The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #167906 Message #4056500
Posted By: GUEST,Joseph Scott
01-Jun-20 - 12:29 PM
Thread Name: John Lomax's credibility, an example
Subject: RE: John Lomax's credibility, an example
Regarding would those three singers sing the same stanza that similarly, realistically no (and you look up what Enoch Brown really sang for J. Lomax and... where is it), but maybe this helps:
In his 1912 letter printed in the Donaldsville _Chief_ the very distinctive
"Long come the Katie Adams with her headlight turned downstream
And her side-wheel a-knocking, 'Great-God-I-been-redeem'"
is attributed to the black "Mississippi riverman."
But much later he's saying he learned it from Dink, in 1908, or 1904, depending on when he's writing. (If Dink existed, which I think she did, it seems likely that he recorded her in the summer of 1909 or summer of 1910 while he was mostly concentrating on cowboy songs, funded by two guys from Harvard he knew. His story that he later tried to look up Dink in Mississippi and someone there knew who he was talking about rings rather false.)
His 1917 article has lyrics lifted without credit from Prescott Webb's 1915 article in the Journal of American Folklore about bluesman Floyd Canada; some of those he altered for the 1917 article and some not. So in some cases that's Dink pretend-singing what Floyd Canada sang about five years after her, and he does have a qualification in the article that Dink didn't really sing everything he's saying she sang. (!) But no mention of Canada and Webb.
Anyway, caveat emptor.