Here is an early, influential and fantastic album issued by the Library of Congress in 1942. It was first issued on an album of 78rpm records and then was reissued on this disc early in the LP era. This record AAFS L2, “Anglo-American Shanties, Lyrics Songs, Dance Tunes and Spirituals from the Archive of American Folk Song,” is the 2nd in the “Folk Music of the United States” series and was edited by Alan Lomax.
There’s some pretty amazing stuff on here. In fact, all of it is great. It’s a great record! The field recordings on this album were newly made at the time of the album’s release. This was the latest hot off the press stuff. The field recordists who made these recordings, Alan and Elizabeth Lomax, Pete Seeger, Herbert Halpert, Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin are a good representation of the small group of early modern folklorists busy making field recordings of Southern music at that time.
There’s some clutch stuff on here. These recordings were very influential early on to Pete Seeger, who made several of them, and to the members of the New Lost City Ramblers among others. Mike Seeger has recorded his own versions of many of the song variants found on this album.
Here’s an unfair question: How do you think this record, or better this series, of field recordings edited by Alan Lomax and issued in 1942, relates to the Anthology of American Folk Music, composed of commercially recorded 78s, which was edited by Harry Smith and issued in 1952? Contrary to some popular conceptions, there were amazing and influential compilations of folk music issued before the Anthology…
I will continue to post more volumes from this series, but I think this one is my favorite.
See below for track information and notes:
Does anyone have the complete liner notes booklet that accompanies this record? Can you scan it?
A1. Sally Brown sung by J.M. “Sailor Dad” Hunt of Marion, VA. 1941
A2. Haul Away My Rosy by same.
A3. Pay Day at Coal Creek (Lament on a Mine Disaster) sung with 5-string banjo by Pete Steele at Hamilton, Ohio, 1938
A4. The Little Dove sung by Aunt Molly Jackson of Clay County, Ky. 1939
A5. Ten Thousand Mile by same
A6. Soldier, Won’t You Marry Me? Sung with guitar by Russ Pike at Visalia, CA 1941
A7. Jennie Jenkins sung with guitar and mandolin by Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Ball at Rugby, VA 1941
A8. FOD (nonsense song) sung with guitar and mandolin by Henry Kind and Family at Visalia, CA 1941
A9. Roll on the Ground sung with 5-string banjo by Thaddeus C. Willingham at Gulfport, MS 1939
B1. The Last of Callahan
B2. The Ways of the World
B3. Glory in the Meeting House – all played by Luther Strong at Dalesburg, KY 1937
B4. Grub Springs
B5. The Eighth of January
B6. Sally Goodin
B7. Cindy – all played on the fiddle by W.E. Claunch with guitar at Guntown, MS, 1939
B8. Old Joe Clark
B9. Chilly Winds – both played on 5-string banjo by Wade Ward at Galax, VA 1939
B10. Cripple Creek played on 5-string banjo by Herbert Smoke at Winchester, VA 1940
B11. Coal Creek March played on 5-string banjo by Pete Steele at Hamilton, Ohio, 1938
B12. John Henry (square dance) played by Wallace Swann and his Cherokee String Band, with square dancing at Asheville Folk Festival, Asheville, NC 1941
B13. The Train (harmonica solo) played on the harmonica by Chub Parham with clogging, at Asheville Folk Festival, Asheville, NC 1941
Here’s what the Alan Lomax Archive website says about this record series:
FOLK SONGS OF THE UNITED STATES
An annotated survey of the field recordings in the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress, including Southern, Northern, and Western Euro-American songs and ballads; many types of African American songs from the United States and Bahamas; Mexican American songs and ballads; and songs and tunes from the Cajun country. This first recorded picture of a nation’s field recorded folk traditions was recorded by John A. Lomax, Alan Lomax, Herbert Halpert, and others, and edited by Alan Lomax. It was subsequently expanded by other collector/editors including Benjamin Botkin, William N. Fenton, Duncan Emrich, George Pullen Jackson, George Korson, Richard Waterman, Henrietta Yurchenco, and others. (Library of Congress, 1942)
Vol. 1: Anglo-American Ballads
Vol. 2: Anglo-American Shanties, Lyric Songs, Dance Tunes, and Spirituals
Vol. 3: Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs, and Ballads
Vol. 4: Afro-American Blues and Game Songs. Bahaman Songs
Vol. 5: French Ballads and Dance Tunes. Spanish Religious Songs and Game Songs