(Poster for the National Recovery Administration known as the Blue Eagle, an early New Deal program)
Well, what with the bank failures and giant government bailout of Wall Street, I thought it was time to do an episode featuring the songs of the Great Depression. A lot of great music was composed in response to the collapse of the economy and the hard times of the Great Depression. I’m just scratching the surface on today’s program! But if things keep on the way they are I’m sure I’ll be doing another episode. On today’s show we hear songs about bank failures, New Deal programs, FDR, hard times, inflation, the Union Movement and more. See below for a list of the tracks played on today’s show, plus links and some good articles about the economy.
1.Brother, Can You Spare A Dime- Leo Reisman & His Orchestra Poor Man’s Heaven
2. Bank Failures – Bob Ferguson & Scalawaggers Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left
3. No Depression in Heaven – The Carter Family
4. How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live- Blind Alfred Reed Hard Times In The Country
5. Poor Man – Frank Proffitt Memorial Album
6. NRA Blues- Bill Cox
7. Death Of The Blue Eagle – George Davis Mountain Music Of Kentucky
8. WPA Song – unknown
9. Join The CIO- Aunt Molly Jackson
10. Join The Union Tonight- John Handcox Songs for Political Action
11. 35 Depression – Daddy Stovepipe & Mississippi Sarah Poor Man’s Heaven
12. ’31 Depression Blues – The New Lost City Ramblers Volume II 1963-1973
13. Jolly Banker – Woody Guthrie Library Of Congress Recordings
14. Wreck Of The Tennessee Gravy Train – Uncle Dave Macon Classic Sides 1929-1938 Disc D
15. President Roosevelt Is Everybody’s Friend – Rev. JM Gates Poor Man’s Heaven
16. Roosevelt After Inauguration (excerpt)-From The Yage Letters – William S. Burroughs
17. Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt – McKinley Peebles Friends Of Old Time Music (Disc 2)
18. I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister – Tillman Cadle Songs for Political Action
19. 11 Cent Cotton 40 Cent Meat – Bob & The Boys Songs for Political Action
20. Pretty Boy Floyd – Woody Guthrie Dust Bowl Ballads
Library of Congress’ “New Deal at 75” online exhibition –> direct link to index of materials with a little digging through this website you can really get to some great stuff!
Some good articles about the economy:
Check out this photo I found on the Library of Congress “New Deal at 75” website. Its of a drummer in a juke joint in Tennessee in 1939. Check out his drum kit, its awesome! Mostly homemade drums with a washboard on top of the bass drum, and symbols with nuts and bolts in them. That floor tom is amazing. I’ll bet that kit sounded awesome. Also of note is the mural behind him. Its really good! Apparently there is a tradition of juke joint murals, of which this is the first documented example.
Drummer in orchestra in Memphis juke joint. Tennessee.
Wolcott, Marion Post, 1910- photographer.