Southern Historical Association

A Region in Harmony: Southern Music and the Sound Track of Freedom Author(s): Charles Joyner Source: The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 72, No. 1 (Feb., 2006), pp. 3-38 Published by: Southern Historical Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27648985 . Accessed: 02/07/2013 12:35
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A Region inHarmony: Southern Music and the Sound Track of Freedom
By Charles Joyner

the lifeguards had already taken down the umbrellas and stacked the beach chairs. The waves kept up a persistent rhythm, undulating beneath the seductive obligato of a sea breeze. I stood by the jukebox at theMyrtle Beach Pavilion, patting my foot to the hypnotic beat, called observing a provocative ballet of poise and sublimated passion "the shag," with the darkening Atlantic in the background. It was my fourteenth summer. Onlookers pushed in so tightly around the dance floor there was barely room for the shaggers. Good shaggers kept a calm equilibrium, lethargic but suggestive. I of the dance floor and their beautiful stared at the bronzed Adonises their with female partners, long legs and short shorts. I envied their cool graceful steps, moving with elegance and abandon. Visitors called the salacious rhythms and double entendres they heard at the Pavilion on the jukeboxes back "beach music," because they did not find it home. But legendary shaggers such as Chicken Hicks knew its source. "Beach music," he said, "was race music." Big George Lineberry, who beach had a job installing records on jukeboxes, had persuaded install race records on jukeboxes at both black and white his boss locations.1

XT HAD BEEN A SCORCHING DAY ON THE SOUTH CAROLINA COAST IN THE summer of 1949, and it promised to be a steamy evening. Out on the

to

1 Chicken Hicks, quoted inFrank Beacham, "Charlie's Place," Oxford American, November of the South (Beaufort, S.C, December 2000, p. 55; Bo Bryan, Shag: The Legendary Dance a Generation 1995), 4, 35. See also Harry Turner, This Magic Moment: Musical Reflections of

Mr. Joyner is Franklin A. and Iola B. Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Center for Cultural and Southern History and director of theWaccamaw Historical Studies at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina. He delivered this paper on Thursday, November 3, 2005, as the presidential
address ciation at the seventy-first in Atlanta, Georgia. annual meeting of the Southern Historical Asso

The Journal of Southern History Volume LXXII, No. 1,February 2006

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4 From

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN the Pavilion itwas

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the African American

to Leon Williams, "The colored nothing to do with color." According girls danced with white boys, and the colored boys danced with white girls .... We hugged each other's neck. If you had been at the beach in that period of time, you'd have thought segregation didn't exist. You know, if the masses of people could get along as we did, we'd never have any race problems." If the shag was not born in Charlie's Place, it certainly moved in at an early age.2 But the shaggers' deliberate flouting of Jim Crow met with heavy handed reaction from some elements of white racial resistance. In the summer of 1950, a group of Ku Klux Klansmen paid a visit to Charlie Fitzgerald. His friend Henry Hemingway recalled, "They told him they didn't want the white kids there .... Charlie told listening to music them to go to hell." On August 26 about Klansmen formed a sixty motorcade down Ocean Boulevard past the Beach Pavilion. The Myrtle shaggers would never forget what they saw that night. "They had on white sheets and cone hats," Harry Driver said. "I get cold chills right now just thinking about it." Betty Kirkpatrick agreed: "It was themost ever I have seen."3 frightening thing It was almost midnight when the Klansmen made their way down Carver Street to find a forewarned Charlie Fitzgerald standing outside his club with a pearl-handled pistol in each hand. The Klansmen over powered him and locked him in a car trunk, bombarding his business while customers dived under tables and tried to get away. Then the music stopped abruptly as the jukebox was riddled by Klan bullets. An eerie quiet followed, as Klansmen and customers alike grasped that the
(Atlanta, 1994), 112-14. This essay is drawn from a larger study, forthcoming from theUniversity of Virginia Press. 2 Beacham, "Charlie's Place," 50-62 (quotation from Driver on p. 62; Kirkpatrick quotation on p. 57; Williams quotation on p. 54). See also Beacham, Whitewash: A Southern Journey Through Music, Mayhem, and Murder (New York, 2002), 34-35. 3 Hemingway, Driver, and Kirkpatrick quoted in Beacham, "Charlie's Place," 58.

because the blacks and whites had nothing in our minds thatmade us think we were different.We loved music, we loved dancing, and that was the common bond between us." Betty Kirkpatrick, another star shagger, concurred. "It was themusic and dance that drove us. It had

black entrepreneur named Charlie Fitzgerald; and many of the white shaggers gathered there late in the evenings, scorning the admonitions against interracial "mixing" in the tightly segregated South of the 1940s. As Harry Driver remembered it, "We were totally integrated

in about half a mile to "Charlie's Place," a as to It belonged "the Hill." section known

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Klansmen

with a whip, pummeled him bloody and nearly unconscious, mutilated his ears with a pocketknife, and left him lying by the side of the road.4 The shag neither began nor ended inMyrtle Beach. But inMyrtle Beach

area's most profound symbol of shared traditions had been silenced. The sped away to a lonely road, where they lashed Fitzgerald

place and in that time that the shag?their particular cultural fusion of its first golden age. But as European and African traditions?enjoyed on I stood by the jukebox at the Pavilion those summer evenings of 1949, waves

in the late 1940s and early 1950s, an incredibly talented group of young people found a creative environment where they cultivated their own realm of musical and kinetic self-expression. It was at that

blasting from the jukebox, still sense the throb of the rhythm through my body. I can still feel the sultry heat and hu midity of the crowded area around the dance floor, and I can still feel hear the joyful music the soft breeze wafting times I can feel again

looking past the shaggers to the white crests of the breaking on the dark waters of the Atlantic, no one foresaw next year's bloody Ku Klux Klan assault on this kind of music and the people who loved it. To this day, I can close my eyes and still see the great shaggers, still

in from the beach cooling my skin. And some the same cold shiver that ran down my spine attack on Charlie's Place. But as I when I first learned of the Klan's stood there on that steamy evening in 1949, watching those shaggers, I had no idea thatwhat I was seeing and hearing was the beginning of
a revolution.

in what she called "[t]he way in which the chorus strikes in with the burden, between each phrase of themelody chanted by a single voice." It was the same up and down the coast. The singers stretched out the words; and, among those who really listened, their haunting beauty
4 Beacham, Whitewash, 43-49; Beacham, "Charlie's Place," 59-60. The reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan on the eastern border of North and South Carolina in the late 1940s and early 1950s W. Horace Carter, Virus of Fear (Tabor City, N.C, is treated in 1991). He covers their attack on in those Fitzgerald and his club on pp. 37-43. Carter, editor of the weekly Tabor City Tribune years, won the Pulitzer prize for his courageous editorial opposition to the Klan.

like most European A century-and-a-quarter earlier, Fanny Kemble, and Georgia Lowcountry, travelers who visited the South Carolina heard southern music for the first time in the form of African American to Pierce Butler, a Georgia actress married spirituals. An English "wild" and striking. She believed found themelodies planter, Kemble the slaves had a natural gift of music, and she was especially interested

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songs had some reference to freedom." During the war the slaves, he said, "gradually threw off the mask, and were not afraid to let it be known that the 'freedom' in their songs meant freedom of the body in
this world."5

seemed to emanate from some sacred space where, as the Swedish visitor Fredrika Bremer put it, "they sang with all their souls and with all their bodies in unison." Booker T. Washington, who listened to such spirituals as a child, recalled that "most of the verses of the plantation

with him. When House

Robert sat down to play, Charlie Patton and Son and Willie Brown couldn't believe it. "When he finished," Son said, "all our mouths were standing open." He had stolen their styles and synthesized them into something hauntingly beautiful. But there was also something more?something blood-chilling. He had added his own agitated treble runs, his own wicked, rhythmically insistent phrasing, and his own demonic drones on the bass strings, reiterated incessantly to embellish the despairing passion and yearning melan falsetto vocals. The audience was stunned, choly of his moaning shocked. His sudden outrageous virtuosity was unbelievable. How could he learn so much in such a short time? Soon rumors began to spread that he had gone to the crossroads
to Satan.6

said, "Look who's coming in the door." Willie laughed. "Yeah, Little Robert." Little Robert was a pest. He wanted to play like them; but Son had to tell him, "You can't play nothing." About six months ago Little Robert ran away from home. But now he was back, and he had a guitar

Delta, freedom still seemed far Fifty years later in theMississippi off. Charlie and his friends Son and Willie were musicians, and they played for the Saturday night plantation balls. One Saturday night Son

at midnight

and sold his soul

5 Frances Anne Kemble, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839, edited by John A. Scott (1863; reprint,Athens, Ga., 1984), 141-42, 259-60 (first two quotations on p. 259); Fredrika Bremer, The Homes of theNew World, trans. Mary Howitt (2 vols.; New York, 1853), I, 393 (third quotation); William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison, Slave Songs of the United States (1867; reprint,New York, 1951), especially pp. 19-20; Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery (1901; reprint, New York, 1986), 19-20 (fourth and fifth quotations). 6 Son House, "T Can Make My Own Songs'" [edited version of an interview with Julius Lester], Sing Out! 15 (July 1965), A\-\2. Young McKinley Morganfield, soon to become famous as Muddy Waters, came upon a Delta throngwatching a musician. Told that the singer was Robert Johnson, "I stopped and peeked over," he said, "and then I leftbecause he was a dangerous man." in James C. Cobb, The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Quoted Roots of Regional Identity (New York, 1992), 289. On Johnson's blasphemies, Barry Lee Pearson and Bill McCulloch note that "his drunken rants at God could be vitriolic." See their Robert Johnson: Lost and Found (Urbana, 2003), 43. See also Steve West, "The Devil Visits theDelta: A View of His Role in the Blues," Mississippi Folklore Register, 19 (Spring 1985), 15-16.1 must

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SOUND New Orleans of musical

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traditions. Into its harbor flowed

at the dawn of the twentieth century was a crossroads the Father ofWaters, the

whose mighty stream had already converged with a dozen Mississippi, other rivers and their tributaries bringing the waters of half a continent to lap against the levees of New Orleans. And into its streets flowed

black and white migrants from the countryside who encountered for the first time the city's cosmopolitan mix of European and African musical of the blending of the great slave spirituals with the instruments of the New Orleans brass band tradition, the syncopated treble lines over steady bass rhythms of ragtime, the distinctive musical structures and unique tone colors of the blues, musicians like King Joe traditions. Out

New

Oliver had created a new form of southern music. It was 1907, and Edmond Souchon was ten. Often on Friday nights he and his friends, disguised as newsboys, would slip into Storyville, Orleans's legalized red-light district, to sit in the shadows and listen to the sublime sounds of King Joe Oliver playing jazz. One night, when his idol came outside the club to take a break, he got up

don't want you to get into trouble. Keep out of sight and go home at a decent time.'" Later, as a student at Tulane University, Souchon and friends rarely missed a Saturday night hearing King his jazz-loving to recall those later he marveled than four decades Oliver play. More

enough courage to approach him. "Mr. Oliver," he said, "here is the paper you ordered." King Oliver, he would later recall, "looked at us and said, 'You know damn well, white boy, I never ordered no paper.'" But he continued, in a friendly tone, "T been k ^ owin' you kids were hanging around here to listen tomy music. Do you think I'm going to chase you away for that? This is a rough neighborhood, kids, and I

times. "A bunch of white boys in the deep South, second lining with utter rapture to a Negro band! In those narrow times, such a thing was "Doc" Souchon went on to become a distin unheard of!" Edmond guished surgeon, but almost every Saturday night for the rest of his life, he gathered his friends around him for a jam session.7

clarify that I am not proposing here thatRobert Johnson actually sold his soul to the devil, or even believed that he had, only that his actions helped the legend spread. Johnson, Patton, and House may be heard on the boxed set Robert Johnson, The Complete Recordings (Sony 46222); Charlie theBlues (Catfish UK Patton, King of theDelta Blues (Yazoo 2001); and Son House, Preachin' 112). 7 Edmond Souchon, "King Oliver: A Very Personal Memoir," Jazz Review, 3 (May 1960), 8-10. It was on one such Saturday night in 1968, while jamming happily on a chorus of "Bill Bailey," that "Doc" Souchon suffered a sudden and fatal heart attack. [George H. Buck], liner notes toDoc Souchon and His Milneburg Boys (GHB Records LP GHB 131). For background on how the city's lucrative erotic commerce drew customers from across the region to Story ville at

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8 He was

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not the only New Orleans youngster who had fallen in love cornet. Louis jazz from hearing it played on King Oliver's born into Brass recalled that the Onward Armstrong, grueling poverty, Band "had some funeral marches thatwould just touch your heart, they were so beautiful." As theymarched back from the cemetery after the with body was interred, King Oliver "reached into the high register beating out those high notes in very fine fashion," he remembered. "And we followed them All theirDestination." Oliver's

All

even after 1902, when, as Johnny St. Cyr, another of the city's jazz musicians, put it, "they began that segregation outfit." And a few light-skinned Creoles worked both sides of the color line. Much more common were informal jam sessions in which artists of both races played together in a context of mutual admiration. Often they were impromptu, as when Armstrong and Jack firstmet as Teagarden New Orleans, I'm an ofay. We got the same soul. Let's blow." The white Texan and the black Louisianan became lifelong friends.9 Ralph Peer's recording of Fiddlin' John Carson in Atlanta in 1923 is generally considered the first country music recording, even though
the turnof the twentieth century, see Alecia P. Long, The Great Southern Babylon: Sex, Race, and inNew Orleans, 1865-1920 Respectability (Baton Rouge, 2004). 8 Armstrong, quoted inNat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff, eds., Hear Me Talkin to Ya: The Story It (New York, 1966), 14 (first quotation); Armstrong, of Jazz as Told by theMen Who Made "Scanning the History of Jazz," Jazz Review, 3 (July 1960), 8 (second and third quotations); G?nther Schuller, Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical Development (New York, 1968), 63-88 (esp. pp. 70-72, 77-86), 186-88, and 324-26. The sound of King Oliver may be heard on the two-CD set King Oliver: Great Original Performances, 1923-1930 (CDS RP2CD 607-1). 9 Johnny St. Cyr, quoted inAlan Lomax, Mister Jelly Roll: The Fortunes of Jelly Roll Morton, New Orleans Creole and "Inventor of Jazz" (2nd ed., Berkeley, 1973), 103; Jack Teagarden, quoted by Louis Armstrong in Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong, a program in theAmerican Masters 2005. See also series, Public Broadcasting Foster and Tom 6, System, July Pops Stoddard, Pops Foster: The Autobiography of a New Orleans Jazzman (Berkeley, 1971), 65; Steve Brown, interviewed by Richard B. Allen, April 22, 1958, William Ransom Hogan Archive of New Orleans Jazz (Special Collections Division, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University), reel four; Papa Jack Laine, interviewed by Richard B. Allen, New Orleans, April 25, 1964, reel one, January 27, 1959, reel two, Hogan Jazz Archive. An extraordinary document of such interracial creativity is the CD of the rare 1923 recordings, New Orleans Rhythm Kings and (Milestone MCD Jelly Roll Morton 47020-2). teenagers on a New Orleans levee. Teagarden said, "You're a spade.

almost before it registered. He fashioned his im into dark, rich, and complex fragments of memory, float provisations on the breeze, then drifting away like smoke. To like echoes ing by Louis young Armstrong, the Oliver cornet was majesty personified.8 were There occasional mixed black and white jazz bands in early

beautiful, burnished seemed to disappear

the way back to the New Orleans side and to cornet was lyrical and melancholy, with a tone and a world-weary, laid-back attack that

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SOUND he disdained

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and Jimmie other, he recorded both the Carter Family of Virginia There was an engaging hide-and-seek among Rodgers of Mississippi. the Carter family as theywrapped their three voices around one another like talking on the porch on a warm summer evening. Sara sang lead in her soft but clear soprano, lifting her listeners to toe-tapping delight, or moving them to tears with her fragile, aching melancholy. Her

Carson's disc as "plu-perfect [sic] awful." But his re of rural musicians in the August 1927 Bristol, Virginia, ses cordings sions marked a major turning point in the history of country music? away from the older Anglo-Celtic string band styles toward newer and black-influenced styles repertoires. Within four days of one an

cousin Maybelle seventeen-year-old supplied a gentle alto harmony, and A. P. spattered economical melodic phrases shyly here and there, as though the moon slipped behind a cloud and then reappeared. Ac daughter June, "Uncle A. P. had a habit of cording to Maybelle's singing just when he wanted to.Mother and Aunt Sara did most of the songs, but if he felt that it needed a little something extra, he would sing just as far as he felt he was needed, and then he would quit. I used to think he

asked whether she should bring her guitar. They drove the Maybelle treacherous twenty-five miles across themountain to Bristol, where the state line served as Main Street. There Ralph Peer, Tennessee-Virginia an influential producer and talent scout for theVictor Talking Machine Company, had set up a recording studio. The trio recorded four songs recorded two more the fol that very evening, and Sara and Maybelle toMaces home returned the trio before Springs.10 lowing morning,

sang only where he knew the words." The sound of intricate and often-copied guitar style was as immediately Maybelle's as their vocals. Their innovative blend of traditional el recognizable ements established a fresh sound in southern music. They launched their professional career in August 1927, when, as Sara described it, come was out an in the Bristol, Va.-Tenn., paper for all talent ad "there to come to Bristol to try out on records. So we three decided to go."

10 Source and Symbol," Journal of Ralph Peer, quoted in Archie Green, "Hillbilly Music: American Folklore, 78 (July-September 1965), 208-9 (firstquotation); June Carter, "I Remember the Carter Family," Sing Out! 17 (June-July 1967), 10 (second quotation); Sara Carter to John Studies in Recorded 27, 1955, quoted in Archie Green, Only a Miner: Edwards, December Coal-Mining Songs (Urbana, 1972), 395 (third quotation); Charles Wolfe, "'Pre-War Melodies and Old Mountaineer Songs,'" liner notes to the two-CD set The Bristol Sessions (Country Music Charles Wolfe, "Early Country: Treasures Untold," inRobert Foundation Records, CMF-011-D); (New York, 2001), Santelli, Holly George-Warren, and Jim Brown, eds., American Roots Music 20-23. For Peer's role in the creation of the commercial country music industry, see also Bill C. Malone, Country Music, U.S.A. (1968; rev. ed., Austin, 1985), 64-66; Charles K. Wolfe, "Ralph Peer atWork: The Victor 1927 Bristol Sessions," Old Time Music, 5 (1972), 10-15; Wolfe and

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10

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

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neighbors with the Swiss yodels (or of entertainers. As a youth popular vaudeville "tyrolean warbling") on Rodgers picked up the guitar and the blues from black musicians Meridian's Tenth Street. His vocal range was barely an octave, and his timing was unpredictable, and the hollow resonance of his edgy, up bar country blues of his black sometimes sounded like blowing across the neck of an tightmonotone Coca-Cola bottle. But winding and sliding around his lyrics like empty the great Mississippi River, he had an uncanny ability to convey lone

Jimmie Rodgers was a young railroad worker whose dark, lonely eyes contrasted with his bright, confident smile. Peer recognized that Rodgers "had his own personal and peculiar style," fusing the twelve

liness, ecstasy, and fear. His "blue yodels" were the earliest publicly acclaimed blending of black and white idioms in southern vernacular music. And in 1930 he featured Louis Armstrong and his pianist wife Lil on his celebrated recording of "Blue Yodel No. 9."11 When A. P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter sang their repertoire of old British and American ballads, African American blues, sacred songs from both black and white Tin Pan Alley, Jimmie Rodgers

Blues."

tradition, and sentimental parlor songs from evoked the values of home and fireside. When they his sang songs of that lonesome train-whistle call to and the Exodus. Four decades later Dolly ramble, he evoked Moses Parton would enjoy a breakthrough performance of his "Mule Skinner As

she strutted triumphantly through this sacred relic of the its "authenticity," but by country canon, she not only appropriated transforming its gender stereotypes she also gave it a new authenticity of her own. Together Rodgers and the Carters gave country music its

Ted Olson, The Bristol Sessions: Writings about theBig Bang of Country Music (Jefferson,N.C., 2005); Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound (Urbana, the Folk: Public Memory and American Roots 1984), 190-93; Benjamin Filene, Romancing Music (Chapel Hill, 2000), 34-39; and Ronald D. Cohen, Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940-1970 (Amherst, Mass., 2002), 15-16. The Carter Family sound may be heard on In the Shadow of Clinch Mountain, a CD set on the Bear Family label their entire recorded output (BCD 15865). comprising 11 Ralph Peer, inMeridian Star, May 26, 1953, p. 24, quoted in Nolan Porterfield, Jimmie Rodgers: The Life and Times of America's Blue Yodeler (Urbana, 1979), 109. See also ibid., 105-14, 258-60; Malone, Country Music, U.SA., 65, 77-91, 108; Green, Only a Miner, 395; John Greenway, "Jimmie Rodgers?A Wolfe, "Early Country," 23-24; Folksong Catalyst," Journal ofAmerican Folklore, 70 (July-September 1957), 231-34; Mike Paris and Chris Comber, Jimmie theKid: The Life of Jimmie Rodgers (New York, 1977); Max Jones and John Chilton, Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story, 1900-1971 (Boston, 1971), 235-36; and David Evans, "Black Musicians Remember Jimmie Rodgers," Old Time Music, 1 (1972-1973), 12-15. Peer did not record Rodgers singing either blues or blue yodels during the Bristol sessions. See the two-CD set The Bristol Sessions (Country Music Foundation Records, CMF-011-D). Jimmie Rodgers's entire recorded output may be heard on the six-CD collection The Singing Brakeman (Bear 15540). Family BCD

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two great themes, ushering in a musical form that would produce a series of family groups from the Delmore Brothers to the Mandrell as ramblin' and such Hank Sisters, Williams, boys Johnny Cash, and come to harbor such Willie. and music would also Country Waylon as norte?o musical varieties and Cajun regional-ethnic conjunto.12

By the age of twenty-two, when Louis Armstrong joined Oliver's band, Armstrong's range, his speed, and his creativity were like noth ing jazz had known before. In his elegant and fearless solos, the and reappeared like facets of a dark jewel, each melody disappeared sweeping away the silence before it in a kind of controlled ecstasy. He thrust the field of jazz into the era of the star soloist, and his influence extended beyond cornet and trumpet players to singers It was an empowering and other instrumentalists. creativity that phrase amounted

her to the musical component of the Harlem Renaissance, Bubber South Carolina-born of the the advent Aiken, Miley, alding whose grating, bellicose trumpet growls and tortured, tragic wa-was created a sound so personal and so moving that it forever transformed the Duke Ellington band from one that played the notes that came on the page and the sounds that came with the horns into one that sounded black

bewildering harmonic progressions rewrote the language of jazz in the 1940s in a revolution that came to be called bebop; and of theHamlet, John Coltrane, who dug deeply into his cultural North Carolina-born heritage and tried to play it all on his tenor saxophone in his famous sheets of sound, his frantic flurries of notes played with a scorching intensity as relentless as kudzu.13

like no other, one that played what Ellington came to call "pride in culture"; of the Cheraw, South Carolina-born Dizzy Gillespie, whose upper-octave trumpet choruses played at blistering speeds over

12 Dolly Parton's recording of "Mule Skinner Blues" is discussed in Jocelyn Neal, "Why It Career: Dolly Parton and Artistic Independence," paper Took a Man's Song toMake aWoman's of American Historians annual meeting, Memphis, Tenn., April 6, presented at Organization 2003. 13 inWhite America Schuller, Early Jazz, 89-133; LeRoi Jones, Blues People: Negro Music in Martin T. (New York, 1963), 158-59; Larry Gushee, "King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band," Williams, ed., The Art of Jazz: Essays on theNature and Development of Jazz (New York, 1959), 45-4-6. Louis Armstrong's recordings with King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band may be heard on the CD Louis Armstrong and King Oliver (Heritage Jazz 513282W). His Hot Fives and his Hot Sevens, his most important recording groups of the twenties, may be heard on Louis Armstrong, Hot Fives and Sevens, Vol. 1 (JSP 312 CD), Vol. 2 (JSP 313 CD), and Vol. 3 (JSP 314 CD). On Miley, see Schuller, Early Jazz, 320-32; Stanley Dance, The World ofDuke Ellington (New York, 1970), 58, 59, 65-66, 85, 86, 105-6, 156-58; and Ellington, quoted in Nat Hentoff, Listen to the Stories: Nat Hentoff on Jazz and Country Music (1995; reprint,Cambridge, Mass., 2000), 11. on on "East St. Louis Toodle-o," Miley may be heard to excellent advantage, especially the three-CD set Early Ellington (Verve 640); Duke Ellington 1924-1927 (Classics 39); Duke

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12 At about

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the same time, in a North Carolina mill village, a young took a seat on his front porch one evening after his shift the in mill and began to play his guitar. "There were mighty few radios them days," he would recall, "and the whole world loved country music." Soon his front yard in themill village was filled with smiling textile worker neighbors, enjoying his free concert. "I'll have to admit," he said, "I too was getting a kick out of it." He had worked out a highly individual style of playing, using a pick on his thumb and on each finger of his right hand. Dorsey Dixon was born in 1897 in a mill village in

South Carolina, and went to work in themill when he was schooling ended in the fourth grade. When he was twenty to work in the to East Rockingham, North Carolina, he moved seven, He Mill. Howard Aleo and his younger brother played duets together, mostly in homes in themill village, "because we enjoyed trying tomake Darlington, twelve. His people happy and forget their cares and troubles for an hour or so." Influenced by Jimmie Tarlton, a virtuoso slide guitarist who picked the guitar rather than strummed it,Dorsey set out to learn how to pick.14 After months of practice, Dorsey Dixon was trying out his new style on his neighbors. In the meantime Howard had also been practicing

(Classics 542); Duke Ellington 1928 (Classics 550); and Duke Ellington Ellington 1927-28 see Alyn Shipton, Groovin High: The Life of Dizzy 1928-1929 (Classics 559). On Gillespie, (New York, 1999), 11-16, 87-90; Shapiro and Hentoff, eds., Hear Me Talkin' to Ya, Gillespie 335-50; Dizzy Gillespie with Al Fraser, Dizzy: To Be or Not toBop: The Autobiography ofDizzy Ira Gitler, The Masters of Bebop: Gillespie (1979; reprint,New York, 1982), 140-41, 278-302; A Listener's Guide (rev. ed., New York, 2001), 48-109; Gene Lees, Waiting for Dizzy: Fourteen and Hentoff, Listen to the Stories, Jazz Portraits (1991; reprint, New York, 2000), 220-51; 79-88. The earliest bebop performances atMinton's Playhouse inHarlem were not professionally recorded, but a few performances from those creative sessions of Gillespie with the North Carolina-born Thelonious Monk and the Texas-born Charlie Christian are included on the CD The Immortal Charlie Christian (Laserlight 17032). On Coltrane see David Ake, Jazz Cultures (Ann Arbor, 1999), (Berkeley, 2002), 112^15; Lewis Porter, John Coltrane: His Life and Music 111, 132-34, 206-30, 232^-9; Eric Nisenson, Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest (New York, 1993), 43-59; Bill Cole, John Coltrane (New York, 1976), 59-60, 128-29, 181-82; J.C. the Trane: The Music and Mystique of John Coltrane (New York, 1976); and Thomas, Chasin' Cuthbert O. Simkins, John Coltrane (New York, 1975). Coltrane may be heard on the sixteen-CD boxed set John Coltrane: The Prestige Recordings (Prestige 4405); and the six-CD boxed set The Columbia Recordings: Miles Davis and John Coltrane (Sony 65833). Complete 14 Dorsey Dixon, handwritten autobiography, n.d. [1960s], p. 4 (first-fourth quotations), p. 1 (fifth quotation), in series 4, Archie Green Papers #20002 (Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Dorsey Dixon typewritten autobiography, May 30, 1948, p. 1, ibid.; Archie Green, "Dorsey Dixon: Minstrel of theMills," Sing Out! 16 Mill (HMG 2502); (June-July 1966), 10-12; Green's liner notes toDorsey Dixon, Babies in the Mike Paris, "The Dixons of South Carolina," Old Time Music, 10 (Autumn 1973), 13. "Children of the poor," wrote the folksinger Hedy West, "were an important source of cheap labor." She recorded "Babies in the Mill," Dixon's song about child labor. See Hedy West, liner notes to her CD Whores, Hell, and Biscuits for 2 Centuries (Bear Family BF 15003). Jimmie Tarlton can be heard on the following CDs: Steel Guitar Rag (HMG 2503); the anthology Times Ain 't Like They Used to Be (Yazoo 2048); and (with Tom Darby) Hillbilly Blues (ASV-Living Era AJA 5361).

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13

diligently on a steel guitar he had bought for three dollars. Soon the Dixon Brothers were singing and playing again, in homes and churches and in a union-organizing drive in their county. About a month before

inCharlotte began the general textile strike of 1934, radio stationWBT Barn the Crazy Dance, sponsored by a company that broadcasting produced a laxative named Crazy Water Crystals, with the fiddler Fisher Hendley serving as master of ceremonies. The Dixon brothers "decided to answer a call over radio stationWBT in Charlotte for local talent. Our audition passed with flying colors, and we went on the radio the same day of our audition."15 Because most of themusicians on the Crazy Barn Dance were either textile communities.

mill workers Dixon

workers being overworked, underpaid, and subjugated. Listeners liked songs that spoke to their lives and the hardships of mill work, such as In six re in theMill." and "Babies "Weave Room Blues" Dorsey's more made to Brothers the Dixon 1936 from sessions 1939, cording

leads. of brother duets featuring close vocal harmonies and mandolin were of in the also distinctive original com Dorsey's proportion They in their included, among the religious repertoire. They always positions and comic songs thatmade up the standard fare in country music, his in the mills. profoundly sensitive songs of their personal experience a tinderbox were and blues, Dorsey's compositions Tinged with gospel his of resentment; and the raw, hungry sound of disturbingly intense own interior monologue, vocals was an aural representation of his to his com In life. addition of mill travails and the traps expressing Pray" and "The Intoxicated Rat" positions "I Didn't Hear Nobody alcohol tales sang of themill abuse), Dorsey against (both cautionary

status, bringing live entertainment in school auditoriums to themill families through personal appearances and mill recreation centers. The Dixon Brothers were singular in their stark, intense harmonies and their piercing steel guitar lead, in an era Brothers achieved celebrity

or former mill workers, the program became popular in and the Such featured performers as J.E. Mainer

than sixty records. They received nominal payments for theirwork, but and I they never made enough to free them from mill work. "Howard to went on many trips to be on the radio and had hang around the
15 Country Music, U.S.A., 98, Dixon, handwritten autobiography, 5 (quotations); Malone, 101-2; Vincent J.Roscigno andWilliam F. Danaher, The Voice of Southern Labor: Radio, Music, and Textile Strikes, 1929-1934 (Minneapolis, 2004), 30, 101. On the general strike of that year, toAlabama see John A. Salmond, The General Textile Strike of 1934: From Maine (Columbia, Mo., 2002). On Crazy Water Crystals, see Pat Ahrens, "The Role of the Crazy Water Crystals 107-9. Company in Promoting Hillbilly Music," JEMF Quarterly, 6 (1970),

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14 railroad owned

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

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tions to various publishers, and other musicians claimed authorship of was knew that he songs. Dorsey Dorsey's being cheated, but like other uneducated artists in early country music, he did not know what he could do about it. "I'll never know what happened," he would write, "but we finally got pushed back in the woods and the name Dixon

station for a late train to run to get back home. We never a car through all our radio and recording work." During that time Victor Records assigned copyrights of Dorsey's composi

minum

brother[s] was forgotten formany years."16 Itwas 1933, in the depth of theGreat Depression, and a youth joined his father on a folk-song-collecting expedition among sharecroppers and lumberjacks, miners and convicts. The songcatchers camped out at night and drove by day across the dusty unpaved back roads of the South, laden with a heavy disc-recording machine and stacks of alu discs.

called himself the "king of de twelve-string guitar players," but the other inmates called him Leadbelly. His name was Huddie Ledbetter. On another occasion, they were recording spirituals from sharecrop a in dirt-floored country church, and "everybody said, 'Let's have pers Old Blue sing.'" A large African American man rose and sang into their recording machine
Work Don't To And all week make buy my enough board snuff.

bered one, two, three hundred ballads" and African American spiritual singers "who could sing several hundred spirituals." In Angola Prison in Louisiana theymet a black convict with a high sweet voice and an enormous repertoire of work songs, love songs, ballads, and blues. He

They met unlettered people who were great artists, "country fiddlers who couldn't read or write, but could play two, three, or four hundred tunes," as well as "white ballad singers who remem

pay my

It's hard.

It's hard, it's hard It's hard on we poor

farmers,

He

Then he "spoke into the recorder horn as though itwere a telephone. said, 'Now, Mr. President, you just don't know how bad they're treating us folks down here. I'm singing to you and I'm talking to you
16 Dixon, handwritten autobiography, 5-6 (first quotation), 5 (second and third quotations); Green, "Dorsey Dixon," 12; Roscigno and Danaher, Voice of Southern Labor, 30; Bill C. Malone, Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class (Urbana, 2002), 96, 186. All three songs may be heard on theDorsey Dixon CD Babies in the Mill (HMG 2502).

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story, with the big mainstream of world culture. I realized then what my career was going to be." After completing the field trip John Lomax and his precocious son Alan deposited more than one hundred discs in the Library of Congress. Alan gave a lecture in the library's Coolidge Auditorium about themusic they had recorded, insisting thatAmerica's folk artists and their listeners had produced and preserved a legacy of songs and instrumental tunes as important as any on earth. At twenty-one he was put in charge of the library's Archive of American Folk Song.17 Unlike most folk-song collectors of his era, who sought what they the "last leaves" of dying folk-song traditions, Lomax considered sought the living traditions of living folk. He and his father were aided in their endeavors by such energetic and dedicated local collectors as Willcox Pickens

so I hope you will come down here and do something for us poor folks The moment had a profound impact on the eighteen here in Texas.'" "I realized right then that the folklorist's job was Alan Lomax. year-old to link the people who were voiceless and who had no way to tell their

were a few other folklorists, such as Frank and Anne Warner, recording and on the Outer Banks, and John mountains in North Carolina's Arkansas the in Ozarks, who shared Lomax's Quincy Wolf, recording lore. No one who has heard the the folk above the for preference field recordings of Frank Proffitt?of the way his subtle and Warners' like a quiet mountain poignant baritone flowed through his ballads no one more than stated?and his emotions stream, leaving implied the Riddle?of of Almeda field recordings who has heard Wolf's way she put the haunting ambience of her a capella singing behind the song,
17 Alan Lomax, Selected Writings, 1934-1997, edited by Ronald D. Cohen (New York, 2003), 1-3, 61 (first, second, and third quotations), 51 (fourth quotation); Alan Lomax, interviewed by in theRoosevelt White House: in theRoosevelt Era," inFolk Music Ralph Rinzler, in "Folk Music A Commemorative Program Presented by the Office of Folklife Programs at the National 1982 Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, January 31, 1982]), 14-15 (all other quotations). See also John A. Lomax, Adventures of ([Washington, D.C, a Ballad Hunter (New York, 1947), 111; Nolan Porterfield, Last Cavalier: The Life and Times (Urbana, 1996), 296-302; and Filene, Romancing theFolk, 49-58. of John A. Lomax, 1867-1948

and inMurrell's Chandler Inlet, South Carolina, to Our In his in Alabama. Tartt, preface Livingston, Ruby Singing Country, Alan described them as "two intelligent and creative Southern women," who "explored the singing resources of their com us with our recording machine." He was less munities and welcomed scholars as work of such African American the in generous crediting Lewis Wade the JohnW. Work, the musicologist Jones, sociologist and their graduate assistant Samuel C. Adams Jr.,whose field project Delta he joined and took control over. And there in theMississippi Genevi?ve

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16

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

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born of English, Scottish, and Cherokee in Fort Gibson, parentage in 1915. She described her home as "about as small as a Oklahoma, town can get," and she was a misfit from the beginning. "I had a boyfriend who would skip school with me," she recalled, "and we would

doubt the continuing power and beauty of evoking the sacred?could the southern ballad tradition.18 Lee Wiley's voice was husky and diaphanous, with a hint of smoke; and there was an appealing quaver of emotional fragility in her tone. She was immediately identifiable by her wide vibrato, her wistful and the gently mocking sensuality of her phrasing. She was intimacy,

the radio. After she recorded his "Easy to Love" and "You Do Some thing toMe," Cole Porter said, "I can't tell you how much I like the way she sings these songs." Her twilight lyricism and her swinging improvisations made her one of themost distinctive voices in jazz.19 In 1930, at the age of nineteen, Freddie Green leftCharleston, South Carolina, for New York to try his luck in the music business. He got
18 Lomax, Selected Writings, 66 (first and second quotations); Porterfield, Last Cavalier, 395, 403-5; Anne Warner, Traditional American Folk Songs from theAnne and Frank Warner Collection (Syracuse, 1984). Lomax's report on theDelta project, The Land Where theBlues Began (New York, 1993), did not acknowledge the contribution ofWork, Jones, and Adams. Their report is published as John W. Work, Lewis Wade Jones, and Samuel C. Adams Jr., Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942, edited by Robert Gordon and Bruce Nemerov (Nashville, 2005). Also see Roger D. Abrahams, ed., A Singer and Her Songs: Almeda Riddle's Book of Ballads (Baton Rouge, 1970). Recordings by John Lomax, made mostly in Genevi?ve Willcox Chandler's front yard, may be heard on Deep River of Song: South Carolina (Rounder 82161-2). Frank Proffitt may be heard on the following CDs: Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Warner Collection, vol. I (Appleseed CD 1035); Nothing Seems Better to Still, the Me: The Music of Frank Proffitt and North Carolina, the Warner Collection, vol. II (Appleseed CD 1036); and Frank Proffitt of Reese, N.C, recorded by Sandy Paton (Folk Legacy CD-I). Almeda Riddle's recordings include Granny Riddle's Songs and Ballads (Minstrel CD JD 203); Songs and Ballads of theOzarks (Vanguard LP VRS 9158); Ballads and Hymns of theOzarks (Rounder LP 0017); andMore Ballads and Hymns of theOzarks (Rounder LP 0083). She may also be heard on the following CD collections: the four-CD set Sounds of the South: A Musical Journey from the Georgia Sea Islands to the Mississippi Delta, collected by Alan Lomax (Atlantic 82496); Sounds of theOzark Folk: The 1963 Arkansas Folk Festival, limited-edition CD issued by Lyon College; and The Art of Old-Time Moun tainMusic (Rounder CD 1166). Proffitt and Riddle each have four songs on Songcatcher II: The Tradition that Inspired the Movie (Vanguard 79716-2). 19 Hentoff, Listen to the Stories, 57. See also William W. Savage Jr.,Singing Cowboys and All That Jazz: A ShortHistory of Popular Music inOklahoma (Norman, Okla., 1983), 102-3. She can be heard on The Legendary Lee Wiley: Collectors' Items, 1931-1955 (Baldwin Street BJH 304), and the two-CD set Follow Your Heart (Jasmine JASCD 411), which includes her now-classic recording of "Down to Steamboat, Tennessee," accompanied by Jess Stacy's understated harmonies and light fingered rhythm on piano and Muggsy Spanier's airy, gossamer obligattos on trumpet.

go over to the local store and play records. The records thatwe listened to and liked were called 'race records.' And they were only sold in a certain part of the town, the colored part." Having absorbed the vocal influence of Louis Armstrong, she ran away from home at fifteen, launching a career as a singer in jazz clubs, on records, and on

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SOUND TRACKOF FREEDOM

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a day job upholstering furniture and played various clubs in Harlem, where, as his girlfriend Billie Holiday would later describe it, "Every night the limousines would wheel uptown. The minks and ermines would climb over one another to be the first one through the coalbins or over the garbage pails into the newest spot that was 'the place.'" Soon, Village" Green

mesh, and they often played in their own tempos, pulling against rather than with one another. Perhaps a guitarist could focus their attention and unite them into a more coherent unit. "Hammond brought his man in there," Basie

arranged for Green to audition for a new band he had just east from Kansas City. As Count Basie remembered it, "John brought told me something about a young guitarist. He said he thought he would be good for the band." The strong individuals in his rhythm section had a tendency to go their own way. Their styles did not always

coming scout who

to the Black Cat, in Greenwich "I moved recalled, and "hadn't been there long when John Hammond, started in and listening." Hammond was a record producer and talent

related, "and I said, 'Why don't we just play?' and we one song with a couple of choruses, and when I heard played maybe thatmuch, I knew thatwas all thatwas necessary." Freddie Green, he added, "was on the bus the next day when we went to Pittsburgh." Freddie Green's sly, self-effacing strumming, like a bird hiding its head beneath a wing, would become in jazz. His guitar was unamplified, one of themost distinctive sounds and he never took a solo. But his

unfettered, freewheeling energy made him the essential element in what came to be called the "All-American rhythm section." His play on but the band heard him, and is almost recordings; imperceptible ing his faint but fluid strumming became its heartbeat, the force thatmade the Count Basie band the swingingest band in jazz history. "I'm a quiet guy," said Green. "Not shy, mind you, just quiet. I like to be there on

the sidelines, but near the big action." Freddie Green sat within touch ing distance of Count Basie, near the big action, for the next forty seven years, until Basie's death. Altogether he played almost fifty a Harlem newspaper put it?he years with the Basie band, until?as himself joined "Basie's Heaven Gig."20 a young white boy began to In themiddle of the Great Depression, a Rufus named out with black musician Payne. Known locally as hang
20 Raymond Horricks, "Freddie Green, Basie's Rhythm Base," clipping in Freddie Green of South Carolina, Columbia) (eighth (South Caroliniana Library, University Papers and ninth quotations); Billie Holiday [Eleanora Fagan] with William Dufty, Lady Sings the Blues (1956; reprint,New York, 1984), 36-37 (first quotation on p. 36); Freddie Green, quoted Pulse Still Beats Strong," Los Angeles in Leonard Feather, "'Pep' Green's Times, n.d.,

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18

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

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Tee Tot, Payne played for pocket change on the streets of Greenville, Alabama. According toHank Williams Jr.,Tee Tot "taught my father, as a boy of thirteen, to play the guitar and introduced him to the Blues. Daddy said, in so many words, 'My musical education was learned at the Tot.'" Payne not only taught "him the bluesy, driving that became Hank's trademark," said country-music disc jockey rhythm Ralph Emery, but also "gave him something farmore important: a com in the late plete lack of racial prejudice." Young Hiram "Hank" Williams, 1930s, was developing a repertoire and singing style that blended the school of Tee blues he learned fromTee Tot with the traditional countrymusic of the era of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, along with the influence of church music. Emery notes, "He loved to praise theLord and even more,

music's

most gifted lyricists, introducing new themes and a poetic sensi bility to his songs. He sang with a bluesman's achingly passionate voice that could sound mournful even on upbeat songs. On really sad songs his voice filled with a crushing melancholy, and his ghostly wails were bathed in a somber, shadowy half-light in which ancient prophets and poets, masks, seemed to speak their passions inmor barely hidden behind their dant and metaphor-laden phrases. In his "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," Hank Williams epitomized a lifetime of grief.21

to sing the mournful, dirgelike tunes about death and damnation." He grew up to be an awkward, angry, and alienated misfit, living a life as wild and dangerous as Robert Johnson's, stumbling and staggering through his appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. But he was also one of American

clipping in Freddie Green Papers (second and third quotations); Count Basie, quoted in Tony inMemory of One Who Made Little," Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Gieske, "Much Noise March 21, 1987, pp. Cl, C2, clipping in Freddie Green Papers (fourth, fifth,and sixth quotations on p. Cl); Basie, quoted in Stanley Dance, The World (New York, 1980), 14 of Count Basie (seventh quotation); Ali Stanton, "Freddie and Eddie join Count Basie's Heaven Gig," New York Amsterdam News, March 14, 1987, clipping in Freddie Green Papers (tenth quotation). See also Count Basie as told toAlbert Murray, Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie (1985; 2nd ed., New York, 2002), 178-206, 186-88, 254-85; and Schuller, Early Jazz, 284-85, 295-97, 304-5, 315-16. The "All-American Rhythm Section" consisted of Count Basie on piano, Freddie Green on guitar, Walter Page on bass, and Jo Jones on drums. Green is on all the recordings of the Count Basie Band, but the following are especially relevant to the swing era: (Verve 611); Count Basie Volume One 1932-1938 Complete Decca Recordings (CDS R PCD/ RPMC 602); and Count Basie 1936-1938 (Classics 503). 21 Hank Williams Jr., liner notes to Hank Williams Jr.,Almer?a Club (Curb Records 57ID CD) (firstquotation); Ralph Emery with Patsi Bale Cox, Fifty Years Down a Country Road (New York, 2000), 33-67 (second, third, and fourth quotations on pp. 48^49); Malone, Country Music, U.S.A., 239-43; Malone, Don't Get Above Your Raisin', 132-35; James C. Cobb, Redefining Southern Culture: Mind and Identity in the Modern South (Athens, Ga., 1999), 81-82, 85; Robert M. Williams, Sing a Sad Song: The Life ofHank Williams (1970; 3rd ed., Urbana, 1981), 23-24, ' 26, 29. See also Chet Flippo, Your Cheatin Heart: A Biography ofHank Williams ( 1981 ; 2nd ed., New York, 1989); and Colin Escott and Kira Florita, Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway (New York, 2001), 21-31. Hank Williams may be heard on the ten-CD boxed set The

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SOUND TRACKOF FREEDOM

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illustrated than in the gospel music of both races. Religious music was always the bedrock of southern vernacular music, from the spirituals, camp-meeting hymns, and shape-note hymnals of the nineteenth cen tury to the exciting expressions of gospel music in the twentieth. Vir jazz, bluegrass, religious music

The ability of southern music to reconcile an uncertain present with an anguished past, to root innovation in tradition, and to project a future in harmony with the best of past and present was nowhere better

Quartets became the most popular groups in black gospel music. Among themost important of them were the Fairfield Four, formed in the Dixie Hummingbirds, 1925 inNashville, Tennessee; organized in students in Greenville, South Carolina; and the 1928 by high-school in students Gate founded Golden Norfolk, Quartet, by high-school

country, tually all the major southern grassroots musicians?whether testified to the influence of rock, or even blues?have on their early musical orientations.

Virginia. The Gates' vocal imitations of trains, boats, cars, and whistles as background for their singing distinguished them from other groups and helped tomake them themost famous gospel quartet of them all.

But the greatest figure in gospel music was Mahalia Jackson, who grew a in New Orleans?surrounded devout in household of by up Baptists jazz bands and blues singers. "When the old people wasn't home, I'd turn on a Bessie Smith record and play it over and over," she said. "That was

touring the country and recording "Move singer) Thomas A. Dorsey, On Up a Little Higher," which became one of the best-selling gospel records of all time and made her the preeminent star of black gospel music. She sang in the unashamedly southern style of the down-home churches, her music skipping and strutting like sanctified preachers; and she became intensely popular among black and white listeners alike.22

before I was saved." But she was also influenced by "the or Holiness Churches," where "[t]hey used the drum, the Sanctified cymbal, the tambourine, and the steel triangle" to create "a powerful beat, a rhythm we held on to from slavery days." In 1937 she began a fourteen-year association with the gospel composer (and former blues

Complete Hank Williams (Mercury Nashville 536077). Of particular interest are his performances on the two-CD set Hank Williams Sr., Live at the Grand Ole Opry (Mercury 546466). 22 Mahalia Jackson, quoted in Studs T?rkei, Talking to Myself: A Memoir ofMy Times (New Jackson with Evan McLeod Wylie, York, 1973), 261 (first and second quotations); Mahalia on Up (New York, 1966), 32-33 (third, fourth, and fifth quotations); Horace Clarence Movin 1995), 44-45, (Washington, D.C., Boyer, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel Cel 118-23, 147-50. See also JerryZolten, Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: (New York, 2003); and Jesse Jackson, Make a Joyful ebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music Noise unto the Lord: The Life ofMahalia Jackson, Queen of the Gospel Singers (New York, 1974). The sounds of some of the great gospel quartets may be heard on the two-CD set Gospel.

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THE JOURNAL HISTORY OF SOUTHERN
The creative era of gospel music was no less apparent in themusic southerners. The most famous of the early groups was a

of white

family group from Texas called the Chuck Wagon Gang. After World War IIWally Fowler of Georgia organized the Oak Ridge Quartet and began to promote package tours of white gospel music, typically rent ing an auditorium and presenting what he called "All-Night Sings." Mainstream country and bluegrass artists included gospel songs as a mainstay of their repertoire, and theGrand Ole Opry and other country radio shows routinely included gospel ensembles. By the early 1950s popular gospel groups such as the Blackwood Brothers, the Statesmen,

the Jordanaires, and the Happy Goodman Family had become well known in countless southern rural homes through their broadcasts and recordings. The 1960s witnessed the coming of country and even rock introduced styles into gospel music, as the Rambos and the Kingsmen larger vocal groups and amplified instruments. By the 1970s "contem porary Christian" music, performed by such singers as Amy Grant, sounded more like rock than gospel.23

Gate Quartet's "Swing Down Chariot," while Mahalia Jackson recorded Porter Wagoner's hit "Satisfied Mind." Black and country white musical expressions were rooted in similar sources and similar experiences, but each remained highly distinctive.24 Itwas November 1940, and New York gave a cold reception to Lee Hays, a young man recently arrived from the South with a bag of the son of a Methodist minister. songs. He was born in Arkansas, a in of series rural Growing up parsonages, Lee learned to sing the folk
Vol.

Golden

Although out-and-out collaboration between white and black gospel artists was rare, they routinely performed songs learned from one an other's recordings. The Blackwood Brothers, for instance, recorded the

2: Gospel Quartets, 1921-1942 the Fairfield Four, The Road toGlory: (Fremeaux FA026); Best of theDixie Hummingbirds [Original Recording Remastered] (Fuel 2000 F23020613982); (MCA 22043); and Golden Gate Quartet, Vol. 1: 1937-1938 (Document 5472). For Mahalia Jackson hear the two-CD boxed set Gospels, Spirituals, and Hymns (Sony 65594). For an example of her in live performance (before an audience of jazz fans) hear Live at Newport (Sony 53629). 23 James R. Goff Jr.,Close Harmony: A History of Southern Gospel (Chapel Hill, 2002), 8, 131-39, 165-75 (quotation on p. 165), 184-85, 203-4, 210, 230-44, 248, 283-87. CDs providing good samplings of mainstream white gospel are The Celebration: 200 Years of Southern Gospel Music (CBD 77120) and All Time Southern Gospel Hits Collection (Jive 47022). Hear also the Chuck Wagon 1940 Dallas Session Gang on Higher: Complete (Copper Creek 7005); The Blackwood Brothers: Gospel Classics Series (RCA 67624); Hovie Lister and the Statesmen: Gaither Gospel Series (Chordant 44904); the Jordanaires, Great Gospel Songs (Curb 77810); the Happy Goodman Family, 50 Years (Spring House/EMD 42271); Rambos Collection, a two-CD set (Riversong 2271); Kingsmen Collection, a two-CD set (Riversong 2256); and Amy Grant, a two-CD set (A&M 34152). Greatest Hits, 1986-2004, 24 Jackson's rendition of "Satisfied Mind" may be heard Goff, Close Harmony, 210. Mahalia on the two-CD boxed set Gospels, Spirituals, and Hymns (Sony 65594).

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SOUND

TRACK OF FREEDOM

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when he caught him refilling the jug. Young Lee was radicalized by the He saw the shared fear and poverty of black and Great Depression. their worn-out fields and lost their white southerners who plowed worn-out farms to the drought and themortgage companies, or lived on cornbread and beans in rickety tenant shacks. He believed their only way out was to get together to fight for honest pay and fair treatment, for freedom and justice and brotherhood. But he learned that when ever blacks and whites got together they were called Reds.25 At the

songs and the old rural hymns of the South. He marveled when his father came back from a trip to theHoly Land with a jug of water from the Jordan River to baptize people. But he rebelled against his father

he learned of the inMonteagle, Tennessee, Highlander Folk School links between the folk songs he loved and the effort to make a better life for southern working people; and he learned how those songs might be applied to organizing a union or conducting a strike. In 1937, inArkansas, where he began Lee was hired by Commonwealth College towrite labor lyrics to traditional tunes. He joined the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union (STFU) and participated in the union's biracial orga

nizing efforts in the winter of 1936, "signing up members" and "mak ing up songs."26 His lyrics echoed what he had learned from hungry farmers bending their backs and dragging their sacks, of organizers telling of the beatings and sluggings and cheatings and killings they faced trying to organize
25

the STFU.

Pete Seeger, telephone interview with Charles Joyner, June 3, 2002, hereinafter cited as (1988; new ed., Seeger interview; Doris Willens, Lonesome Traveler: The Life of Lee Hays Lincoln, Neb., 1994), 3-4, 9-17. 26 . . ,'" New Masses, August 1, 1939, p. 15; Jim Capaldi, "Wasn't Will. Lee Hays, '"Let the That a Time! A Conversation with Lee Hays," Sing Out! 28 (September-October 1980), 3; Willens, Lonesome Traveler, 31-40, 49-59; Seeger interview (second and third quotations). On interview E 16, see Jacquelyn Hall and Ray Flaherty, Interview with Don West, Highlander Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007 (Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Li brary, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); John M. Glen, Highlander: No Ordinary School, 1932-1962 (Lexington, Ky., 1988); and Robbie Lieberman, "My Song Is My Weapon": 1930-1950 the Politics and American Communism, of Culture, Songs, People's in the Tennessee (Urbana, 1989), 45-46. I also explored the Highlander Folk School Collection State Library and Archives inNashville during the summer of 1969. On Commonwealth College see Raymond and Charlotte Koch, Educational Commune: The Story of Commonwealth College in the Rural South: Commonwealth (New York, 1972); William H. Cobb, Radical Education and College, 1922-1940 (Detroit, 2000); Agnes "Sis" Cunningham and Gordon Friesen, Red Dust Broadsides: A Joint Autobiography, edited by Ronald D. Cohen (Amherst, Mass., 1999), 112-34; in John Egerton, Speak Now Against theDay: The Generation before the Civil Rights Movement the South (Chapel Hill, 1994), 157-58; Josh Dunson, Freedom in theAir: Song Movements of the Sixties (New York, 1965), 24-26; and Michael Denning, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1998), xviii, 71-72. On the STFU see Donald H. Grubbs, Cry from theCotton: The Southern Tenant Farmers' Union and theNew Deal appears (1971; reprint, Fayetteville, Ark., 2000). Lee's version of "We Shall Not Be Moved" uncredited in Pete Seeger and Bob Reiser, [eds.], Carry It On! A History in Song and Picture of theWorking Men and Women of America (New York, 1985), \4\-A2.

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sing with the banjo; I had to either play the banjo or sing, but couldn't do both." Either way, teaming up seemed a good idea. In another month they had acquired a repertoire, a residence, and a name?the Almanac Soon

After Commonwealth collapsed, Hays came toNew York, hoping to a use for songbook publish by the labor movement. There he met Pete I it "Lee and hit off Seeger. immediately," Seeger told me. "I couldn't

Singers.27 they were joined by the Texas-born Bess Lomax, fresh from and by Woody Guthrie?a dust-bowl Okie who could Bryn Mawr, write a song on any subject and play anything with strings on it. Woody wrote to Bess's brother Alan that Lee and Pete were "a knock ing songs out to beat hell and I hope they beat it. Good old boys." Recalling an old recording by South Carolinian Chris Bouchillon of the "Talking Blues," Lee and Pete wrote new union verses. Pete performed them with the Almanac vibrant Singers as "Talking Union." Lee's

vocal chords served as the foundation of Almanac harmonies, his reso nant bass making everything they sang sound like an old southern gospel song. He had something to say; and he knew how to say it in a way people could understand. In addition, Pete told me, "he was a

enough to be topical but universal enough to last. Some of them, such as "Lonesome "Times Are Gettin' Hard," and "Follow Traveller," the Drinkin' Gourd," are still being sung after half a century.28 The Almanac Singers got small bookings on what they called "the subway

better song leader than I, and I learned a lot from him." Lee's labor his southern and his down-home of wit, background, sly story style telling enabled him to endow traditional songs with new lyrics specific

merchant marines, and Lee?ineligible formilitary a job with Russian War Relief.29 diabetes?found

circuit," five dollars here and ten dollars there, with subway rides between. Prospects were poor in 1941, but the question was made moot in the summer of 1942 when Pete was drafted, Woody joined the service because of

27 Seeger interview (first quotation); Pete Seeger, quoted inDavid King Dunaway, How Can I Keep from Singing: Pete Seeger (New York, 1981), 76 (second quotation); Willens, Lonesome Traveler, 65-67; Dunaway, How Can I Keep from Singing, 75-81. 28 Woody Guthrie toAlan Lomax, [ca. April 1941], inFolder A, Correspondence, 1940-1950, A20, Box 1, Woody Guthrie Manuscript Collection (Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.); Seeger interview. The Almanac Singers may be heard on the following CDs: The Almanac Singers: Their Complete General Recordings (MCA 1149); Songs of Protest (Prism Leisure PLATCD 704); and Talking Union (Naxos 8.120567). 29 Pete Seeger, The Incompleat Folksinger (New York, 1972), 17 (quotation); Capaldi, "Wasn't That a Time!" 5; "The 'Almanacs' Part, But Keep on Singing," Daily Worker, January 8, 1943, p. 7, clipping in series 4, Archie Green Papers. For theAlmanac years see also Willens, Lonesome Traveler, 65-75; Dunaway, How Can I Keep from Singing, 79-106; and Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life (New York, 1980), 188-239, 243-46, 255.

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the war, Lee, Pete, Woody, and others organized People's to to as many people as the of their music message Songs spread new to write songs together, but Lee's possible. Lee and Pete continued lyrics were too controversial for them to find a publisher. One of them had a chorus that declared,
I'd I'd I'd All sing out danger sing out a warning sing out love between over this land.30

all of my

brothers

In 1949 theWeavers' the others will continue being warped." were were 1951 stars, with a series pop prospects they negligible. By records including Leadbelly's of number-one Irene"; "Goodnight an to Know Israeli It's Been Good "So You"; song Long, Woody's a South African freedom named "Tzena, Tzena"; song named "and and a traditional folk song named "On Top of Old Smoky." By 1953 they had run afoul of the blacklist, and their pros pects were negligible again. They took what Lee called a "sabbatical," "Wimoweh";

them to shut By 1949 financial and political problems compelled down. That year they formed a new quartet, one?as Lee put it?"like the old Almanacs, but with discipline." They called themselves the themselves into the warp and Weavers. Lee said they would weave woof of American music. "I'll take care of the woofing," he added,

of the sixties.31

as well. Then, and a Tuesdical" adding that it "turned into a Mondical on Christmas Eve 1955, they staged a comeback with a well-received now consider that conceit, and the concert at Carnegie Hall. Many came to launched the folk-song movement from have that it, recording

30 "The Hammer Song," printed on the cover of Sing Out! 1 (May 1950); People's Songs Bulletin, 1 (February 1946), 3; ibid., 1 (October 1946), 4; ibid., 2 (February-March 1947), 15; Willens, Lonesome Traveler, 114-15; Hays and Seeger, "The Hammer Song," in Irwin Silber, ed., Song Book (New York, 1953), 84-85; Lieberman, My Lift Every Voice! The Second People's 140. Song Is My Weapon, 31 Modern Folk Song (New York, Lee Hays, inOscar Brand, The Ballad Mongers: Rise of the 1962), 107 (firstquotation), 109 (second and thirdquotations); Seeger, Incompleat Folksinger, 23 (fourth and fifth quotations); Dunaway, How Can I Keep from Singing, 137-68, 185; Harvey Matusow, False Witness (New York, 1955), 51. Matusow reportedly once described himself as "such a double crosser that I double cross myself twice a day to keep in practice." Harvey Matusow, quoted inRobert M. Lichtman and Ronald D. Cohen, Deadly Farce: Harvey Matusow and the Informer System in theMcCarthy Era (Urbana, 2004), 201^56. The Weavers may be heard on the four-CD boxed set Wasn't That a Time (Vanguard 147), comprising most of their are also available on CD as post-1955 recordings. Their live concerts at Carnegie Hall in 1955 The Weavers at Carnegie Hall (Vanguard 73101) and The Weavers at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 2 (Vanguard 79075). Their 1963 Carnegie Hall concerts are on Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall (Vanguard 2150) and Weavers Reunion at Carnegie Hall, Part 2 (Vanguard 79161). Hear also The Weavers: Best of the Vanguard Years (Vanguard 79580).

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an twenty-three, but he was already developing in in his with the harmonies he heard original trumpet style keeping head. Five years earlier, however, he had been tempted in a different musical direction. That was in late 1934 or early 1935, when King not quite Oliver

By 1940, the same year thatLee Hays arrived inNew York, a group of southern-born musicians began to meet regularly at a place in to try out new musical ideas. Harlem named Minton's Playhouse John was

their audition, because the they could do. They must have passed maestro invited them to join his band for the remainder of the tour. John declined. He needed to work on the school's farm during the summer to earn his tuition. But Powe accepted the offer. After two or of weary one-nighters between uncomfortable trips in a he returned with little to show except the thrill of bus, dilapidated with the great King Oliver! John was at least properly having played envious. By 1940, John was already a veteran of Cab Calloway's and had acquired the nickname "Dizzy." At Minton's the South three months

even in the declining years of his career. After the performance, John and Powe met the veteran cornet player backstage. When they told him they were studying music, he asked them to show him what

and his band played a date in Laurinburg, North Carolina. John and his cousin Powe were studying music at Laurinburg Institute, a black preparatory on Tuskegee school modeled Institute. They and the other students were excited to see the great pioneer of jazz,

Band

Dizzy Gillespie jammed regularly with the North Carolina-born Thelonious Monk and the Texas-born Charlie Christian. Monk was only twenty, but he was already playing many of the jagged but oddly logical melodic contours thatwould make him a major jazz

Carolina-born

pianist and composer. Christian had just turned twenty-one and had a steady job with Benny Goodman. His unique style on electric guitar was clearly marked by the influence of western swing (a new fusion of jazz, blues, and string-band idioms developed and by Bob Wills other white country musicians in Texas and Oklahoma). But Gillespie was the essential catalyst. "You only have so many notes, and what makes a style is how you get from one note to the other," he said. He would blow upper-octave choruses of long asymmetric lines at speeds, embracing all sorts of crisscrossing, reversal, and harmonic implied polyphony over the most bewildering of Monk's progressions. A synthesis began to take place; a new kind of jazz blistering

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to be called bebop, after a characteristic and Monk trumpet phrase. By the mid-forties Gillespie Gillespie were recording the new music and finding employment in clubs on 52nd Street, where
audience.32

they could bring modernist

ideas to a broader jazz

Monroe's

in Nashville's Ryman player, and there was an air of expectancy Auditorium when the group stepped out on the Grand Ole Opry stage one Saturday evening early in 1946. It did not take the audience the bluesy, long to realize that here was something new. Hearing

At almost the same time, rumors were already spreading about Bill new lineup in his Blue Grass Boys, especially that new banjo

listeners knew thatMonroe had turned the lines of Cedric Rainwater, an star ensemble of virtuosos. The sideman was Blue Grass Boys into a the twenty-two-year-old Earl Scruggs on five-string banjo. With stylistic daring that belied his youth, Scruggs demolished all previous conceptions of banjo playing with a jaw-dropping flood of sixteenth the banjo as notes and cascading flyaway arpeggios. He established a full-fledged solo instrument, himself as its principal exponent, and the music of the band as a national traditional Anglo-American they created an exciting new folk music

the robust fiddle dashes of the Floridian Chubby Wise, cascading runs and of the Tennessean Lester the Flatt, rock-steady bass guitar

said he sang ing into places few singers had gone before. Some as though his underwear were too tight, but his astringent, extraterres trial falsetto defined the "high lonesome sound" thatwould become the hallmark of the new music. And his virtuosity on the mandolin? solos with his ornate quick alternating his bluesy, jazz-like melodic silver obligatos?spurred his sidemen to heights of artistry they had

they took turns improvising boiling hot breaks between the choruses, soloing like jazz musicians. Monroe himself was the crucial stimulus, out in front, pulling the band along with him. He forced his already knife-edged tenor way up above Lester Flatt's lead, reach bands,

sensation. Blending elements of with elements of the blues, sound. And unlike the old-time string

to Y a, 32Shipton, Groovin' High, 11-16, 87-90; Shapiro and Hentoff, eds., Hear Me Talkin' 335-50; Gillespie, Dizzy, 140-41 (quotation on p. 140), 278-302; Gitler, Masters of Bebop, 58-109; Lees, Waiting for Dizzy, 220-51; Hentoff, Listen to the Stories, 79-88. On Monk see Joe Goldberg, New York, 1983), 24^14 (esp. pp. 25-26); and Giddins, Jazz Masters of the Fifties (1965; reprint, Rhythm-a-ning: Jazz Tradition and Innovation in the '80s (New York, 1985), 214?25.

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26

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN they produced

HISTORY a music as much blues

of his early music from fiddlers back in Kentucky, picking up instrumental licks from his uncle Pen Vandiver fiddler whom he ac and from Arnold Shultz, an African American Monroe had learned much companied on guitar for square dances. "Arnold played the blues like no other man could," according toMonroe. "Arnold and myself," he recollected, "we played for a lot of square dances back in those days." His early friendship with Schultz instilled in him an enduring fondness Scruggs had also learned instrumental techniques and, likeMonroe, synthesized them into a unique His intricate style. three-finger picking quickly became known as was not its creator. He was exposed to banjo by he Scruggs-style, but from older musicians for the blues. Earl

never before achieved. Together or jazz as country.33

his father and an older

sister, who played in the old "rapping" (or clawhammer) way, and by his older brother Junie, who had developed his own version of three-finger picking. As a teenager Earl was influ enced by the three-finger picking style of Snuffy Jenkins, whose per formances onWBT Charlotte in 1934 and on WIS in Columbia, South after 1937 gave many banjo pickers their first exposure to the technique. "It all come from a man in North Carolina named Snuffy Jenkins," Bill said, "That's where Earl learned from, and all the pickers that played three-finger style."34

Carolina,

33 Malone, Country Music, U.S.A., 32^-68 (esp. pp. 328-29); Neil V. Rosenberg, Bluegrass: A History (Urbana, 1985), 68-94; Richard D. Smith, Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass (Boston, 2000), esp. pp. 86-89; Robert Cantwell, Bluegrass Break down: The Making of theOld Southern Sound (1984; reprint,Urbana, 2003), 60-114; Cantwell, "Ten Thousand Acres of Bluegrass: Mimesis in Bill Monroe's Journal of Popular Music," 13 (Fall 1979), 209-20; Ralph Rinzler, "Bill Monroe?'The Culture, Daddy of Bluegrass Music,'" 1963), 5-8; Alan Lomax, "Bluegrass Background: Folk Sing Out! 13 (February-March Music with Overdrive," Esquire, October 1959, p. 108; James D. Green Jr., "A Musical Analysis of the Banjo Style of Earl Scruggs," Journal of Country Music, 5 (Spring 1974), 31-37. One veteran member of the Opry was decidedly unimpressed. Having patented the stereotype of the is said to have watched Scruggs from thewings and banjo player as clown, Uncle Dave Macon reportedly muttered, "He ain't one damned bit funny." Macon, quoted in Charles Wolfe, "Uncle Dave Macon," inBill C. Malone and Judith McCulloh, eds., Stars of Country Music: Uncle Dave to Johnny Rodriguez (Urbana, 1975), 50. Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Macon Boys from this period can be heard on the two-CD set The Essential Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, 1945-1949 (Columbia C2K 52478). The four-CD setMusic of Bill Monroe from 1936 to 1994 (MCA 11048) includes material from across Monroe's recording career. 34 Monroe, quoted in Tony Russell, Blacks, Whites and Blues (New York, 1970), 100 (first notes quotation), in Ralph Rinzler, "Bill Monroe: Notes on his Origins and Accomplishments," toBill Monroe and Doc Watson (Smithsonian Folkways CD 40064), 6 (second quotation), and in Charles Wolfe, Interview with Bill Monroe," Old Time Music, 16 "Bluegrass Touches?An (Spring 1975), 11 (third quotation); Susan A. Eacker and Geoff Eacker, "A Banjo on Her Knee?Part I: Appalachian Women and America's First Instrument," Old-Time Herald, 8 (Winter 2001), 20; Mike Seeger and Ralph Rinzler, notes toAmerican Banjo Three-Finger and Scruggs Style (Smithsonian Folkways CD SF 40037), 2-3.

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banjo." Jenkins's banjo style was intensely personal, combining ele ments of the archaic and themodern, blending ragtime-inflected syn copations with subtle, stylized phrasing. Don Reno was actually

to Jenkins, "I feel like Earl Scruggs has done more to According this promote style of playing than anyone else. Earl and I are the best of friends, since I first met him when he was learning to play the

playing the style before Scruggs, having himself learned it from in Spartanburg, South Jenkins. Reno began broadcasting on WSPA was fans in of One his 1940. Carolina, young Scruggs, who was early to the a Morris Brothers band. According then teenager playing in the come and shyly hang back in banjoist Tony Trischka, "Scruggs used to shows." Don Reno was the corner of the radio studio during Reno's in 1943 but went into the army offered a position with Bill Monroe instead and served overseas in Burma. When he returned Scruggs was thought he had at long last found playing with Monroe.35 Bill Monroe a unique sound for his long. His achievement, create a unique sound; The Baltimore-born Blue Grass

Boys. It did not remain unique for and theirs, was something greater. They did not they created a new form of music.36 favored songs with bittersweet Billie Holiday was intense, her phrasing lyrics and brooding melodies. Her singing often acerbic; and her voice sometimes sounded as though dipped in vocals could be an almost acid. Hearing her caustic, utterly woebegone The Virginia-born experience. unbearably moving could spin scintillating vocal lines with an unmatched taneity. Her incredible sense of swing blended with Ella Fitzgerald expressive spon the sidemen; she

35 notes to Snuffy Jenkins: Pioneer of the Snuffy Jenkins, quoted in Peter J.Welding, Hub City Music Bluegrass Banjo (Arhoolie CD 9027), 2; Tony Trischka, quoted in Peter Cooper, Makers: One Southern Town's Popular Music Legacy (Spartanburg, S.C, 1997), 19. After the Blue Grass Boys from 1949 until 1951, when departure of Earl Scruggs, Reno joined Monroe's he joined with the North Carolina guitarist and lead singer Red Smiley to form the Tennessee 14, 2005. "I don't Cut-Ups. Ronnie Reno, interview with Charles Joyner, Conway, S.C, May claim to have taught Scruggs or Reno either one," Jenkins said, "but I was about the first to to be around I go on the air with this type of playing, and any time that they just happened was glad to show them anything I could." Jenkins, quoted in Pat J. Ahrens, A History of the Musical Careers ofDewitt "Snuffy" Jenkins, Banjoist and Homer "Pappy" Sherill, Fiddler (West Columbia, S.C, 1970), 16. Monroe always felt that what he called "the refinement of Snuffy Jenkins' three-finger banjo style by Don Reno and Earl Scruggs" was less important to the to modern Rock and Roll." bluegrass music than "[t]he right beat," which he said "is close Sing Out! 15 Monroe, quoted inMayne Smith, "First Bluegrass Festival Honors Bill Monroe," (January 1966), 69. Snuffy Jenkins may be heard on Snuffy Jenkins: Pioneer of the Bluegrass on 20 Bluegrass Originals Banjo (Arhoolie CD 9027). Don Reno may be heard with Red Smiley 125); and On Stage (Copper Creek CCCD (Deluxe 7906); 16 Greatest Gospel Hits (Hollywood 0127). 36 Neil V. Rosenberg, "From Sound to Style: The Emergence American Folklore, 80 (April-June 1967), 143-50. of Bluegrass," Journal of

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was never merely a vocalist but a full-fledged member of the band. At times she could romp through a melody like a child jumping hopscotch squares. At others her subtle, silken musicality wove a mesmerizing

spell over her interpretation of popular standards.37 Born in Montgomery, Alabama, Nat Cole honed his unique style by playing organ in the church where his father preached and his mother directed

Mercer

highway taken by such real-life Okies as Woody Guthrie.38 In April 1956 Cole was the target of a vicious racist assault during a Birmingham conceit for a white-only audience. His attackers were members of the Alabama Citizens' Council, headed by the fanatical

had co-founded. At Capitol Nat King Cole's soothing, butter smooth voice and elegant phrasing made him a gifted purveyor of such romantic ballads as "Too Young," "Mona Lisa," and "Unforgettable." His 1961 recording of "Stardust" is generally considered the classic version of the song. Another big hit was "Route 66," mythologizing the

stylings. "I was strictly a jazz musician and played only jazz" then, he recalled. In the early 1950s the Savannah-born singer, lyricist, and to Mercer Cole composer Johnny signed Capitol Records, a company

the choir. They did not approve of his infusion of jazz licks to California, added the nickname into the hymns. In 1937 he moved and the Cole Trio, featuring his own piano "King," organized King

segregationist Asa Carter. Although Cole had never spoken out pub licly on civil rights, what enraged the racists was simply that he

37 Paul Roland, ed., Jazz Singers: The Great Song Stylists in Their Own Words (London, 1999), 79-85, 71-77; John Chilton, Billie's Blues: Billie Holiday's Story, 1933-1959 (New York, 1975); Robert O'Meally, Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday (New York, 1991); Farah Jasmine Griffin, If You Can't Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday (New York, 2001); Donald Clarke, Billie Holiday: Wishing on theMoon (2000; reprint,New York, 2002); Stuart Nicholson, Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of theFirst Lady of Jazz (New York, 1994); and Leslie Gourse, ed., The Ella Fitzgerald Companion: Seven Decades of Commentary (New York, 1998). Fitzgerald's extraordinary "song books" of themost significant composers of American popular song may be heard on the sixteen-CD boxed set The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books (Polygram 19832). A good sampling of her career is Pure Ella (Verve 539206). Holiday also had her detractors. "I don't like drug addicts," declared the singer and pianist Nina Simone, "and she sounds like a cat. I don't think she's a particularly good singer." Nina Simone, quoted in Kristine McKenna, "Nina Simone: An Exiled Avant-garde Musician Speaks Her Mind," Oxford American, Summer 1999, p. 97. Holiday's singing may be heard on the four-CD boxed set The Lady Sings (Proper 5Q35B); Billie Holiday's Greatest Hits (Sony 65757); and her own personal favorite, with strings, Lady in Satin (Sony 65144). 38 Roland, ed., Jazz Singers, 56 (quotation); Alan Lewens, Popular Song: Soundtrack of the Century (New York, 2001), 61, 88-89. See also Daniel Mark Epstein, Nat King Cole (New York, 1999) and Maria Cole with Louie Robinson, Nat King Cole: An Intimate Biography (New York, 1971). The sound of the King Cole Trio may be heard on Memories of Nat King Cole Trio (Excelsior EXL 2456) and on the four-CD boxed setBest of theKing Cole Trios (Capitol Jazz 497 4802). His major pop hits may be heard on Nat King Cole's Memories of Nat King Cole Trio: Greatest Hits (Capitol 29687), The Very Thought of You (DCC 1119), and the four-CD boxed set Cool Cole (Proper Box 5RT8F).

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movement.

appeared onstage with white artists. From that moment on, accord ing to his friend Harry Belafonte, Nat King Cole "began to stand up and be counted." He became a mainstay of support for the civil rights an It was

included some of the most 1953, and the summit meeting versatile gospel singers in Harlem. The North Carolina-born Clyde son of a Baptist minister, sang with the Mount Lebanon McPhatter, Singers. South Carolina-born Bill Knights. with the Thrasher Wonders. a rhythm-and-blues group And the Alabama-born

of gospel phrasing and harmony with secular lyrics and R&B rhythms. The ingratiating sweetness ofMcPhatter's stratospheric falsetto soared above the gospel harmonies of the Thrasher brothers and the complex shifting rhythms of Bill Pinkney's bass vocals. Bringing the emotional intensity of gospel into rhythm and blues, they created a signature sound thatmade their first six records into R&B top ten hits?"Money

for his label. What Ahmet Ertegun, co founder of Atlantic Records, was looking for was "something like the authentic blues, but cleaner, less rough and perforce more sophisti cated." The new group, the Drifters, excelled in an exhilarating fusion

Pinkney sang with the Southern Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher sang McPhatter had been asked to put together

(which also (number one), "Such a Night," "Honey Love" Honey" on the white number reached pop charts), "Someday You'll twenty-one and "Whatcha Gonna toWant You," "White Christmas," Want Me Do." That sound would come to be called "soul" music a decade later.40
39 and Race Brian Ward, JustMy Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness, Relations (London, 1998), 95-105, 130, 133 (quotation from Belafonte). On Forrest Carter, see the Origins of theNew Conservatism, and Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Transformation of American Politics (New York, 1995), 106-7, 139, 149, 196, 210, 216, 294-96, 300; Carter, "Southern History, American Fiction: The Secret Life of Southwestern and Valeria Gennaro Lerda, Rewriting the Novelist Forrest Carter," in Lothar H?nnighausen and JeffRoche, "Asa/Forrest Carter South: History and Fiction (T?bingen, 1993), 286-304; and Regional/Political Identity," in Philip D. Dillard and Randal L. Hall, eds., The Southern Albatross: Race and Ethnicity in theAmerican South (Macon, Ga., 1999), 235-74. 40 Ahmet Ertegun, "Great Sound Is No Great Secret," in Billboard, January 13, 1958, pp. 24, Ward, JustMy Soul Responding, 23. See also ibid., 53, 79, 81, 92; Bill C. Malone, 39, as quoted in Southern Music/American Music (Lexington, Ky., 1979) 100; Peter Guralnick, Sweet Soul Music 1986), 27; Patricia (New York, of Freedom Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream and Holly George-Warren, eds., The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia Romanowski of Rock and Roll (New York, 1995), 286-87; Phil Hardy and Dave Laing, eds., Encyclopedia of Rock (New Wexler and York, 1988), 148. The role of such teams of writer/producers as Ertegun and Jerry Wexler and David Ritz, Rhythm and theBlues: Leiber and Mike Stoller is emphasized in Jerry Jerry A Life inAmerican Music (New York, 1993); Charlie Gillett, Making Tracks: Atlantic Records and the Growth of a Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry (London, 1988); and Richard A. Peterson and Indus David G. Berger, "Entrepreneurship inOrganizations: Evidence from the Popular Music to Guralnick, "The story try,"Administrative Science Quarterly, 16 (1971), 97-106. According of soul music can be seen largely as the story of the introduction of the gospel strain into the

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to "Rhythm and Blues." The "race" charts, with music by black musicians for black customers, had been dominated in the late 1940s by Delta blues artists, such as Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker, "Race Records" and Muddy Waters, who had now electrified their work into "urban blues." Since the segregated charts both reflected and promoted seg regated audiences, few black artists were famous in white America.

of the popular music industry, had In 1949 Billboard, themagazine name of its African American the changed record-ranking chart from

The

increasing popularity of R&B was hastened by two unusual and short-lived developments?the practice of "covering" and the pursuit of the "crossover." They were limited forms of cultural blending, and the former was designed to forestall the latter. The practice of "cov

country songs were also routinely covered by black artists for theR&B market?as when Ivory Joe Hunter recorded Ray Price's "City Lights" and Fats Domino covered Hank Williams's "You Win Again" and And black artists also recorded R&B (On the Bayou)." "Jambalaya versions of white pop hits, as when the Chords covered "Cross Over the Bridge" and Erskine Hawkins covered "Tennessee Waltz," both big pop hits for Patti Page. In 1950 six black covers of white top-ten songs charted on the R&B lists. While exploitation (on all sides) was cer tainly involved in the practice of covering, songwriters of both races profited from reaching expanded markets, while the continued segre gation of charts and the preferences of fans held the impact of covers on performers' sales to a minimum. Even so, the cover phenomenon

"That's Alright, Mama" and "Big Mama" Thornton's Crudup's "Hound Dog" for white markets?was themost significant counterat tack by the record companies against the growing popularity of rhythm and blues in the early and mid-1950s. But ironies abounded. Not only were R&B covered white artists for the pop market, so also songs by were country songs?as when Hank Williams's songs "Cold, Cold and "Hey, Good Lookin'" were covered by Heart," "Half as Much," the pop artists Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, and Jo Stafford. And

ering," or copying, hit recordings by black artists with versions of the same songs by whites?as when Bill Haley covered Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" and Elvis Presley covered Arthur "Big Boy"

secular world of rhythm and blues." See his Sweet Soul Music, 21. The Drifters during the McPhatter years may be heard on the three-CD set Rockin' & Driftin': The Drifters (Atlantic 72417).

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ing to overflow crowds across the South, sometimes to interracial sometimes on interracial tours with such artists as the audiences, Tennessee-born rockabilly Carl Perkins, whose "Blue Suede Shoes" had become the first recording to reach number one on the country charts. While many young south charts, the pop charts, and the R&B erners were drawn to R&B without regard for political implications, set off a "wild, bottle-throwing, knife-wielding racists in Chattanooga

the growth of a mass market for R&B and in ultimately accelerated so for black writers and performers alike. doing brightened prospects cover run had its 1956 the about course.41 By phenomenon just were the mid-fifties the Drifters By already crossing over, perform

at a concert the Drifters shared with Roy Hamilton, LaVern and Red Prysock at the city auditorium. Several spectators were Baker, to escape safely.42 wounded, but the performers managed were not high enough to keep forms The fences between musical musical styles from crossing over. Black and white southerners had in a vigorous musical interchange, and itwas probably engaged long melee" inevitable that country music and R&B traditions and musical chemistries. When rural populism with R&B's trymusic's would

explosion called of rock.43 form latter-day In the field of country music, therewas nothing quite comparable to of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly the arrival in Nashville Parton within a short period in the 1960s. Each brought with her great talent and great ambitions, and by the beginning of the 1970s, each had
41 Ward, 100; Music, From Where Foundation

a musical

merge their cultural the fusion of coun did, they set off urban individualism rock-and-roll that still reverberates in its

offWild Disorder: Press Urges Strict Segregation Policy," Citizens' Council, February 1956, p. 2, as quoted inMichael T. Bertrand, Race, Rock, and Elvis (Urbana, 2000), 112 (quotation). 43 'N Roll," Southern Bertrand, Race, Rock, and Elvis; Steve Cummings, "Southern Rock The Rise Memphis: 1974), 23-26; Peter Guralnick, Last Train to Exposure, 2 (Spring-Summer of Elvis Presley (Boston, 1994), 289; Joe Esposito and Elena Oumano, Good Rockin' Tonight: Twenty Years on theRoad and on the Town with Elvis (New York, 1994); Greil Marcus, Mystery in Rock'n'Roll Music Train: Images of America 1982); Craig (1975; rev. ed., New York, (Urbana, 1996). Morrison, Go Cat Go! Rockabilly Music and Its Makers

Southern Music/American Just My Soul Responding, 28, 40, 44-49, 76; Malone, JohnW. Rumble, "The Artists and the Songs," liner notes to the three-CD set in Country Music, produced by the Country Music I Stand: The Black Experience covers of pp. 37^-5. Twenty examples of R&B (Warner Brothers 9 46428-2), country songs may be heard on From Where I Stand, disc two. 42 163; Ward, JustMy Soul Responding, 49-53; Carl Perkins, Turner, This Magic Moment, at http://www. on the Rockabilly of Fame website Hall interview by Jay Corbin 19, 2005); Asa Carter, in Birmingham (accessed October rockabillyhall.com/CarlPerkins.html 100; "Race Mixing Sets Ward, JustMy Soul Responding, News, April 11, 1956, p. 2, as quoted in

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32 become

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

HISTORY

a superstar with such breakthrough hits as Wynette's "Stand in and "Coal Miner's and Your Man" 1968, By Lynn's Daughter" Parton's "Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8)," both in 1970.44 It was natural thatmuch of theirmusic derived from their upbringings and personal experiences. They shared poverty-stricken childhoods and dreams of a career in country music, offering what seemed to them themost plausible path to freedom from a life of drudgery. Lynn was

of twelve children, growing up in a two-room shack in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, learning to sing and play the guitar from her musical family. Wynette was raised in a rural tar-paper shack in Mississippi

a Kentucky coal-miner's daughter, growing up in a log cabin in Butcher Holler in theAppalachians, married at thirteen toOliver Lynn, or Doolittle, hoping only to be a good wife and known as Mooney mother. She already had four children by the time she cut her first hit record. Parton was a Tennessee tobacco-farmer's daughter, the fourth

three, supporting her three children by working in a beauty parlor. decided thatLoretta should seek a career in country music, at Mooney least long enough to earn enough money to buy themselves a house. Then she could come back and raise the children. But his management skills never matched his ambitions. Dolly's career was a childhood

by her grandparents after her father died before her first and her mother went to work in a defense plant. She grew up birthday cotton and baling hay. Like Dolly, she learned to sing and chopping as a child. Like Loretta, she married before finishing the play guitar was school. She married at seventeen and divorced at twenty high

dream. At eighteen, the day after she finished high school, she caught the bus to Nashville. Tammy, while not giving up her day job in launched her singing career playing on local television Birmingham, and regional shows and auditioning in Nashville.45
44 All analysis of country music must begin with Malone's Country Music, U.S.A. The genre's lure to young southerners is clarified in themore personal perspective of his Don't Get Above Your Raisin', inRichard A. Peterson's sociological study of the country music industry,Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity (Chicago, 1997), and in Emery, Fifty Years Down a insider's account of the industry since the 1950s. Country Road, a Nashville 45 Lorraine Ali, "Get Back Home, Loretta," Newsweek, April 26, 2004, p. 52; Irwin Stambler and Grelun Landon, Country Music: The Encyclopedia (New York, 1997), 270, 362. See also Loretta Lynn with George Vecsey, Coal Miner's Daughter (Chicago, 1976); Lynn with Patsi Bale Cox, Still Woman Enough: A Memoir (New York, 2002); Tammy Wynette with Joan Dew, Stand (New York, 1979); Dolly Parton, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business By Your Man (New York, 1994); Mary A. Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann, Finding Her Voice: Women in 1800-2000 Country Music, (Nashville, 2003), 263-80 (Lynn), 281-310 (Wynette), 311-34

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Decca

Woman

be almost unbelievably lachrymose one she seemed the but next; minute, always triumphantly was In 1966 she signed by deeply and personally involved in her songs. Epic Records, and in 1967 two of her singles rose into the top ten: illusions behind. She could exuberant Wannna "I Don't "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" and her Grammy-winning with her "D-I-V-O she In charted House." 1968 again Play

Enough to Take My Man" and "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' on Your Mind." It rose to number one on the charts in with Lovin' a woman who had left her romantic like 1966. Tammy Wynette sang

Records and recorded three top-ten singles in four years: her in 1962, another, "Before I'm Over You," first, aptly named "Success," in 1963, and yet another, "Blue Kentucky Girl," in 1965. The following "You Ain't year she had two big hits with her own compositions,

Loretta Lynn sang like a woman who had learned more about life than she really wanted to know. But in her fragile yet defiant voice, she could sometimes turn secular songs into hymns celebrating the survival of the human spirit.When she came to Nashville, she was signed by

into a bright pasture. like coming out of the deep woods in 1964, singing in the hard-country sound Dolly arrived inNashville tonal she had learned as a child on the radio. Her rich, quavering listeners was shadings on her "Coat ofMany Colors" and her incongruously cheerful tone on "The Good Old Days When Times Were Bad," as she ex were like opening a win pressed the deceits and dangers of nostalgia, dow and letting fresh air in. She also charted with her "Coat of Many in 1971 and had number-one hits with "Joshua" in 1970, Colors" in 1974.46 "Jolene" in 1973, and "I Will Always Love You"

and her number-one hit, her "Take Me To Your World," R-C-E," "Stand By Your Man," which won her a second Grammy. She began that it's hard to be a woman") in an understated whisper ("Sometimes a on barrelhouse shout into the chorus full-voiced, suddenly exploded The effect on full of majesty and grandeur ("Stand by your man!").

308-9 U.S.A., (Wynette), 271, 310-11 (Lynn), 309-10 (Parton); Malone, Country Music, (Parton); Emery, Fifty Years Down a Country Road, 162-63 (Lynn), 258-62 (Wynette), 293-301 269-72 (Wynette), 362-65 (Lynn), 556-59 (Parton); Stambler and Landon, Country Music, Malone and McCulloh, eds., Stars of Country (Parton); Dorothy A. Horstman, "Loretta Lynn," in 318-21; Dixie Deen, "Tammy Finds Elusive Dream," Music City News, 5 (December Music, 1967), 3, 9; Pamela Wilson, "Mountains of Contradictions: Gender, Class, and Region in the Star Image of Dolly Parton," inCecelia Tichi, ed., Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars (Durham, N.C., 1998), 98-120. 46 Loretta Lynn Lynn may be heard on the three-CD boxed set Honky Tonk Girl: The

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34

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

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Since all threewomen lived their private lives in the public eye, they sang their lives on stage; but in each case there were ambiguous dissonances between their public personae and their private lives. Loretta Lynn was quite forthright on occasion. "As a woman you have to fight doubly hard in what is a male dominated industry," she said. also taken any 'male crap' over the years." She said that one drinking and tormenting no night, resolving to put up with Mooney's longer, she "sent his teeth a-scatterin'." But however strong-willed her personality, or her persona, in such songs as "Don't Come Home a "I haven't

Drinkin'

she was in many ways a very with Lovin' on Your Mind," traditional woman, her domineering husband until his standing by death in 1996. Tammy Wynette recorded songs urging men "Don't Liberate Me, Love Me" and women to "Stand By Your Man," but she divorced three of her husbands and died a few weeks into her fourth

marriage. She and her ex-husband George Jones recorded several hit songs about their star-crossed relationship. Dolly Parton was some times an outspoken feminist, but in some ways she embodied an ex

native region back so long. As an idealistic young graduate student at the University of South Carolina in the early sixties, I shared an apart ment in Columbia with three remarkable young southerners?Seiden and Dan Carter. We shared much more than an Smith, Hayes Mizell, apartment; we became lifelong friends.We saw the South as itwas, but we dreamed of the better South it could become. We knew that south erners could change, because each of us had changed. We became deeply

to the segregated South after two years of unsegregated experience in the United States Army; and I was eager to do my part in the new movement that was trying to eliminate the racism that had held my

aggeratedly feminine image.47 In the early sixties, at about the same time thatLoretta Lynn, Dolly Iwas returning Parton, and Tammy Wynette were coming toNashville,

involved in the civil rights movement and deeply involved in South Carolina organizing a statewide biracial student movement?the Student Council on Human Relations. Perhaps because I had learned to

Collection (MCA Nashville 11070); Wynette may be heard on Tears of Fire: The 25th Anniver sary Collection (Sony 52741); and Parton may be heard on the three-CD set Legendary Dolly Parton (BMG 762449). The three women may be heard together as Honky Tonk Angels (Sony

53414). 47 Peterson, Creating Country Music, 153; Feiler, Dreaming Out Loud, 17; Stambler and Landon, Country Music, 272 (first and second quotations, quoting Lynn); Ali, "Get Back Home, Loretta," 52 (third quotation, quoting Lynn).

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play the guitar in the army and knew a lot of freedom songs, I was elected its first president. At one of our conferences at Penn Center on one of the South Carolina St. Helena, Sea Islands near Beaufort, Andrew

taught us one of the greatest freedom songs to come Young a song that lifted our spirits and called us to out of the movement, even as it reminded us why courage was necessary: courage,
This may This may be be the last time, children, the last time, children, the last time, children, know.48

This may be It may be the last time, I don't

the leadership and the largest support base for themovement, men and women who risked not only their social standing but also their liveli hoods and their lives, and that produced people like the workers from South Carolina who took their great song that we know as "We Shall Overcome" to Highlander Folk School

I am proud of our involvement in the civil rights movement, While I can never forget that itwas blacks, not whites, who were at the center of the struggle. It was the grassroots black community that furnished

met Guy and Candie Carawan, who helped to spread these and other songs to activists across the South. These songs became anthems of the
movement.49

in the early 1940s. It was the grassroots black community that produced people like Alice Wine, of Sea Islands, who introduced Johns Island, another of South Carolina's the song "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize." It was on Johns Island that I

were white, but most of us were black. We marched along, singing and a parody of "Amen": innumerable verses of "We Shall Overcome"

I do not think any of us who witnessed or took part in the large mass demonstrations and marches will ever forget them. In August 1963, some two shortly after our marriage, my wife Jeannie and I joined on Washington. of us hundred thousand others in the March Many

48 Dan T. Carter, "Reflections of a Reconstructed White Southerner," in Paul A. Cimbala and Robert F. Himmelberg, eds., Historians and Race: Autobiography and the Writing of History in (Bloomington, 1996), 42^-3; Carter, "Scattered Pieces: Living andWriting Southern History," John B. Boles, ed., Shapers of Southern History: Autobiographical Reflections (Athens, Ga., 2004), 124-25; Charles Joyner, "From Here toThere and Back Again: Adventures of a Southern Historian," ibid., 149-50, 159-60; August Meier, Black History and theHistorical Profession, 1915-1980 (Urbana, 1986), 186, 194-96. The song is rendered from memory. 49 and "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," see Guy and Candie On "We Shall Overcome" (New York, Carawan, comps., We Shall Overcome! Songs of the Southern Freedom Movement 1961), 11, 111; Carawan and Carawan, "'Keep Your Eyes on the Prize': Cultural Work in the Sea 1985), 32-35; and Charles Joyner, Shared Traditions: Islands," Sing Out! 31 (October-December Southern History and Folk Culture (Urbana, 1999), 232-36.

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36
Everybody Everybody Everybody Free-dom.

THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN
wants wants wants Free-ee-ee-dom. Free-ee-ee-dom. Free-ee-dom.

HISTORY

Free-dom.

With
"Alabama

each

verse,
wants

the marchers
free?ee-ee-dom,"

substituted
"Mississippi

the name
wants

of a state?
free?ee-ee

etc. I wanted to hear "South dom," "Illinois wants free?ee-ee-dom," but nobody sang that. I mentally Carolina wants free?ee-ee-dom," resolved that at end of the verse we were singing, before anybody started another state, I was going to heist up "South Carolina wants
free?ee-ee-dom."50

"These new freedom songs were adaptations of our original freedom songs, the spirituals, old hymns, and labor movement songs," Andrew later write. "They provided a unifying force that cap Young would tured the spirit of the movement." One we used to sing was
turn me let nobody gonna turn me 'round. 'round, turn me turn me Ain't let nobody gonna gonna keep on a-walkin', Ain't Land. 'round, 'round,

keep on a-talkin', marchin' up to Freedom

honky-tonks, hootenannies, picnics, jook joints, jam sessions, brush arbors, revivals, and funerals, when against all odds men and women of all colors and astounding talents came together and created a multi faceted but distinctive southern music that has come to form the sound track of universal human stream of southern music

Inspired by such songs, we felt that themovement was unstoppable.51 The real story of southern music may never be completely told, for it is the saga of a thousand days and nights in a thousand hoedowns,

aspirations for a world in harmony. The a variety of species and a encompasses the world with accomplished creators myriad of styles, endowing and gifted performers in many musical forms. The significance of southern music is best revealed, however, not in the number of com posers or performers the region has produced but in how their creations have been both distinctively southern and universally meaningful.

50 A slightly different version of the lyrics to "Freedom" appears in Carawan and Carawan, comps., We Shall Overcome, 20. 51 Andrew Young, An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America (New York, 1996), 182-83. A slightly different version of the lyrics is printed in Carawan and Carawan, comps., We Shall Overcome, 60-61.

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For southern music has become the sound track of freedom everywhere on the planet. Out of odd fragments of old remembered hymns and ballads, spiri tuals and blues, marching cadences and ragtime rhythms, embodying their fondness and their resentment, theirmirth and theirmelancholy,

have also cre region's archetypal dreams and mythic realities?they ated an art of global significance. For southern music is multicultural, the product of one of theworld's great epics of cultural transformation. now recog After the achievements of all those southern musicians,

their strutting and their struggles, their ironic symbols, weary prayers, and tearful elegies; out of all the jagged splinters of the broken mirrors of their own culture, southern musicians have not only maintained their traditional role as guardians of the song?the their of deep repository

with the upheavals of an insecure world marked by centuries of slav ery, decades of discrimination, and generations of grinding poverty, but also empowers us to understand ourselves better and to renew our faith in the shared traditions that lie at the heart of our southern heri tage. Part of the appeal of southern music to students of the region is that it epitomizes so well many of themajor paradoxes of our history? our flaunted individualism and our vaunted community, our presumed conservatism and our regular outbursts of radical change, our sensitive the perplexing and our senseless violence, literary achievements chasms between our traditions and our creativity, and between our social segregation of southern music these paradoxes and originality. I was in Brazil and our cultural sharing. Not least of the attractions is that its creators offer us a model for reconciling and chasms, and they do so with astonishing ingenuity

nized throughout the world, what thoughtful southerner could remain unaware of our extraordinary musical heritage or doubt its enduring value? That musical heritage not only enabled our ancestors to cope

myself on a boat going back and forth across the divide between the the clear waters and the black waters. But after a few miles Rio Solimos and the Rio Negro unite; and when they do, they form I did not at first Amazon. river in the world?the the mightiest understand the symbolic significance of what I had seen, but

a few years ago, a thousand miles inland at a place two rivers come together?the Rio Just above Manaus called Manaus. and a river freshwater Solimos, coming down out of the mountains, a Waccamaw in beloved like river blackwater the Rio Negro, my not waters do South Carolina. When mingle. they first intersect, their I have videotape of They flow along, side by side, for a few miles.

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THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN

HISTORY

of theWaters. the Meeting It en call that phenomenon Brazilians ables us now to see the various forms of southern music no longer as separate streams that still divide us, but as a mighty river that unites us.

which

the authentic connections between Southern music?by emphasizing past and present, between black and white, and between the region and us the promise of a world in harmony, a world to the world?offers notes of hope. the southern past can offer illumination, and perhaps even a few

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