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Songsters

Big Ballad Singer 01 Aug 11 - 12:30 PM
Bettynh 01 Aug 11 - 01:16 PM
Big Ballad Singer 01 Aug 11 - 01:31 PM
Bettynh 01 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM
G-Force 01 Aug 11 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Songbob 01 Aug 11 - 03:19 PM
Stewie 02 Aug 11 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Songsters
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 12:30 PM

Well, there's some good news coming out of all the frustration I've been going through. Seems the major city/county seat where I used to busk has NOT cracked down on street performers, as our local 'grapevine' had suggested. I'm guessing it was a few CERTAIN people who were feeling the pinch because they tried playing in the wrong areas, near upscale businesses that had nothing to do with music (or booze, for that matter).

That means I will, the threat of heat-stroke notwithstanding, be able to get out and play and make some bread sooner than later!

I've been doing some reading and YouTube watching about 'songsters'... people like Mance Lipscomb, Furry Lewis, etc.

How many of these people do you associate with a 'songster' or, dare I say it, 'minstrel' tradition rather than a strictly 'blues' tradition? I dare say that many of the books I have read have lumped guys like Lewis, Lipscomb and others into a 'blues' category simply because they were black, and these same books have called someone like Jimmie Rodgers a 'country' singer or whatever, but rarely give him an unqualified 'blues singer' label, because he was white.

I LOVE the blues, and I LOVE the songster tradition that mixes ballads, dance numbers, blues, work songs and novelty numbers.

Who do you recognize as belonging to that tradition of the 'songster'? Living or dead, modern or vintage.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: Bettynh
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 01:16 PM

Do you know William Elliott Whitmore? His tunes and lyrics are pretty good but do start to sound all the same after a bit. Pay no attention to guitar or banjo when he plays (although he is getting better). Names his inspiration as Frank Profitt.

Do you know Steve Goodman?


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 01:31 PM

I've not heard of Mr. Whitmore before; I shall watch the video.

Steve Goodman, if it's the same Steve Goodman who wrote "City Of New Orleans" and other songs, is quite talented.

I don't know that I would necessarily consider him a 'songster', though... I'm thinking more of people who were itinerant performers and/or buskers before they were recording artists. Steve Goodman is certainly a varied and creative writer and performer, but I see him as more in the singer/songwriter mode than as a songster... the songster is, quite simply, a living jukebox, playing whatever to get the change clinking in the tip jar.

Excellent videos, though... thanks for sharing!


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: Bettynh
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM

Steve Goodman wrote "City of New Orleans" and some other great songs, but listen to this set for a taste of his showmanship.


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: G-Force
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 03:08 PM

Leadbelly?


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 01 Aug 11 - 03:19 PM

The late John Jackson is someone I'd call a "songster," (although the term is also regularly applied to songbooks, as you may well know).

John could go from a Piedmont blues to "I Remember the Day Clayton Delanie Died" without seeming out or place doing either number. He did Jimmy Rodgers, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Blake, and Jimmie Wakely and his ilk. He didn't do much real street singing, but was always available for house parties in his native Rapahannock Co., Virginia, even after being discovered by Chuck Perdue (founder of FSGW).

Bob Clayton


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Subject: RE: Songsters
From: Stewie
Date: 02 Aug 11 - 11:07 AM

For an exhaustive examination of this subject get hold of a copy of Paul Oliver's excellent 'Songsters and Saints: Vocal Traditions on Race Records'.

Songsters and Saints.

Oliver discusses Pink Anderson, Richard 'Rabbit' Brown, Henry Thomas, Gus Cannon, Jim Jackson, Luke Jordan, Lil McClintock, Julius Daniels, Papa Charlie Jackson, Bogus Ben Covington and dozens of others. The Matchbox label issued 2 double LPs 'Songsters and Saints Vols 1 & 2', but I am not aware that they have made it to CD.

--Stewie


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