Dienstag, 24. Oktober 2017

Joshua White & His Carolinians - Chaing Gang (1940)

Most blues enthusiasts think of Josh White as a folk revival artist. It's true that the second half of his music career found him based in New York playing to the coffeehouse and cabaret set and hanging out with Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, and fellow transplanted blues artists Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. When I saw him in Chicago in the 1960s his shirt was unbuttoned to his waist à la Harry Belafonte and his repertoire consisted of folk revival standards such as "Scarlet Ribbons." He was a show business personality — a star renowned for his sexual magnetism and his dramatic vocal presentations. What many people don't know is that Josh White was a major figure in the Piedmont blues tradition. The first part of his career saw him as apprentice and lead boy to some of the greatest blues and religious artists ever, including Willie Walker, Blind Blake, Blind Joe Taggart (with whom he recorded), and allegedly even Blind Lemon Jefferson. On his own, he recorded both blues and religious songs, including a classic version of "Blood Red River." A fine guitar technician with an appealing voice, he became progressively more sophisticated in his presentation. Like many other Carolinians and Virginians who moved north to urban areas, he took up city ways, remaining a fine musician if no longer a down-home artist. Like several other canny blues players, he used his roots music to broaden and enhance his life experience, and his talent was such that he could choose the musical idiom that was most lucrative at the time.
- Barry Lee Pearson, AMG

"Chain Gang" was a set of four 78rpm records recorded June 4, 1940 in New York City and released in the same year by Columbia with the follwing tracks:

- Chain Gang Boun'
- Nine Foot Shovel

- Trouble
- Goin' Home Boys

- Cryin' Who Cryin' You (part 1)
- Cryin' Who Cryin' You (part 2)

- Told My Cap'n
- Jerry

"Chain Gang" was produced for Columbia records in 1940, under the sponsorship of John Hammond, and within the next year Josh would become ubiquitous in the leftist folk music world. He was singing on Alan Lomax’s CBS radio programs, and acting as accompanist and sometimes vocalist for the Almanac Singers, the loose-knit group of agit-prop folkies centered around Pete Seeger, Lee Hayes, Fred Hellerman, and often Woody Guthrie. Featuring a vocal group called the Carolinians that included White's brother Bill and future civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, "Chain Gang" moved White's music further in the direction of pointed social commentary.

From the liner notes:
"Columbia Records proudly presents what is perhaps the most genuine folk music of our times...seven Negro laments of the chain gang sung by Joshua White and his Carolinians"

(192 kbps, front cover included)

3 Kommentare:

Gerard Herzhaft hat gesagt…

Thank you very much for those ultra rare records!

zero hat gesagt…

You are welcome. Greetings!

muddyw123 hat gesagt…

Rare and O So Fine. TX!

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