December 30, 2016

The Irish in America: Long Journey Home (1998)

Immigrant children
Brown Brothers, Immigrant children from Ireland, Ellis Island, New York, 1908
Courtesy of Records of the Public Health Service (90-G-125-29)

PBS's `The Irish in America' is engrossing, lively history
(PBS's `The Irish in America' is engrossing, lively history by Lynn Elber, AP television writer Published: Monday, Jan. 26 1998 12:00 a.m. MST)

"The Irish in America: Long Journey Home", an absolutely grand PBS documentary, pulses with so many choice images and characters that it's difficult to single out a favorite. But here's a leading candidate from this six-hour, three-night exploration of one facet of the American immigrant experience:Frank McCourt, author of the acclaimed Irish memoir "Angela's Ashes," and his brother, Malachy, are captured on film warbling a ribald ditty from the Irish-dominated Tammany Hall days of New York politics. That's the kind of film "The Irish in America" is - a beguiling mix of history and personality, of the big picture and the telling detail. It doesn't hesitate to stop for a cozy moment with McCourt and others who know how to bring a story, and a people, to life. "God bless him. He's the rock star of Irish America right now," said producer Thomas Lennon, reveling in McCourt's participation in the documentary (airing at 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday on PBS stations, including KUED-Ch. 7 in Utah). But it wasn't just the literary lion who was eager to take part. The film and companion book ("The Irish in America," Hyperion, $40) include contributions from the likes of writers Maeve Binchy and Pete Hamill and actor Jason Robards. The program's narrator is actor Michael Murphy.

The music was handled by Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains, who recruited Elvis Costello, Vince Gill, Van Morrison and Sinead O'Connor for the program. The documentary begins with the early Irish roots in America and the mass exodus caused by Ireland's potato famine of the mid-19th century. We follow the immigrants as they move into politics, business and culture and, finally, through the doorway of assimilation and acceptance. "The film we were trying to make is the story of this group of people transforming themselves from Irish to Americans," Lennon said. "They did that, and it was hard. It was costly and bloody, and yet a story full of joy. And in the process of changing themselves, they also left the country a different place." We encounter the familiar - such as boxer John L. Sullivan and politicos Al Smith and the Kennedy clan. And we discover lesser known aspects of the Irish-American experience, such as the Western mining empires they built. "The Monarch Notes version of Irish-American history is all an East Coast story," Lennon said. "I don't believe even well-read Irish-Americans know the story of the Irish in New Orleans or Virginia City, Nev., or Butte, Mont."

There's a lively, eloquent stream of talk throughout, as befits a culture known for its wordsmiths. Hard-living playwright Eugene O'Neill seemed as if he were "trying to commit suicide on the installment plan," says writer Thomas Fleming. Another writer, Peter Quinn, compares his reaction, on encountering golden boy John F. Kennedy on the 1960 presidential campaign trail, to that of "the Aztecs seeing Cortez." Serious, sweeping documentaries are a staple of PBS, and product tie-ins are increasingly so. But if the commercialism surrounding "Irish in America" seems more highly charged than usual, consider PBS' unusual partner in this: Walt Disney Studios. It was Roy Disney's personal interest - "I'd say personal passion," Lennon said - that lit the fuse for the $4 million, three-year project.

 Soundtrack ASIN: B001BHE1II
The Disney executive, nephew of founder Walt Disney, is of Irish ancestry and has a home in Ireland. There was a corporate passion as well, said Paul Villadolid of Walt Disney Network Television. Disney produced a series of documentaries in the 1940s and '50s, including Oscar winners, and wanted to return to the genre.Lennon said Disney gave him "creative support, no creative interference."He initially pondered such a project in the early '90s, after doing a film on Boston politician James Michael Curley, but was unwilling to tackle the required fund-raising. Then, in February 1995, Disney made him the offer he couldn't refuse. The timing was exquisite. "Irish and Irish-American culture is hot, hot, hot," Lennon acknowledged. "But this needs to be said: We started this project before (the musical) `Riverdance,' before `Angela's Ashes.' We were lucky."

December 28, 2016

Cold Mountain: Music From The Miramax Motion Picture

DMZ/Columbia/Sony Music CK-80843

Format: CD, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 2003
Genre: Folk, World, & Country, Stage & Screen
Style: Soundtrack, Bluegrass, Neo-Classical
01 Wayfaring Stranger: Jack White (4:26)
02 Like A Songbird That Has Fallen: Reeltime Travelers (3:14)
03 I Wish My Baby Was Born: Tim Eriksen, Riley Baugus & Tim O'Brien (3:09)
04 The Scarlet Tide: Alison Krauss (2:59)
05 The Cuckoo: Tim Eriksen & Riley Baugus (1:40)
06 Sittin' On Top Of The World: Jack White (3:48)
07 Am I Born To Die?: Tim Eriksen (2:33)
08 You Will Be My Ain True Love: Alison Krauss (2:32)
09 I'm Going Home: Sacred Harp Singers At Liberty Church (2:19)
10 Never Far Away: Jack White (3:40)
11 Christmas Time Will Soon Be Over: Jack White (3:17)
12 Ruby With The Eyes That Sparkle: Stuart Duncan & Dirk Powell (3:12)
13 Lady Margret: Cassie Franklin (3:02)
14 Great High Mountain: Jack White (4:33)
15 Anthem: Gabriel Yared (3:24)
16 Ada Plays: Gabriel Yared (3:18)
17 Ada And Inman: Gabriel Yared (5:03)
18 Love Theme: Gabriel Yared (3:40)
19 Idumea: Sacred Harp Singers At Liberty Church (3:18)
Producer: T Bone Burnett

December 27, 2016

Old Time Music of West Virginia: Ballads, Blues & Breakdowns Vol. One

County Records CD-3518

Format: CD, Compilation, Remastered
Country: US
Released: 1999
Genre: Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Old-time
01 Garfield March: Kessinger Brothers (2:58)
02 Sweet Bird: West Virginia Night Owls (2:56)
03 West Virginia Rag: Frank Hutchison (2:54)
04 Poca River Blues: Justice & Jarvis (2:58)
05 Bekley Rag: Harvey & Copeland (3:04)
06 Gonna Die With My Hammer in My Hand: Williamson Brothers & Curry (3:26)
07 Explosion in the Fairmount Mines: Blind Alfred Reed (3:18)
08 Stack-O-Lee: Fruit Jar Guzzlers (3:17)
09 Home Brew Rag: Tweedy Brothers (3:11)
10 The Miner's Blues: Frank Hutchison (3:14)
11 Underneath the Sugar Moon: Harvey & Copeland (2:51)
12 Sally Goodin': Kessinger Brothers (2:58)
13 Kentucky Bootlegger: Fruit Jar Guzzlers (2:58)
14 Warfield: Williamson Brothers & Curry (3:15)
15 You'll Miss Me: Blind Alfred Reed (2:58)
16 Lonesome Road Blues: Leftwitch & Lilly (2:41)
17 Muskrat Rag: Jarvis & Justice (3:08)
18 Liza Jane: McClung Brothers (2:42)
19 Ragtime Annie: Corn Cob Crushers (3:05)
Design: David Lynch, Remastering: Richard Nevins, Digital Mastering: Robert Vosgien
Recording Date: January 28, 1927 - December 23, 1931

December 25, 2016

Mother Mabel* Carter: Dixie Darling

Mountain Dew Records S-7014

Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue
Country: US
Released: 1967
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Country
A1 Dixie Darling
A2 Storms Are On The Ocean
A3 Victory Rag
A4 Faded Coat Of Blue
A5 Cumberland Gap
B1 The Dying Soldier
B2 John Hardy
B3 Are You Tired Of Me
B4 Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
B5 Flowers Blooming In The Wildwood
Maybelle Carter (guitar/vocals) Producer: Shelby Singleton & Jerry Kennedy
Recorded at Columbia Recording Studio, Nashvile, TN. October 1963
Cover and label list her name as Mother Mabel* Carter. Notes and credits list her name as Mother Maybelle* Carter

December 15, 2016

Times Ain't Like They Used To Be: Early American Rural Music

Yazoo 2028

Series: Classic Recordings Of The 1920s and 30s. Vol. 1
Format: CD, Compilation, Remastered
Country: US
Released: 1997
Genre: Blues, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Old-time
01 Blues In The Bottle: Prince Albert Hunt
02 Dollar Bill Blues: Charlie Jordon
03 Lost John Dean: Bascom Lamar Lundsford
04 Streak Of Lean, Streak Of Fat: A.A. Gray & Seven Foot Dilly
05 Sinking Of The Titanic: Richard "Rabbit" Brown
06 Tennessee Girls: Dykes Magic City Trio
07 Shotgun Blues: Bob Campbell
08 Train On The Island: J.P. Nestor & Norman Edmonds
09 The Fault's In Me: The Four Wanderers
10 The Tail Of Haley's Comet: Happy Hayseeds
11 Wake Up You Drowsy Sleeper: The Oaks Family
12 How You Want Your Rollin' Done: Louie Lasky
13 Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss: Frank Blevins & His Tar Heel Rattlers
14 On The Road Again: Memphis Jug Band
15 The Dying Soldier: Buell Kazee
16 Voice Throwin' Blues: Buddy Boy Hawkins
17 Been On The Job Too Long: Wilmer Watts & The Lonely Eagles
18 Fannie Moore: Ken Maynard
19 I Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape: Nugrape Twins
20 The Old Miller's Will: Carson Brothers & Sprinkle
21 Skinner: Winston Holmes & Charlie Turner
22 How To Make Love: Southern Moonlight Entertainers
23 Old Jimmie Sutton: Grayson & Whitter
Art Direction: Joan Pelosi, Cover Photo: Jim Bolman, Producer and Remaster: Richard Nevins, Sleeve Notes: Charles Wolfe and Don Kent

December 11, 2016

Nobel Laureate in Literature 2016 Banquet Speech by Bob Dylan

Banquet speech by Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate in Literature 2016, presented at the Nobel Banquet by the United States Ambassador to Sweden Azita Raji.
Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.

I’m sorry I can’t be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I’ve been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.

I don’t know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It’s probably buried so deep that they don’t even know it’s there.

If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I’d have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn’t anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.

I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn’t have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I’m sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: “Who’re the right actors for these roles?” “How should this be staged?” “Do I really want to set this in Denmark?” His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. “Is the financing in place?” “Are there enough good seats for my patrons?” “Where am I going to get a human skull?” I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare’s mind was the question “Is this literature?”

When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.

Well, I’ve been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I’ve made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it’s my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I’m grateful for that.

But there’s one thing I must say. As a performer I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.

But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life’s mundane matters. “Who are the best musicians for these songs?” “Am I recording in the right studio?” “Is this song in the right key?” Some things never change, even in 400 years.

Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, “Are my songs literature?”

So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.

My best wishes to you all,
Bob Dylan
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December 10, 2016

Muleskinner Live : Original Television Broadcast


Format: DVD, Color, NTSC
Country: US
DVD Released: 1992
Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Style: Bluegrass
01 New Camptown Races (2:53)
02 Dark Hollow (2:34)
03 Land Of The Navajo (5:49)
04 Blackberry Blossom (2:32)
05 Knockin' On Your Door (3:08)
06 Opus57 In G Minor (2:03)
07 Red Rocking Chair (3:25)
08 Going To The Races (1:56)
09 Eighth Of January (2:44)
10 I Am A Pilgrim (4:51)
11 The Dead March (2:41)
12 Sitting Alone In The Moonlight (2:42)
13 Orange Blossom Special (4:44)
Richard Greene (fiddle) Peter Rowan (guitar/vocals) Clarence White (guitar/vocals) Bill Keith (banjo) David Grisman (mandolin/vocals) Stuart Schulman (bass) Maria Muldaur (chorus)
Television producer: Alan Baker, Director: Allan Muir, Audio engineer: Tom Ancell
Recorded a live audience on February 13, 1973 at KCET television studios, Hollywood, CA. The TV show was first broadcast in September 1973.