The Arhoolie album (LP only I think--so far) was fairly recent compared to the 1935 Lomax recordings. It was a concert in Berkeley, California if I remember right. They actually brought Spence in for a concert in the U.S. Leaves me wondering if he did any other dates on that trip---a tour of some kind---and whether or not those concerts/gigs were recorded.
There is an "out-of-tune" aspect to some of Joseph's playing that makes him, like great Scotch, an acquired taste. His singing too---takes a while to become positively endearing--but it truly does do that very thing. But after that---you love the smell of the burnt pete every time you pour a frsh shot or two into your glass.
I'm wondering if anyone else thinks Joseph actually had his guitar tuned slacker than concert pitch. A full note or two lower. This would make consistent notation accuracy hard to establish all through a particular song.