The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13068   Message #113074
Posted By: Sandy Paton
09-Sep-99 - 11:11 PM
Thread Name: Threads on the meaning of Folk
Subject: RE: Threads on the meaning of Folk
I read the FOLKDJ-L posts of playlists every day, Wally, and I must confess that I don't understand what these people mean when they refer to "roots" music. Is there some sort of recent re-definition that I've missed? I'm sure I know what you mean when you use the term. But these guys...??

Somewhere, Frank, you talked about playing Almeda Riddle for a class of rock fans to illustrate traditional music. Their reaction was negative. Maybe you challenged them with too great a leap for the first step. I love Almeda Riddle, but what might have been their response if you had played Vera Hall singing "Another Man Done Gone" (A Treasury of Field Recordings from the Library of Congress), or Bozie Sturdivant singing "Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down" on the same CD, or Alfred Karnes singing "Called to a Foreign Field" on (Traditional Music of Kentucky, Volume 1), or Laura Henton singing "I Can Tell the World About This" (How Can I Keep from Singing, Volume 1) or if you'd played that fabulous cut of the Pace Jubilee Singers singing "Oh, Death" on the second volume of How Can I Keep from Singing from Yazoo? Or almost anything ever recorded by Mississippi John Hurt?

Perhaps we should let our students take smaller steps. For an audience used to strongly African-American influenced popular culture, some of the superb non-professional African-American artists that represent the "roots" of that music would be more apt to win their admiration. (Karnes happens to be the only non-African-American artist in the above list.) One small step could lead to another.