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elizabeth cotten stories

DigiTrad:
FREIGHT TRAIN
OH, BABE IT AIN'T NO LIE


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dobs 13 Aug 03 - 09:25 PM
Candyman(inactive) 13 Aug 03 - 09:50 PM
harpgirl 13 Aug 03 - 09:53 PM
Don Firth 14 Aug 03 - 01:17 PM
Ely 14 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,larry ellis jr 20 Sep 11 - 07:42 AM
ChanteyLass 20 Sep 11 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,999 20 Sep 11 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,P. Raas 28 Nov 11 - 09:16 AM
Mark Ross 28 Nov 11 - 11:00 AM
open mike 28 Nov 11 - 12:26 PM
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Subject: Folklore: elizabeth cotton stories
From: dobs
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 09:25 PM

When I was in the Army and stationned at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu HI in 1979, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a woman scheduled to give a concert near Waikiki Beach in a public outdoor stage. The performer was Elizabeth Cotton. Hers was one of the first songs my buddies taught me to play on the guitar long befor this concert - "Freight Train." I knew it well and always wondered if I ever got it right.

This amazing woman gave two concerts that day and I was at both. One at about 1 pm and one later. She played gospels and some songs she knew well and she told a story to us in the audience.

When her brother (I think) went to the fields to work she would sneak his guitar out from under the bed. Ms Cotton was left-handed. She said she learned to play it "upside down". She was caught with it one day and was forced to buy her own guitar. She said it cost about $5.

The evening concert went on and on. She was by my guess 75-80 at the time and the guy who ran the concert had to make her stop playing.

I have the playbill (program) somewhere in a guitar case with a sketch of Ms COtton on it.
I got her to autograph it and she gave me a big hug and a kiss.

It was a very moving day for me. Just think, she said the was her FIRST TRIP out of Georgia ever. I was so lucky to attended both concerts.

What a wonderful thing. I just played Freight Train tonite and wandered onto the internet and there you were.


God Bless Ms Cotton. What an amazing Person.

Dennis D. Doblar, Ph.D., M.D.
Professor of Anesthesiology and Engineering
University of Alabama
Birmingham
USA

Please let me know if you found this interesting
ddd


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Subject: RE: Folklore: elizabeth cotton stories
From: Candyman(inactive)
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 09:50 PM

It was a very moving day for me. Just think, she said the was her FIRST TRIP out of Georgia ever. I was so lucky to attended both concerts.

It may have been her first trip to Hawaii, but it wasn't her first trip out of Georgia. Elizabeth Cotten (not Cotton) was from North Carolina and spent much of her adult life (including her years with the Seegers) living in the Washington, DC area.

Elizabeth, or Libba, travelled widely throughout the 1960s and '70s for concert, coffeehouse and festival appearances. I met her on numerous occasions at the Newport and Mariposa Folk Festivals.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: elizabeth cotton stories
From: harpgirl
Date: 13 Aug 03 - 09:53 PM

I love Elizabeth Cotten! I am glad to hear your story! I have watched the video of Libba Cotton from my local library, many times and I saw her perform once, in person. I am on my way through Birmingham tomorrow to spend some time at Desoto Falls Park. Do you know of any jams up that way? harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Folklore: elizabeth cotton stories
From: Don Firth
Date: 14 Aug 03 - 01:17 PM


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Subject: RE: Folklore: elizabeth cotton stories
From: Ely
Date: 14 Aug 03 - 08:28 PM

My parents saw her at the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when they were in graduate school (before my time). Sorry I missed it. They weren't quite sure who she was at the time but my mother remembered her and ran out to buy me a CD when I started taking guitar lessons (she bought me two, actually--Elizabeth Cotten and Brownie McGhee. I still can't play like either one of them).


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: GUEST,larry ellis jr
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 07:42 AM

My great grandmother was always a kind loving sweet woman but what I remeber most was the way she would make anyone feel like family. She will always be missed and loved. I love u mamma SIS


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:02 PM

If you have grandchildren, you might want to click on the first related thread at the top of this page to find out about the picture book Elizabeth's Song.


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 10:50 PM

Guest Larry,

Your great grandmother is well loved by folks today all over this world. She was a wonderful and a respected guitar player. That lady had determination and even more determination. She inspired so many younger guitarists who faced challenges. I can see you're really proud of her, and she deserves it.


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: GUEST,P. Raas
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 09:16 AM

I always loved this great lady, too. The biography I found at Yahoo Music fits with what I remember about her:

http://music.yahoo.com/elizabeth-cotten/biography/


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: Mark Ross
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 11:00 AM

I first met Miss Libba in 1968 when I was in Washington on the Poor Peoples Campaign. I had come down to D.C. with the NY contingent, but somehow I ended up living with the folks from the Highlander School, Myles Horton and the like. The Georgia Sea Island singers were there also. Pete Seeger and his family showed up. Alan Lomax, Ralph Rinzler, and others would come by, and one night Elizabeth Cotten showed up with dinner, the best fried chicken I have ever had.
A couple of years later I went to D.C. for the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. I ran into MIss Libba and she invited me and my wife to lunch. She cooked up enough food to serve a battalion!
When I worked at the NY Folklore Center we booked her for a concert. I went up to the train station to meet her train and to help carry her guitar and suitcase down to the store. That night at the concert she was enjoying herself so much on stage (we had to be out of the church by 11), it was almost impossible to get her off stage. I kept giving her the "one more" sign but she encored FREIGHT TRAIN 4 times. It was a treat to hear her. She stayed that night with Rick Altman and his wife Chrissie (Rick had taken over the store after Izzy Young decamped for Sweden). They tried to give her their bed , but she refused and insisted on sleeping on the couch.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: elizabeth cotten stories
From: open mike
Date: 28 Nov 11 - 12:26 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cotten She was discovered by the folk-singing Seeger family while she was working for them as a housekeeper. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm5-WdB_aVE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUK8emiWabU&feature=related


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