Watching the wind blowin’ in through my bedroom window while reading in bed over the weekend.
The song in the clip is ‘Joe de Grinder’, sung by Irvin “Gar mouth” Lowry, recorded by Ruby and John Lomax in Lincoln County, Arkansas as part of their southern states recording trip in 1939.
The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip is an ethnographic field collection, which includes nearly 700 sound recordings, as well as fieldnotes and other manuscripts documenting a three-month 6,502-mile trip through the southern United States. Their field journey began in Port Aransas, Texas, on March 31, 1939, and ended at the Library of Congress on June 14, 1939. They recorded ~ 25 hours of music from more than 300 performers. The recordings cover a beautifully broad range of traditional styles including ballads, blues, children’s songs, cowboy songs, whistling tunes, field hollers, lullabies, spirituals, work songs and more.
Apparently the Lomaxes were among the first to apply a systematic scholarly-type methodology to this kind of work. The intimacy of the recordings is so special; I love the fact that you can hear people talking and moving about in some of the clips -you can even here the creekin’ wooden floorboards of a room or verandah in one or two. A really special collection, which you can find online, right here.