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Deep River of Song: Alabama: From Lullabies to Blues

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 13, 2001)
  • Original Release Date: 1933
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rounder Select
  • ASIN: B00005J71R
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,376 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
this is probably the finest in the Deep River of Song series because it features so much of Vera Hall's singing. she is a truly wondeful, amazing, sublimely talented singer. as beloved as she is she herself has not had a cd released in her name, this cd being the easiest way to get a large amount of her songs. many of these songs are lullabies and secular songs.
another reviewer mentioned the Smithsonian Folkways cd Negro Folk Music Of Alabama - volume 5 - spirituals. which is 16 songs by Dock Reed [Vera's cousin] + Vera Ward Hall. the songs are all religious in nature and might be more aptly described as Dock Reed songs with 2nd vocals by Vera Hall. her singing is not exactly in the forefront of tehse recordings except on the few songs she sings solo. this cd is not in commercial release so to get it you must go to the Smithsonian Folkways website, click on the "a world of sound" catalogue, then enter Vera Ward Hall in the 'artists search' box. the Smithsonian has a library of some 3,000 recordings [the 'world of sound'] and will burn you a custom cd or cassette of anything in this vast catalogue.
there are also other Vera hall songs scattered among Rounder's cds-
-Afro-American Spirituals, Work Songs + Ballads
contains 3 songs of hers, 1 trouble so hard 2 choose your
seat and set down 3 handwriting on the wall. 'trouble so
hard' is the song Moby sampled on his song 'natural blues'
on his album 'play', if you've only heard the short sample
in that song you'll be amazed by the full song
-Alan Lomax's Southern Journey volume1. contains 1 song by
her "mama's gonna buy"
-various artists 'Every Tone A Testimony' features Vera +
Dock Reed's 'free at last'.
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I have heard some of these recordings, particularly "Knock John Booker (To The Low Ground)" for more than 40 years. This is the real thing, the core of Black traditional music. Too much is focused on the blues which sprang out of this kind of music and other traditions at the turn of the century. I came to this music in part out of my own leading participation in the current revival of Black string band music, especially fiddling and banjo.

Now even if there is no real string band here, no fiddling, and no banjo player, the real music and ethos of Black music, the basic rhythms of the church and play music that came from West Africa, as well as the more linear progressions of the blues that point to the area between the coast and the Sahara, are all here in their glory.

Much is said about the great Vera Hall. It is a shame that no one has put out an all-Vera Hall CD so one does not have to collect a dozen different Lomax collection reissues on various labels to have a CD's worth of her singing.

What seems important here is the versions of Black or general folk songs and blues we are used to hearing from white folk singers and white traditional sources like "Railroad Bill," "Hush Little Baby," and "Ain't Gonna Rain No More."

Also the music captured here as children's game songs, or children's games remembered by older people, show a side of blakc music reaching back to the earliest of times. "Knock Johnnie Booker" such a song, as I said, has echoed in my mind since I first heard it on a Library of Congress sampler back in the early 1960s. The tune isn't about the funny character Johnny Booker, many white singers sing about following a minstrel version of the song.
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Format: Audio CD
1 Vera Ward Hall – Another Man Done Gone 1:21
2 Vera Ward Hall – Railroad Bill 1:15
3 Vera Ward Hall – Poor Lazarus 3:14
4 Blind Jesse Harris – Been In The Jailhouse (Sun Gonna Shine In My Door Someday) 2:17
5 Vera Ward Hall – I Been Drinking 2:41
6 Blind Jesse Harris – Honey, Take A Whiff On Me 3:07
7 Richard Amerson – Train On A Hill (Train Imitation) 4:41
8 Rich Brown – Alabama Bound 1:43
9 Vera Ward Hall, Dock Reed and Henry Reed – Moaning (I'll Soon Be Gone) 1:28
10 Dock Reed and Vera Ward Hall – Job, Job 2:43
11 Dock Reed and Vera Ward Hall – Didn't That Hammer Ring? (I Can't Hold Out No Longer) 2:51
12 Dock Reed, Henry Reed and Vera Ward Hall – What Is The Soul Of Man? 1:19
13 Mary McDonald – Knock John Booker (To The Low Ground) 1:37
14 Joe McDonald and Mary McDonald – Wake, Sally Baker 2:12
15 Harriet McClintock – Go To Sleep (Little Baby) 2:30
16 Annie Brewer – Hush, Little Baby 0:40
17 Vera Ward Hall – Come Up Horsey 2:04
18 Mary McDonald – Little Bitty Man 1:05
19 Mary McDonald – Titty, Give Me Some Titty 1:01
20 Eight Unidentified Girls – Hopali 1:43
21 Eight Unidentified Girls – Ain't Gonna Rain No More 0:32
22 Unidentified Children – Jack, Can I Ride 1:57
23 Joe Fred Williams and Booker T. Williams – Billy Goat Latin 1:36
24 Richard Amerson – Hog Hunt 2:22
25 Slim Tartt Group – I'm Chopping Cotton 1:21
26 Harriet McClintock – Gin The Cotton 0:49
27 Vera Ward Hall – Boll Weevil Blues 1:15
28 Tom Bell – Worried Blues 2:41
29 Richard Amerson – Steamboat Days 4:59
30 Thomas Langston, Judge Broadus, Albert Nicholson and Joe Millhouse – Carrie, Carrie 1:20
31 Charley Campbell – Eighteen Hundred And Ninety-One (Ain't Working Song) 1:34
32 Willie Carter, Albert Nicholson , Allen Gordon and David Alexander – Captain, I'm Getting Tired 1:29
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