Archive for December 2008

Remembering Henrietta Yurchenco – Leadbelly & Woody Guthrie Live on WNYC, 1940!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Henrietta Yurchenco, photo by Peter Gold 2006

Last December, Down Home Radio co-founder Henrietta Yurchenco passed away at the age of 91. I met her when she was 89 and we had a great time doing this show together and generally hanging out in the last 2 years of her life.   She was a tremendously accomplished person who over a very long career left an amazing musical and historical legacy, some of which has been preserved for us to hear. For a short history of her carreer read my essay, her obituary from the New York Times, her excellent autobiography, or visit her website.

Starting now I will begin to bring out some of the things from her archives which I have or can get my hands on. In this entry I am re-posting a very remarkable show we did in January of ’07, airing a radio show Henrietta produced for WNYC in 1940 at the beginning of her career – It was Leadbelly’s show, and that week the guest was Woody Guthrie. This amazing show was recorded in excellent quality, preserved and found by the archivist at WNYC! We re-aired it together with Henrietta’s comentary 67 years later.  So look out for more excellent material from the Yurchenco archives, as well as all the shows we hosted here on Down Home Radio.

This week Henrietta and Eli discuss outlaw ballads and how criminals are transformed into popular heroes. In conjunction with that and of extra special interest, they rebroadcast a show Henrietta produced for WNYC radio back in 1940. It is Leadbelly’s show and he has as his guest, Woody Guthrie. This program has not been heard since it was first broadcast 67 years ago! Down Home would like to thank WNYC and archivist Andy Lanset for providing us with this rare material.

Leadbelly & Woody Guthrie Live! On WNYC 1940

Interview with Jake of The Cangelosi Cards

Friday, December 19th, 2008

The Cangelosi Cards by e_v_e.

On today’s show I speak with Jake Sanders, guitarist and band leader of The Cangelosi Cards.  The Cards are an awesome New York based old-time jazz, swing, New Orleans music, blues, country band (that’s a mouthful, but they really range widely in their repertoire!).  The Cards play all kinds of different gigs and have become very popular on the national swing dance scene.  I became a big fan the first time I saw them, more than 2 years ago now and am very pleased to have Jake on the program.

The band has built up their following the old fashioned way, word of mouth and face to face.  Jake started out as a street musician and built up the band, which is now achieving considerable success, from there. He talks about the beginnings of the band, their evolution and all the gigs and tours they’ve done lately.  Jake also discusses some of his own background as a guitarist and plays some records from a number of musical styles that have been influential to him, and I play some recordings that I made of the band live at Banjo Jim’s in Manhattan.  The Cangelosi Cards frequently play my Down Home Live show at Banjo Jim’s, which happens the 2nd Saturday of every month, and they play at Banjo Jim’s regularly, every Monday night.  Check ’em out!

In the show I apologize for not having more recent live recordings of them. But I got one!  So I just posted it.  Check out this awesome live set by the Cards at my Banjo Jim’s show in Jan of 2009.

Cangelosi Cards gig listing (more…)

The New Lost City Ramblers: 50 Years – Interview with John Cohen & Tom Paley

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

The New Lost City Ramblers (John Cohen, Mike Seeger & Tom Paley) formed as a band in 1958, and this year marks their 50th anniversary.  In fact, this interview, recorded on September 13th, 2008, was 50 years to the day after their first concert, held on September 13th, 1958 at a chapter hall of Carnegie Hall.  On today’s show I speak with John Cohen and Tom Paley about their memories of the birth of the band, how it happened, how they met, began playing together, chose the name, got their sound, made recordings and started touring.  John and Tom don’t remember it quite the same way, but some where in there lies the truth!

Tom left the band in 1962 and moved to Europe where he still lives.  But he and John were both in New York where they played together at the “11th Annual Park Slope Bluegrass & Old-Time Jamboree” at the Society for Ethical Culture.  I was able to catch up with them there and we sat in the basement and talked.

The New Lost City Ramblers have been a tremendously influential band in the folk revival of the last 50 years as well as in the parallel revival of interest in old-time string band music.  Their enthusiasm for and devotion to the old-time sound changed the debate in the folk music world of the 1950’s and 60’s and made musicians and listeners take a much deeper and nuanced listen to the rural sounds they were hearing on records.  The NLCR made urban, non-traditionally schooled musicians approaching the material, aware of not the just songs, but the style and challenged them to grapple with that issue.  This is still a serious question and one that is very relevant today.
(Read the rest of my essay below, plus track information for the today’s show)


Echoes of the Ozarks Vol. 2 – another great old record

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Echoes of the Ozarks vol. 2 front cover

Continuing with Down Home Radio’s “Awesome Out of Print Records” series – On today’s show I play one record straight through.  Its an old County Records LP  I picked up called Echoes of the Ozarks Vol. 2, released in 1970.  I really like this record, there is some great string band music on here.  It was an unexpected treat.  I got it somewhere for cheap, didn’t look at it closely at all, figured it would be only mildly interesting.  Then I put it on and haven’t been able to stop listening since. I particularly love Reeves’ White County Ramblers use of the old fashioned pump organ in their sound.  Apparently they usually used piano, but used the organ because that’s all they had at the recording studio.  Glad they did!  Its great.

The record features: Reeves’ White County Ramblers, Luke Highnight’s Ozark Strutters, Dr. Smith’s Hoss Hair Pullers, A.E. Ward & His Plowboys, and Fiddlin’ Bob Larkan & Family.  All great bands and hard to find.  If anybody has volume 1, send it my way!  This is an excellent compilation.

CLICK HERE to download this record cut up into tracks.

See below for liner notes and more track information: