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Audio CD, October 20, 2010
This CD combines acoustic blues with country and old-time music.
"Ain't That Skippin' and Flyin' " and "Low-Down Hangin' Around" originate with Chattanooga's Allen Brothers, Lee and Austin, who recorded 89 songs between 1926 and 1934.
"Black Dust Blues" is a Ma Rainey song that speaks of a hoodoo curio sometimes referred to as "goofer dust," used to trouble, harm, or kill an enemy or rival.
"Buffalo Boy" is an old-time tune about marriage plans gone awry. I found this in Alan Lomax's Folk Songs of North America. It's also known as "The Mountaineer's Courtship" and was recorded in 1927 by Mr. & Mrs. Ernest V. Stoneman.
"Cool Drink of Water Blues" originates with a 1928 recording by delta blues artist Tommy Johnson. (I have not tried to imitate his fine falsetto.) Tommy Johnson lays claim to the myth, often ascribed to bluesman Robert Johnson, of having made a deal with the devil to learn to play the blues.
"Bully of the Town" exists in many versions, including as a fiddle tune. It was played by Leadbelly, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, and the Memphis Jug Band, among others. It dates back to an incident in New Orleans in the 1890s, put into verse by sports journalist Charles E. Trevathan.
"Country Woman Blues" originates with the singing of Will Batt, and is related to the 1928 song "Bedtime Blues" by his sometime-partner Frank Stokes. The theme of "hoodoo and hokum" also appears here, in the reference to "put something in your mattress/made you wish you was dead."
"Prairie Music" is an original song about the role of music in the migratory life.
"Rocking the Cradle" is an old song about a man whose socializing wife leaves him rocking the cradle. This song, also known as "The Old Man's Lament," is probably Celtic in origin.
Ain't That Skippin' and Flyin' (Allen arr. Rathje) 2:29
Black Dust Blues (Rainey arr. Rathje) 3:13
Buffalo Boy (trad. arr. Rathje) 2:35
Cool Drink of Water Blues (Johnson arr. Rathje) 4:35
Bully of the Town (Trevathan arr. Rathje) 4:12
Country Woman Blues (Batt arr. Rathje) 3:52
Low-Down Hangin' Around (Allen arr. Rathje) 2:00
Prairie Music (Rathje) 5:26
Rocking the Cradle (trad. arr. Rathje) 2:58
total running time, 31:22
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