This week Eli talks with The Peach Colored Jug Smugglers. They’re a great new string band from California who came East this summer and are currently working their way through the South and back across the country using a combination of buses, hitching rides and hopping on freight trains. They inhabit a place in California called the Chad Shack, a structure which they have build on an open piece of land. They pay no rent! They all come from a punk music background but have started playing old-time music in the last year or two.
This weeks show marks the one year anniversary of Down Home Radio! Sure we’ve missed some weeks here and there, but we’ve now been broadcasting for a full year. Its been great and time has really flown by! Lots more great shows in the works, so keep listening!
This week we have a great interview with Pete Seeger, a man who certainly needs no introduction. We talk with Pete about his experiences dealing with the music industry over his long career, trying to make money as a young artist, the controversy surrounding royalties derived from the South African song he first adapted into Wimoweh / The Lion Sleeps Tonight, his Campaign for Public Domain Reform and his thoughts about the state of the world in general. We also play (almost) all the songs he mentions in the interview!
Pete Seeger’s public domain reform proposal to the U.N.
“Old songs world wide now in the public domain are often adapted and arranged and the new song copyrighted. We propose that a share, either .01% or 99.99% of the mechanical, print and performing royalties go to the place and people where the song originated. Every country should have a public domain commission to help decide what money goes where.”
– Pete Seeger
The Committee for Public Domain Reform
Follow-up Interview with Mat Callahan – Mat is the person spearheading the actual implementation of this effort at the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) office of the U.N. in Switzerland. He explains Pete’s proposal as well as who the real culprits are in the rip-off scam that is the current copyright regime. Mat also addresses the controversy over the royalties from The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Alan Lomax’s copyrighting of folksongs, as well as the nature of the folk process itself. Click here for Mat’s previous appearance on Down Home Radio
Here’s some notes from the show I just hosted on KPFK in LA about the history of protest songs and contemporary protest songs and singers:
By the way, the interview I did with Pete Seeger is not yet posted up, I will be posting it on the night of Friday, October 5th, so check back for that.
Lots of Links, etc. below-
Here’s a blurb for each song. I see the program as being a bit of history and then bringing it up to date with great contemporary stuff. We’ll start at the beginning of the 20th century with the IWW, a One Big Singing Union who liked to parody Salvation Army bands because they had good familiar tunes. And if the Salvation Army band tried to drown out the IWW singers with their brass bands, the Wobblies could just sing along. “The Preacher and the Slave” is a song written by Joe Hill in 1911. It was written as a parody of the song “In The Sweet Bye and Bye.”
1. Preacher and the Slave by Harry “Mac” McClintock – Harry McClintock was a singer associated with the IWW. He is the composer of the song Big Rock Candy Mountain, but here sings a song by Joe Hill, of whom he was a personal associate, one of very few the reclusive Joe Hill had. They, along with T-Bone Slim were the main composers of the IWW, International workers of the world. I think they had the best songs of any labor movement in America. This recording is taken from a remarkable one of a kind interview with McClintock, conducted by Sam Eskin in 1950. Click the above link to got Smithsonian Global Sound where you can buy the track, read the liner notes, etc.