Collectors, fans, and musicians may find these two works of interest.
I am watching a BBC documentary about earliest human history. The presenter suggests that what allowed European Homo Sapiens to outlive their more robust, better adapted cousins the European Neanderthals was – can you guess? – art and music. Art and music created cultural identity across broader geographic regions and for larger tribes and served to preserve the weaker, smaller brained Homo Sapiens. With this perspective, the importance and influence of the arts for any culture has greater urgency than ever.
Song in America our Musical Heritage by Burl Ives (1962) collects 311 folk songs, arranged by Albert Hague. Even in our modern era the words of folk songs can vary widely from region to region, artist to artist, and decade to decade. It is good to have another reference, especially one so complete.
A Treasury of Stephen Foster (1946) includes historical notes that lend context to Foster’s work, including his use of themes from African slavery and minstrelsy. Cultural theft? A good faith attempt to strike universally recognizable sentimental notes of loss, longing, and fun in spite of it all?
“Foster composed about two hundred songs and a few instrumental pieces… a half dozen rank with the world’s greatest ballads; at least twenty-five of them have become American folksongs and more than fifty are well worthy of preservation.” Collected songs are arranged for piano by Ray Lev and Dorothy Berliner Commins.
If you are interested, please contact us at winecountrybooksnapa at gmail. Best wishes, and happy reading – or in this case, playing and singing.
A friend recently gave me the Ray Davies tribute album This is Where I Belong. It brought my adolescent crush on Davies back in an overwhelming rush. In my heartstruck state I have been doing some research and found out just how much growth and innovation the Kinks and Davies personally contributed to early rock and roll.
So naturally this one comes to mind when I sit down at my Wine Country Books desk for the first time in too long. How I’ve missed you, books! I got me an exercise ball chair… I got me a stack o’ books… In here in the dark I can hear the birds singing sweetly out there. It is an unseasonably beautiful November day here in wine country, perfect for photographs of my lovely books. To work!
(First Edition, First Printing, Little Brown and Co 1995)
Midnight Riders was a bestseller. Scott Freeman was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize while at the Macon Telegraph and News. Just looking at the title forced me to crank up some Allman Brothers.
Don’t even try to tell me those first few Hammond B3/acoustic notes don’t make your heart stir in recognition and fellow-feeling. Arrangement, vocals, lyrics…
“tells of the brothers’ difficult childhood: their extraordinary self-education in the world of Southern blues and r&b; their unsuccessful early musical incarnations; and their triumph as they rose to unimaginable wealth and success…” drugs, Dixie Mafia connections, tragedy, loss, and musicians and storytellers at the very top of their craft… what’s not to love?
Get Midnight Riders: The story of the Allman Brothers Band by Scott Freeman at your public library. If not there, buy the first edition, first printing here. Condition VG+ (book pristine, appears unread, dust jacket shows shelf wear including shine partially rubbed away)
A steal at $30 and shipping is free! Email winecountrybooksnapa at gmail dot com.