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Listen NowTitleFile NumberSubjectsRecording DateAlt TitleGenresInstrumentsCitiesStateSettingEditor NoteTechnical NoteOnline Resources
Announcement6604B37-11-1942
Interview about making music for a living6605A2, 7-16-1942,
Speech6613A27-20-1942

Johnson makes a plea for brotherhood and upright conduct.

Recitation (I Believe the Good Old Bible From the Beginning to the End)6613A47-20-1942

Speaker is identified as the second tenor of the group.

Toasts, folk tale, and interview (part 1)6614A7-22-1942

Title given is that on AFS card. Lomax and Edwards trade toasts from 10:30.

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Disc skips heavily for first six minutes.

toasts, folk tale, and interview (part 2)6614B7-22-1942

Title given is that on AFS card. Largely an interview about catching trains, hobo musicians, and itinerancy. Lomax and Edwards discuss blues lyrics about rambling, being lonesome, and the “crossroads.” Ends with a Titanic toast.

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Stories of a conjure man and blue-gummed people / Toast6615A17-22-1942, ,

Discussion of a conjuror (“conjur man”) named Uncle Tom; recitation of a dirty toast learned from a man from St. Louis; and talk on blue-gummed people.

Scripture lesson6616A27-23-1942

Rev. Brown is announced as being from Brookhaven, Miss.

When I Can Read My Title Clear (part 1)6616A3, , , , , 7-23-1942

Identified on AFS card as “When I Can Read My Promise Clear.” Individuals listed are those clergy/congregants notated by Lomax.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Prayer6616A47-23-1942

Rev. Davis is announced as being from McComb, Miss., on 6612A2.

Sermon6616B17-23-1942

Severe speed fluctuation for first minute.

Prayer after the sermon (part 1)6616B37-23-1942

Identified on AFS card as “Commencement of Prayer” (originally 6616B2); title given is drawn from first band on next disc as they’re of a piece. Whiting was identified as being from Greenwood, Miss.

Prayer after the sermon (part 2)6617A17-23-1942

Identified on AFS card as “Commencement of Prayer” (originally 6616B2); title given is drawn from first band on next disc as they’re of a piece. Whiting was identified as being from Greenwood, Miss.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church.

Announcement of recording6617A37-23-1942

Announcement of recordings being made the following day at Nelson Funeral Home, next door to the church.

Severe speed fluctuation.

Sermon on "Kingdom Unity" (part 1)6617A47-23-1942,

The subject of Rev. Richardson’s talk is “Kingdom Unity.”

Severe speed fluctuation.

Sermon on "Kingdom Unity" (part 2)6617B7-23-1942,

The subject of Rev. Richardson’s talk is “Kingdom Unity.”

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Sermon on "Kingdom Unity" (part 3)6618A27-23-1942,

The subject of Rev. Richardson’s talk is “Kingdom Unity.”

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Prayer6618A27-23-1942

Peaks (?) is announced at the top of the band.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Sermon on foot-washing (part 2)6618B17-23-1942,

Identified on AFS card as “Fragment Of Talk.” Speaker is identified in announcement after his talk as Dr. Jones.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Announcements6618B27-23-1942
Missionary prayer6619A1, 7-23-1942,

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Missionary sermon (part 1)6619A27-23-1942,

Rev. Terrell was from Greenwood, Miss.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Missionary sermon (part 2)6619B17-23-1942,

Rev. Terrell was from Greenwood, Miss.

Missionary sermon (part 3)6619B27-23-1942,

Rev. Terrell was from Greenwood, Miss.

Recorded at the Mississippi Missionary Baptist Convention at the First African Baptist Church

Missionary sermon (part 4)6620A7-23-1942,

Rev. Terrell was from Greenwood, Miss.

Missionary sermon (conclusion)6620B17-23-1942,

Rev. Terrell was from Greenwood, Miss.

Closing prayer6620B27-23-1942, http://[Last portion Y!]/
Closing prayer (fragment)6621A17-23-1942,

A fragment of the closing prayer on 6620B2.

Identified as “tests” on AFS card.

Ambience6621A27-23-1942

Identified as “tests” on AFS card.

Announcement/Prayer (fragment)6621A3, 7-23-1942,

Announcements of forthcoming speakers and the report from the secretary and treasurer. “Cooney” might be Cuney.

Identified as “tests” on AFS card.

Interview about sacred songwriting and old-time reels and songs6622A1, 7-23-1942

Discussion of songwriting and inspirations. Interspersed with sung example of “Precious Lord, Stand By Me.” Haffer discusses singing reels for candy-knockings, corn-shucking, and dances. Stagolee and Frankie and Johnny are mentioned.

Interview about old-time reels and levee camps6622A2, 7-23-1942

Continued from previous band – Liza Jane, Bill Bailey, Shortenin’ Bread, and a levee-camp holler are mentioned. “Back in the ’90s.” Discussion on levee camps, bad men, and sinfulness follows.

SC to -0.84 / 95.2%

Interview about sinful instruments; levee camp incidents; work songs; old-time dances and reels; banjos, guitars, and tent shows.6622B, 7-23-1942

Recollection of the piano being seen as a sinful instrument; congregants saying the church was being turned into a barrelhouse. Lomax asks about incidents on the levee camp, prompts Haffer with question about cocaine – he recites Take A Whiff On Me, and discusses the distribution of bad-man songs among the general population. Continues with discussion road-gang and timber songs. Haffer sings fragment of John Henry. Recollections of old-time square dances with fiddle and French harp (harmonica) and “calling figures.” Lomax prompts his memory with ballads like Barbara Allen and the Gallows Pole; Haffer says he recalls Casey Jones, but hums a fragment of Casey Bill instead. Haffer recites Birmingham Jail/Bird In A Cage, which he says was his favorite song. Discussion moves to banjos, tent shows, “floating palaces,” and changing musical tastes and repertoires. Talks about Joe Turner and the popularity of the song about him, played on guitar, dating it around 1900. With Lomax’s suggestion, he says Make Me A Pallet On the Floor and Alabama Bound were contemporaneous, and that the guitar eclipsed the banjo in popularity. “They thought they was progressing.”

Interview about geopolitics and race relations6623B1, 7-23-1942
Discussion of funeral customs6625A17-23-1942

Continued on 6625B2.

Disc begins too fast, slows down to appropriate pitch by band’s end, when Lomax says he needs to get his “machine going a little better.”

Sermon on Job6625A27-23-1942,

SC to -0.72 / 95.9%

Discussion of funeral customs (continued)6625B27-23-1942

Continued from 6625A1.

Internal speed fluctuation.

Interview about songwriting and song-peddling6626A1, 7-23-1942

Discussion of race relations, peddling songs and newspapers, and his topical songwriting – in particular his ballad about the Titanic, which sold several thousand copies.

Tent-show monologue6626B27-23-1942

Orr recites a monologue from a tent show in which he performed. Identified as “opening routine in show” on AFS card. The section on the preacher and the bear was issued under that name on “The Land Where the Blues Began,” Rounder CD 1861, 2002.

The Ugliest Animal, the Baboon6626B37-23-1942, ,
Big Mosquitos6626B47-23-1942, ,
The Man Who Walked On the Water Like Christ6626B57-23-1942, ,
The White Doctor and His Servant6626B67-23-1942, ,
John (Jack) Guesses What's Under the Pot6627A27-23-1942, ,

Preceded by explanation of previous story. Buck Asa identifies the protagonist as both John and Jack.

John and the Lord6627A37-23-1942,
The Preacher and His Hogs (part 1)6627A47-23-1942,
The Preacher and His Hogs (part 2)6627B17-23-1942,
Discussion of the Swift Peter (the dog killer)6627B27-23-1942

Buck Asa briefly discusses the dog-killing “Swift Peter” with Lomax and Lewis Jones, the latter of whom asks if he’s familiar with the “axe man,” but the machine is stopped.

The Preacher Who Could Always Be Trapped By Pussy6627B37-23-1942, ,
The Woman Who Couldn't Count6627B47-23-1942, ,
The Lady and Her Three Daughters6627B57-23-1942, ,
Bring Me My Duck6627B67-23-1942, ,

Disc cuts out before the story ends.

White Man, Jew, and a Negro Go to Heaven6628A27-23-1942, ,
The Ox and the Mule6628A37-23-1942, ,
The Jew and the Irishman at the Cemetery6628A47-23-1942, ,

Lewis Jones wonders aloud how the joke “made it down here.”

Three Suitors Who Were Fast Men6630A17-25-1942, ,
The Foolish Boy and the Preachers6630A27-25-1942, , ,
Greensnake6630A37-25-1942, ,
Interview about storytelling, his biography, Bud Doggett, and tough guys6630A4, 7-25-1942,

Discussion of learning the preceding story from a Walter Hutton, storytelling style, his own biography, the late plantation manager Bud Doggett, tough guys (including a Jack Devil).

Mr. Bear and Mr. Rabbit (#1)6631A27-25-1942, ,
Mr. Bear and Mr. Rabbit (#2)6631A37-25-1942, ,

Followed by discussion of animal stories.

Three Sons Look for Their Fortune6631A47-25-1942, ,
The Woman Who Never Had No Man6631A57-25-1942, ,
Toast on Mr. Chatmon and Bud Doggett6631B27-25-1942, ,

Identified as “Toast on Bud Doggett,” but the toast – which Starks attributes to Howard Spann – has more to do with a Mr. Chatmon’s breaking up moonshining operations.

The Preacher and the Deacon's Wife6631B37-25-1942, ,
The Devil Counts Souls In the Graveyard6631B67-25-1942, ,
Man Runs Away from the Gunshot6632A27-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Lawyer, the Bookkeeper, and the Tramp Go to Mary6632A37-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Chicken Stealin' Man6632A47-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Queen of Africa (#1)6632A77-25-1942, , ,

Possibly so entitled to obscure the bawdy content – there is no mention of Africa in the story.

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

Shine and the Titanic (#1)6632A87-25-1942, ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Queen of Africa (#2)6632B17-25-1942, , ,

Possibly so entitled to obscure the bawdy content – there is no mention of Africa in the story.

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

Shine and the Titanic (#2)6632B27-25-1942, ,

Following the recitation, King gives his age as 28 and says he lives nearby.

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

Toast about preachers6632B47-25-1942, ,

Identified on AFS card as “Preacher and the Lady.”

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Railroad Men Go to Town6632B57-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Animals Have A Convention6632B67-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

The Lady Washing at the Spring6632B77-25-1942, , ,

SC to -0.75 / 95.9%

Opening prayer6633A5, 7-26-1942,

The congregation moans and shouts responses while Rev. McGhee offers the prayer.

Preaching / Bible reading (Hebrews 13:12)6633B2, 7-26-1942
Testimonies6633B4, 7-26-1942
Testimony6633B6, 7-26-1942
Jesus Is My Friend6633B8, 7-26-1942, ,

 

Testimony6634A27-26-1942

Severe speed fluctuation.

 

Testimony6634A5, 7-26-1942

Severe speed fluctuation.

Sermon6634A6, 7-26-1942

Speaker is unindentified past his being a visiting pastor.

Severe speed fluctuation.

Sacramental sermon6634B3, 7-26-1942

Combined of six separate fragmentary bands.

Sacramental text6635A2, 7-26-1942

Identified as such on AFS card. Used here to differentiate it from 6634A6, “Sacramental sermon.”

Prayer6635B2, 7-26-1942
Sermon on foot-washing (part 1)6635B6, 7-26-1942
Sermon on foot-washing (part 2)6636A1, 7-26-1942

Remarks by an unidentified elder follow Rev. McGhee’s sermon.

Worship service: lighting the offering6637A2, 7-26-1942

Identified as “Lighting the offering” in AFS catalog. Ambience includes sounds of worshipper “getting happy” and a guitar strumming.

The Usher6637B57-25-1942

A recitation of a paean to church ushers. (It sounds like “Dunbar” is credited with the poem in the introduction, but it is not a P.L. Dunbar composition.)

Discussion of coon songs6641B27-28-1942

A separate band on the disc, although not identified as one in AFS cards. Brief discussion of his coon-song repertoire and Lomax’s explanation that the discs aren’t being created for broadcast but for study.

Discussion of square dance tunes and calls6641B47-28-1942
Discussion of getting religion; sinful habits; playing music, gambling, and fights at dances.6642A47-28-1942

Robertson recounts his sinful behavior before “finding holiness,” and playing music with his band at the house at the Hill plantation. Discussion of differences between white and black dances; gambling, fights, and music at both. Trouble (“shooting spree”) he got into in St. Louis.

Talk on recording / machine set-up6642B3, 7-28-1942

Lomax and Williams discuss what she’s going to sing; he cautions against walking across the floor while the disc is being cut.

Interview about Don't Care Where You Bury My Body / Glory, Glory, Hallelujah6642B5, 7-28-1942, ,
Interview about her family singing, praying, and shouting6642B7, 7-28-1942

Ms. Williams discusses the various ways of getting happy and being moved by the spirit. She then addresses some younger visitors, telling them they can come back and perform song ring plays and reels for Lomax and Jones.

Interview about Watts hymns (lining hymns), education, and old songs6643A1, 7-28-1942

Ms. Williams discusses her family’s singing – both jubilee and Watts hymns – and her education and that of her children. She sings fragments of “Rock Daniel,” “Chariot’s Coming (Jubilee),” “Mockingbird.”

Interview about roustabouting, roustabout songs, and steamboating reminiscences6645B1, 7-28-1942

Includes snippets of several roustabouts’ songs and reminiscences of working on the river, a race between the Katy Adams and Jim Lee, and Friars Point in the steamboat era. “One of the finest towns for a colored person to make his living… if you can make your living here and you don’t bother nobody, and stay in your place, nobody gonna bother you.”

Talk/ambience6646A28-4-1942
Interview fragment/ambience6647B28-8-1942

Fragment of the preceding interview amidst ambience (including the pouring of a drink and two burps).

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Spiking down6648A18-8-1942,

Reenactment of spiking railroad ties with fragments of work song and reminiscences about various characters on the crew. Bacon keeps time by striking a tie.

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Shuffling/catching ties (#1)6648A2, 8-8-1942, , ,

Reenactment of lining/joining track with assorted work song verses. Bacon keeps time by striking a tie.

Shuffling/catching ties (#2)6648B, 8-8-1942, ,

Reenactment of lining/joining track with assorted work song verses (e.g., “I Got A Bulldog”; “Stewball”). Followed by discussion of the work song “Jumpin’ Julie/Judy.”

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Interview about the benefits of whiskey; maintaining at work; negotiating differences in foremen; Bacon's work history6649A, , 8-8-1942

Interviewed by Lewis Jones and Alan Lomax, with some comments by Elias Boykin. After discussing whiskey, bosses, Mexicans on a crew in Kansas, he explains his work history, first on a levee camp (at Wolf River Bottom, Tenn.) and later on the railroad. After getting laid off, he followed musician friends Joe and Buddy Davis into Memphis where he became “a little sheik on gamblin'” before he started following the harvest until 1929. “…a pint of whiskey, and go on home and drink it, and he stay by the fire, that’ll help him. When they fixed it so a man [who] went out in the exposure couldn’t get a whiskey that’s the worst thing they could do. That’s the life of a man, out, you see. When he come in and open the pores of his skin, see. He been out chill all day long, some time he wet, sometime he be in a place he can’t make a fire. Well, out in the exposure, and all that exposure and stuff goin’ in his skin—if he drink him a little whiskey—I don’t mean go and do like some folks, get on the streets and get sloppy drunk and things like that—which, why, you can’t take care of your job if you do that. But just drink a little whiskey, you know, along. That better for him, you see. He’ll live and last and be whole lots more super than a man who don’t never drink no whiskey. You catch a man who don’t never drink no whiskey and be out in the exposure, well, why, he’s always be hurting, or aching, or he can’t halfway pick up or somethin’ all the time. But if he drink him a little whiskey along, it help him. That gives him pep. Nerve.”

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Interview about Georgia Skin and gambling / Jack O' Diamonds6649B, , 8-8-1942, ,

Discussion of gambling and hustling cards interspersed with singing of “Jack O’ Diamonds” and assorted floating verses. Band begins with idle guitar picking. Band ends with a woman’s voice: “I wouldn’t let those boys sit on the bed.”

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

Lining/calling track6650A, 8-8-1942, ,

Reenactment of track-lining with assorted lining-song fragments (some vulgar). Bacon keeps time by striking a tie. Identified as “Lining or calling track” on AFS card, although Bacon and Boykin state at the disc’s end that this is called “calling track… nothin’ but call.”

Identified by Lomax as the Delta Tourist Camp (suggested by Chris Smith to be the Delta Tourist Courts • 1600 N. State St. in Clarksdale)

http://BEAUTIFUL SONGS/
Interview about whites' attitudes towards blacks6650B3, , 8-9-1942

“They’d rather have ignorant niggers; don’t know nothing.” Identified on AFS card as “Attitudes of white people toward Negroes.”

Interview about his musician father6651A2, 8-9-1942

Discussion of his geneaology – his father’s father was white; his mother was “full-blooded Indian. All the Negro that’s in me is on my mother’s side.” His father was a musician who “could play most any kind of music.”

Talk/ambience6651A38-9-1942
Interview about riverboats and roustabouts6652B3, 8-9-1942

Recollections of experiences on the river, including sailing from Memphis on the Kate Adams, and the treatment and techniques of roustabouts.

Interview about compulsory labor; freedom of movement; bad men; obeying white folks6653A, 8-9-1942

Discussion of compelling local African Americans (including children) to pick cotton and instances of resistance. Lomax asks about the baddest men in the area; Starks recalls various fights, whoopings, and Bud Doggett. “Mississippi was the best place on earth for a good nigger and the worst place for a bad nigger.” Says his grandmother, a “slavery-time woman,” always taught him to obedient to white folks.

Toast (Doodly Doo)6653B58-9-1942,

A vulgar toast Starks recalls learning in jail. Discussion follows about toasts.

Interview about Sheriff Greek Rice outlawing music6654A4, 8-9-1942

Identified on AFS card as “Mr. Greek Rice Outlaws Music.” Discussion of Sheriff Rice closing down the juke joints and barrelhouses.

Story of the rabbit and the buzzard6654B18-9-1942,

Identified on AFS card as “Buzzard Gets Rabbit In A Hollow Log.”

Interview about ghosts6654B2, 8-9-1942,
Guessing games6657B98-11-1942,
Fo' Day Blues/Interview6662A1, 7-28-1942, , ,

Interview about Clarksdale, dance halls, local piano players, and this tune takes place while Jones plays. (Despite Alan’s introduction of the date being “the 26th or 27th,” it was the 28th.)

Walking Billy/Interview6662B1, 7-28-1942, , ,

Interview about the “Walking Billy” and other dances and tunes; ragtime pianists; and the clientele of the joints where Jones would play takes place while he plays the tune.

Unidentified ragtime tune (#2)6662B2, 7-28-1942, , ,

Followed by interview about ragtime, blues, and assorted dances at the venues he played.

Interview about Clarksdale's red-light district, his jazz band and their tunes6663A1, 7-28-1942, ,

Discussion of closing of Clarksdale’s red-light district and scattering of musicians; his band and its personnel, and their tunes.

Interview about his jazz band and their tunes (continued)6663A2, 7-28-1942, ,

Discussion of his band, its personnel, their tunes, and renowed local musicians.

Interview about early blues6663A3, 7-28-1942,

Discussion of early blues, including Joe Turner Blues (which he recalls as the first blues he heard), Midnight Blues, and Corrina.

Corrina, Corrina/Careless Love/Interview6663B1, 7-28-1942, ,

Interspersed with discussion of early blues.

Interview about his father, influences, and the Carrier Line6670A2, 8-15-1942

Hemphill discusses his father, musical influences, and instruments and repertoire, then the story behind “The Carrier Line,” which he wrote in 1903, concerning lumber magnate John Carrier and his engineers Dave Cowart and Mr. Bailey, and the wreck on the road at Malone’s Trestle. The song was commissioned by Mr. Woolard, the section foreman.