Armstrong as Jesus character that heals people).
During the course of the show Steven and Baba give a lot of recommendations on counter-cultural stuff. See below:
Eli & Henrietta talk with Joe Hickerson, folk singer as well as librarian and director of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress from 1963-1998.
Joe gives us a history of the Library of Congress’ folk song related activities, plays some recorded examples as well as selections from his 1963 LOC recordings of Mississippi John Hurt. He also recounts the history of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” which Pete Seeger was inspired to begin after reading an obscure Russian novel and which Joe wrote the last 2 verses for, thus completing the well loved song we know today.
Henrietta and Eli play a bunch of music relating directly to social and political issues.
Performance by John Cohen, Peter Stampfel and Mark Bingham followed by and interview with Peter and John. Peter is a founding member of the Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs. John Cohen is 1/3 of the New Lost City Ramblers and has done incredible field recordings, films, photographs, etc. Mark Bingham has played music with Peter for many years in several bands.
Part A – The group plays some original and traditional tunes
Part B– Interview portion of the program. Peter and John agree, disagree and give their perspectives on music past and future.
Down Home’s Henrietta Yurchenco spins some of Bessie Smith’s greatest songs, sets them in their social context and offers her own personal recollections of the era in which they were recorded.
Part A: Mexico Sampler Show – featuring field recordings made by Down Home host Henrietta Yurchenco.
Part B: The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention – featuring live recordings and interviews (w/ Larry Hanks, Kate Brislin, Suzy Thompson) done by DHR host Eli Smith when he traveled to Berkeley a couple weeks ago.