Times Ain't Like They Used to Be - Early Rural & Popular Music
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Includes the only existing film of Jimmie Rodgers as well as rare footage of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys, Ted Weems & His Orchestra, Bascom Lamar Lunceford, Otto Gray's Cowboys, Jack Jackson's Jazz Band, and other early music pioneers!
Fans of early country and blues won't want to miss this compilation of newsreel footage from the '20s and '30s, capturing both the famous (Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills's Texas Playboys) and the anonymous. The 23 painstakingly compiled clips focus mostly on the musicians where they lived or played, at home, at barn dances, and on street corners. Some of the highlights include Georgia field hands, taking a break against a tree stump, harmonizing on "Mary Don't You Weep"; an anonymous spirited fiddler at a square dance playing "Waggoner"; and three newsreel clips of Jimmie Rodgers performing his songs, including "Waiting for a Train." The clips are presented, unfortunately, without any kind of introduction or context, but the individual snippets are still priceless slices of Americana. --Anne HurleySee all Editorial Reviews
- Features the only surviving film of Jimmie Rodgers, the father of country music: 3 songs from the only original 35mm print
Top customer reviews
[8:42] JIMMIE RODGERS - "The Singing Brakeman" (1929)
Superb dub from the only surviving 35mm print of Jimmie's sole screen appearance has him in work clothes serenading two ladies in front of a mock train station porch.
[2:31] WHISTLER'S JUG BAND - Foldin' Bed (5/25/30)
As pictured in lower right corner of cover art, three jug blowers perform with banjo and guitar.
[2:30] ELDER LIGHTFOOT SOLOMON MICHAUX and congregation - Happy Am I (2/18/35)
Michaux preaches for D.C. radio audience, then chorus sings, congregants clap and dance.
[3:51] BASCOM LAMAR LUNCEFORD BAND - Doggett's Gap (10/7/28)
From Asheville, N.C. Two banjos and lady guitarist back fiddlin' vocalist.
[:45] JULES ALLEN - Home on the Range (9/24/30)
Unrecognizable melody in this relaxed performance. Newsreel fragment was captured by a Raton, N.M. campfire.
[4:02] UNCLE JOHN SCRUGGS - Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane (11/8/28)
A definite highlight! Chickens, turkeys and a hound scatter when Uncle John, wife and grandchild exit their dilapidated Powhatan County VA. cabin. John plays an unusual looking clawhammer banjo while the baby smiles and his Missus serenely sits.
[5:46] JACK JOHNSON'S JAZZ BAND - Tiger Rag, 4 takes (12/21/29)
Possibly shot at Johnson's NYC Checkers Club. The chubby ex-boxer awkwardly conducts his hot jazz band (sousaphone's horn wrapped in string!) while he demonstrates footwork and boxing moves. It's kinda sad to see a great athlete now fallen.
[:44] Anonymous - Waggoner (9/24/30)
Fiddle and guitar play for square dancers. Taken from same newsreel as the Jules Allen clip.
[2:09] BELA LAM and family - Poor Little Benny (2/17/30)
Outdoor shoot on a frigid Greene County VA day. Mrs. Lam's bundled in a fur-collared longcoat as she and work-clothed Bela perform outside their rustic cabin.
[1:32] CUMBERLAND RIDGE RUNNERS - Goofus (1/7/35)
Spike Jones forerunners consist of fiddle, upight bass, mandolin and guitar. In this Chicago Shriner's Hospital film, string players exchange in mid-note or strum each others' instruments. Impressive and silly at the same time.
[3:57] EDDIE THOMAS and CARL SCOTT (11/21/28)
Richmond VA. street musicians captured on newsreel. Ukulele with kazooing washboard player.
[2:30] BOB WILLS' TEXAS PLAYBOYS - Fiddlin' Man (9/51)
Pristine excerpt of classic C&W swing artists was filmed in Hollywood. Twin fiddles, upright bass, steel guitar and drums.
[1:56] GEORGIA FIELD HANDS - Mary Don't You Weep (3/21/29)
Anonymous workers grouped around an Augusta, GA. stump take turns leading this spiritual.
[:57] BUN WRIGHT'S FIDDLE BAND - Soldier's Joy (1/26/33)
Excerpt has FDR requesting a number from his favorite Warm Springs, GA. musicians.
[1:20] TED WEEMS ORCHESTRA - Cheer Up (7/17/30)
The Weems band plays on Atlantic City's Steel Pier while Norma Schutt's bathing suited chorus girls high kick beach sand.
[13:42] OTTO GRAY'S OKLAHOMA COWBOYS - Sippin' Cider Thru a Straw, and others (1929)
Another highlight. Their complete comic vaudeville act, filmed in NYC. Rope tricks, a dancing couple and a shepherd dog intermix with many familiar songs played and sung by zany group.
[4:00] ESTUDIANTINA INVENCIBAL - El Fiel Enamoradao ("The Faithful Lover") (10/31/29)
Set at a Royal palm's base, this fascinatingly rhythmic Havana, Cuba group performs two song takes as a lone curious spectator edges ever closer.
[:45] Anonymous fiddle band - Miss McLeod's Reel (2/5/29)
Home movie feel to this fragment captured at Speculator, NY. Possibly a family event.
[:45] DUKE DAVIS BANJO BAND - Ida (12/30/29)
Duke's six-foot tall banjo sounds like a tuba!
[1:45] FRED LAMIRE and his TWINS - Mighty Lak' a Rose/Dream Kisses (3/25/28)
Fred plucks another giant floor banjo while his sons strum a lively duet.
[:59] Fiddler's Convention - Turkey in the Straw (4/3/32)
Star, N.C. musicians play for newsreel as father and child flat-foot dance on a loose plank floor.
[1:29] FRANK WESTPHAL'S ORCHESTRA - Sing You Sinners (4/26/30)
Newsreel of Chicago radio show has Sophie Tucker's ex leading band in two takes that contrast jazz and classical styles.
TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 69 minutes
The films themselves are little treasures.