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Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?

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outfidel 15 Aug 05 - 06:02 PM
Joe Offer 15 Aug 05 - 09:00 PM
bobad 15 Aug 05 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 15 Aug 05 - 09:45 PM
DADGBE 15 Aug 05 - 10:28 PM
GUEST 15 Aug 05 - 10:33 PM
GUEST,The Old Mole 15 Aug 05 - 10:34 PM
GUEST 15 Aug 05 - 10:47 PM
BanjoRay 16 Aug 05 - 07:21 AM
outfidel 16 Aug 05 - 10:17 AM
Judge Mental 16 Aug 05 - 01:48 PM
Bev and Jerry 16 Aug 05 - 06:57 PM
Lighter 16 Aug 05 - 07:19 PM
Lighter 16 Aug 05 - 07:23 PM
johnross 16 Aug 05 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Obie 17 Aug 05 - 11:01 AM
outfidel 18 Aug 05 - 08:31 AM
Bill D 18 Aug 05 - 11:46 PM
Severn 19 Aug 05 - 12:17 AM
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Subject: Harry Smith anthology - Jimmie Rodgers?
From: outfidel
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 06:02 PM

When Harry Smith assembled his great Anthology of American Folk Music, he included 4 songs by The Carter Family. But he didn't include any songs by Jimmie Rodgers. Rodgers and The Carter Family are credited with launching country music on record with their 1927 Bristol sessions.

Why didn't Smith include any Rodgers tunes? Was Rodgers "too popular", i.e. not obscure enough for Smith's purposes? Was Rodgers "too modern", i.e. too similar to 1950s Grand Ol Opry sound of Smith's day?


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 09:00 PM

Interesting question. I think I'd say that the Jimmie Rodgers recordings don't have the "traditional" feel of the Carter Family songs and the others in the Anthology, but that's just my own opinion.

In other words, Rodgers sounds like one of them singer-songwriter fellers - but I like him a lot, nonetheless.
-Joe Offer (note my minor change in thread title)-


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: bobad
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 09:10 PM

Joe

Are you trolling Shambles again?

    Who? Me?????
    Shhh!
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 09:45 PM

I agree with Joe.

Art


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: DADGBE
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 10:28 PM

It seems like Smith was on the search for old, wierd music. He was not a musicologist but an artist and certified wierd person himself. Harry was a friend and associate of Alan Ginzberg. God bless us, wierdos all!


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 10:33 PM

Smith was interested in commercial recordings, as opposed to the kind of fleld recordings the Lomaxes did. He wanted to collect the kind of music that had been made to sell, to be popular. So he wouldn't have rejected Rodgers for that reason.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: GUEST,The Old Mole
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 10:34 PM

"Guest" above being The Old Mole. I thought I was registered here...guess not.
    I think you're TheOldMole - if so, I sent you instructions on how to reset your Mudcat cookie.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Aug 05 - 10:47 PM

Soon to begin scanning letters - and attempting script regonition - old family correspondnce with James.

The software is "almost' there.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:21 AM

I'm sure I read somewhere that Harry Smith mainly got his recordings from a huge pile of 78s that had been gathered to turn into aircraft parts in WWII, so if Jimmy Rogers wasn't in the pile he'd have missed him. I assume the gathered records were all stuff people didn't want to keep, and maybe they wanted to keep JR.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: outfidel
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 10:17 AM

Supposedly, Smith was a record collecting fanatic -- so I don't think he relied on just a single source. I would imagine Jimmie Rodgers records were widely available in the early 1950s, since he sold considerably more during his lifetime than the original Carter Family did.

I'm also curious as to why Smith didn't include any Blind Blake in the Anthology. He did include Blind Lemon Jefferson & Charley Patton (Masked Marvel), who were the other 2 country blues giants of the 1920s. I wonder if Blake's ragtime style sounded "too modern" to Smith's ears.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Judge Mental
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 01:48 PM

When Harry Smith put together the Anthology in 1952 everything in it was supposedly out-of-print and one of the reasons that Folkways got away with releasing what was then essentially a bootleg was that the companies that then owned the masters didn't care at the time.

This is just me thinking out loud, so don't take it as gospel, but perhaps the Rodgers material was in-print at the time (although I'm surprised that the Carter Family stuff would have been out-of-print and not the Rodgers).

BTW, when Smithsonian Folkways reissued the Anthology a few years ago, they did it in cooperation with all of the record companies who owned the rights to the original masters.

Another theory I would offer is that Harry Smith was a total eccentric ant everything he did made sense. Try watching some of his films.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 06:57 PM

The Harry Smith Anthology consisted of three volumes. He was planning at least three more volumes but they never got finished. Who knows what he would have included it the project had come to completion?

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:19 PM

A Fourth Volume (yes ! ) was issued not too long ago on John Fahey's "Revenant" label. It consists of material that Smith had indeed listed for Vol. 4, which he never got around to completing. It would be nice to know whether his choices for further volumes are also known.

I bet CAMSCO can get Vol. 4 at a discount.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 07:23 PM

And it could be that the rights holders wanted more than Smith could afford for any Rodgers material. He was a very big star in his day, much bigger (I think) than anybody else Smith reissued. Several collections of his music are currently on CD.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: johnross
Date: 16 Aug 05 - 09:51 PM

The Jimmie Rodgers catalog is one of those things (like Caruso) that RCA kept in the catalog forever. I would guess that Harry Smith was limiting his Anthology to out-of-print material.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 17 Aug 05 - 11:01 AM

A bit of thread drift perhaps but a comment on the first post:
The Carters and Rogers deserve credit for launching country recordings, but overlooked are some who came before them, especially Henry Whitter who was also part of the Bristol Sessions, and who had been recording years earlier.
          Obie


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: outfidel
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 08:31 AM

> When Harry Smith put together the Anthology in 1952 everything in
> it was supposedly out-of-print...perhaps the Rodgers material was
> in-print at the time

This seems like the most logical explanation for Rodgers' omission (not that Harry Smith was bound by the rules of logic or anything).


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Aug 05 - 11:46 PM

In the notes it says "The eighty-four recordings in this set were made between 1927, when electronic recording made possible accurate music reproduction, and 1932 when the depression halted folk music sales."

He also notes that "During this 5 year period American music still some of the regional qualities evident in the days before the phonograph..."

so it seems that he was limiting his choices in several ways, much as suggested above. Jimmie Rodgers was too 'polished' to fit the criteria, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Harry Smith anthology - why no Jimmie Rodgers?
From: Severn
Date: 19 Aug 05 - 12:17 AM

Another thing about Smith's anthologies was the music itself (as opposed to the recordings) covered songs of earlier vintage than
the 30's and the Depression Era. Volume 4 tends to have a lot more later vintage songs and begins to touch on things more current to that time period. I would like to see what he had outlined for the other volumes, as Rodgers' music would be more of a piece with what was on Volume 4 than what was on the first three volumes. The collection was limited by what Harry Smith was able to pick up, but he seemed to put his own crazy logic to the sequencing and flow that maybe some more thorough academic collectors might not have handled in the same way. We're not talking about Lomax and his resources here! I guess the middle ground between the two might have been Frederick Ramsey's Jazz anthology on Folkways, where someone with an academic background built a study within the limits of private collections of mostly out of print works on 78's.

Severn


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