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Texas Prison singers

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Salty Dog 08 Oct 98 - 06:02 PM
Barry Finn 08 Oct 98 - 06:50 PM
Zorro 09 Oct 98 - 05:07 AM 11 Oct 98 - 03:24 AM
Barry Finn 11 Oct 98 - 01:10 PM
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Subject: Texas Prison singers
From: Salty Dog
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 06:02 PM

I looking for musicians who have spent time in Texas prisons. Know about Texas Alexander, Leadbelly, but want to know more. I'm writing about the Texas Prison System. Credit will be given to sources. Recording, etc. of Texas music people.

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Subject: RE: Texas Prison singers
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Oct 98 - 06:50 PM

Salt Dog, see collections by Allan Lomax - "Land Where The Blues Began" & Bruce Jackson - "Wake Up Dead Man" (both site who their source/singers were). Both Lomax & Jackson have CD recordings of their collections. Barry

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Subject: RE: Texas Prison singers
From: Zorro
Date: 09 Oct 98 - 05:07 AM

Not much help, but I recall reading about my favorite all time blues singer, Sam "Lightin'" Hopkins, something that said he still bore the marks of the chain gang around his ankle. L' was born in Ceterville Texas and lived most of his live in Houston. In the book, Country Blues, Sam Charters does a chapter on Lightin' and makes no mention of prison.

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Subject: RE: Texas Prison singers
Date: 11 Oct 98 - 03:24 AM

In the above mentioned "Land Where the Blues Began", Lomax interviews and records a man named "Bama". This is at a later date than some of the others and the guy might still be around. He said he would look up Lomax when he got out for help getting recording work, but I am not aware of recordings by him.

Bukka White and Son House were also in Southern Prisons; but I don't know if they were in Texas.


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Subject: RE: Texas Prison singers
From: Barry Finn
Date: 11 Oct 98 - 01:10 PM

Murry, Bama probably wouldn't be around now, Lomax recorded him 50 yrs ago while on Parchman Farm , Mississippi. A better shot would be the inmates Jackson recorded in Texas back in the mid to late 60's on the Ramsey - camps 1&2, Retrieve & Ellis farms, Wynne would've been where he recorded inmates that were to old to work the camps but they also had the older versions of some of the songs he was recording. I just went over some of the stuff I have, I've been trying to find connections between the prison work songs & sea shanties & found that Jackson recorded "Drinking That Wine" which was also collected by Lydia Parrish in 42 on the Georgia Sea Islands & by Odum & Johnson in 25, it also turns up as a being sung by the Manhaden Chantymen, along with another song "I'm Gonna Roll Here" which bares a very close resemblence to "Old Alabama", in tune, phrasing & words, that Lomax recorded on Parchman Farm in 47-48. I'm going a little off track here but thought it may be of some interest. Barry

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