Random Thoughts & Links


Eli’s List of YouTube Videos (I Had to Do It)

People tell me to check out different videos on YouTube like 10 times a day. I guess that’s why Google bought it for however many billion dollars. But I have to say, that I’m very happy that the forum of YouTube exists and I hope that stupid copyright laws, other bad laws and general restrictions don’t mess it up. Hopefully its too late for that. Maybe its never too late. Probably both. We’ll see. Anyway, here’s links to videos that I found worthy for this particular list.

J.D. Sumner & the Stamps Quartet – 1967 – Wayfaring Stranger -Who are these crazy people? (Thank you to Jacob Groopman for this link.)

Jackson Pollock film – I heard that Jackson Pollock played in a string band with Pete Seeger in the 1930’s. That makes sense, because as Pollock mentions in this really cool film, he was a student of Thomas Hart Benton. Benton was a good friend of Charles Seeger, Pete’s father, and was definitely a big part of the “folk” music/visual art movement of that time.

Fugs 1968 – A film of The Fugs in 1968, made for Swedish television. They’re a great band, definitely doing good work.

Ed Sanders plays finger-synth – Ed Sanders (of the Fugs) talks about poetry and music, reads/sings his own work, and plays an instrument that he invented. Great stuff!

To Hear Your Banjo Play Part 1 & Part 2 – This is an incredible film made in the 1940’s. It features Pete Seeger and is largely narrated by him. The story and dialogue were done by Alan Lomax and its got some of the only footage of Woody Guthrie. Its also got footage of several other of the greats. You can download this film at Archive.org. Not to be missed!

Remi Jatta Plays the Akonting – Filmed in the Casamance region of The Gambia in 2003. He is playing a predecessor to the American banjo, the akonting, using the same technique, called “clawhammer” that we use here in the USA! This is the original banjo music! Click here for a complete Down Home Radio episode on the subject.

Del McCoury Band – Playing “Get Down On Your Knees And Pray.”

Sarah & Maybelle Carter- Here’s links to several films of them: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 .

Memphis Jug Band – This is footage of several members of the original Memphis Jug Band playing Kansas City Blues. Awesome.

Roscoe Holcomb – plays “Little Grey Mule.”

Roan Mt. Hilltoppers – Great string band. This is the trailer for an upcoming film about them.

Malcolm X – By Any Means Necessary

 Slash Shreds – This is pretty funny


Theme Time Radio Downloads – All of Bob Dylan’s radio shows available for download!


– All the stuff from Pete Seeger’s old tv show “Rainbow Quest” is worth checking out on YouTube.

– Also be sure to search on YouTube for Leadbelly. That footage is haunted, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Harry Smith Films: Early Abstractions Parts One, Two, Three, Four and Mirror Animations
-Yes this is the same Harry Smith that put together the Anthology of American Folk Music for Folkways in 1952. He was a record collector, painter, film-maker, collector of other esoteric things like fabric and string designs. An artist/achemist. The process by which these films were made is extraordinary. The films are extraordinary!

Archive.org Check out Thomas Edison’s films from the 1890’s and lectures by Harry Smith on here. Lots of other stuff too.



*** Who are these people putting these awesome videos on YouTube!? I salute you.


A brief snippet of info on train hopping

Some more links:

The Secret Museum of Mankind (book)

Military Keynesianism – Check it out.

Free Speech Network

ISO Hunt
Bit Torrent search engine. p2p file sharing, very good.

Moe Asch
A good interview with Folkways Records founder Moe Asch.

New Lost City Ramblers Discography

A good list of their recordings and also a link to a good article on the group that appeared in the magazine ‘Old Time Herald.’

People’s Music Network


Link to a good article I just read


I found this Hunter S. Thompson piece on The Buffalo Report website.

Hunter S. Thompson on 9/11 (ESPN). Millions of words about the consequences of the September 11, 2001, attacks were published in the weeks and months following the event, but none were so on the money as this column by Hunter S. Thompson published the following day. Here’s a sample: “The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country….We are At War now — with somebody — and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives. It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy…. We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once…. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed — for anyone, and certainly not for anyone as baffled as George W. Bush. All he knows is that his father started the war a long time ago, and that he, the goofy child-President, has been chosen by Fate and the global Oil industry to finish it Now. He will declare a National Security Emergency and clamp down Hard on Everybody, no matter where they live or why….” (We found the link to this essay in Andrew O’Hehir’s review of Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Alex Gibney’s new film about Thompson, in Salon.com.) (4 July 2008)



Sept. 26, 2006
Entry #1:

1. The preparations for launching the show are nearing completion. I have already put together the first program, which features some real awesome African-American banjo playing and string band music as well as an in depth look at the African origins of the banjo. I play some field recordings of an instrument called the Akonting, a lute played clawhammer style by the Jola tribe of Senegambia. It is a very clear predecessor to the American banjo and also a very interesting piece in our social history. I also talk with Bela Fleck about his recent trip across Africa and his experiences playing with musicians he met there, including Akonting players. This trip was facilitated by my friend and associate Daniel Jatta, a Jola Akonting player and researcher currently living in Sweden who, along with some others is opening a Jola cultural center in Gambia over the summer. Very exciting

See www.MySpace.com/Akonting for more information on that, and how to donate money to this important effort.

Click this link for some more information I pulled together on the Akonting.

and click this link for a more extensive article put together by Shlomo Pestcoe.


2. Periodically I will be bringing you good quotes I come across. This is a great one, and oddly contemporary considering it was written in 1938.

Here’s a thought from Leon Trotsky (Leon Trotsky on Literature and Art, p.105. Pathfinder Press, 1970, NY,NY):

The decline of bourgeois society means an intolerable exacerbation of social contradictions, which are transformed inevitably into personal contradictions, calling forth an ever more burning need for a liberating art. Furthermore, a declining capitalism already finds itself completely incapable of offering the minimum conditions for the development of tendencies in art which correspond, however little, to our epoch. It fears superstitiously every new word, for it is no longer a matter of corrections and reforms for capitalism but of life and death. The oppressed masses live their own life. Bohemianism offers to limited a social base. Hence new tendencies take on a more and more violent character, alternating between hope and despair…

-Now that is a great quote. Reading further I thought I might include a bit more for context sake and to show where he is going with that idea:

…To find a solution to this impasse through art itself is impossible. It is a crisis which concerns all culture, beginning at its economic base and ending in the highest spheres of ideology. Art can neither escape the crisis nor partition itself off. Art cannot save itself. It will rot away inevitably- as Grecian art rotted beneath the ruins of a culture founded on slavery- unless present day society is able to rebuild itself. This task is essentially revolutionary in character. For these reasons the function of art in our epoch is determined by its relation to the revolution…

…The October Revolution gave a magnificent impetus to all types of Soviet art. The bureaucratic reaction, on the contrary, has stifled artistic creation with a totalitarian hand. Nothing surprising here Art is basically a function of the nerves and demands complete sincerity. Even the art of the court of absolute monarchies was based on idealization but not on falsification. The official art of the Soviet Union- and there is no other over there- resembles totalitarian justice, that is to say, it is based on lies and deciet…


3. A couple of months ago Pete Seeger loaned me his copy of his father’s collected works “Studies in Musicology 1935-1975” (Charles Seeger, University of California Press, Berkeley 1977). Pete had underlined a few passages. They are as follows:

p. 338. The folk music revival was a shotgun wedding of oral (folk) and written (fine and popular art) idioms.

p. 388. The “American music” that has spread all over the world and is hailed by millions-even emulated by them-is folk, folk-popular, and the hybrids of the from old-timey music, hillbilly, country and western, jazz in its myriad forms, and rock in possibly more myriad forms.

p. 339. …there must exist few, if any, persons left ratable as 100 percent either folk or nonfolk.