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Carlin, Bob. THE BIRTH OF THE BANJO: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy. . NEW copy, trade paperback. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010). 7x10. 39 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index, 203 pp.

~~~ Joel Walker Sweeney was, in essence, the Elvis Presley of the 1840s. A professional banjo player, Sweeney introduced mainstream America to a music (and musical instrument) which had its roots in the transplanted black culture of the southern slave. Sweeney, an Irish-American born midway between Richmond and Lynchburg, Virginia, sampled African American music at a young age. He then added more traditional southern sounds to the music he heard, in essence creating a new musical form. The only avenue available to a professional banjo player was that of traveling minstrelsy shows and it was this route which Sweeney used to bring his music to the attention of the public.
~~~ Beginning with the banjo’s introduction to America and Great Britain, the book examines early banjo music and covers the evolution of American minstrelsy (i.e., black face) and the opportunities it provided for artists such as Sweeney. Correcting previous fallacies and misconceptions (such as Sweeney’s supposed development of the five-string banjo), the work discusses Sweeney’s roots, his music and his contribution to the physical development of the instrument. An appendix contains a performance chronology. The work is also indexed.

$30.00



Lilly, John (ed). MOUNTAINS OF MUSIC: West Virginia Traditional Music from Goldenseal. NEW copy, paperback. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999). 8.5x11. 224 pages.

~~~ From fiddle tunes to folk ballads, from banjos to blues, traditional music thrives in the remote mountains and hollers of West Virginia. For a quarter century, "Goldenseal" magazine has given its readers intimate access to the lives and music of folk artists from across this pivotal state. Now the best of "Goldenseal" is gathered for the first time in this richly illustrated volume. Some of the country's finest folklorists take us through the backwoods and into the homes of such artists as fiddlers Clark Kessinger and U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, recording stars Lynn Davis and Molly O'Day, dulcimer master Russell Fluharty, National Heritage Fellowship recipient Melvin Wine, bluesman Nat Reese, and banjoist Sylvia O'Brien. The most complete survey to date of the vibrant strands of this music and its colorful practitioners, "Mountains of Music" delineates a unique culture where music and music making are part of an ancient and treasured heritage. The sly humor, strong faith, clear regional identity, and musical convictions of these performers draw the reader into families and communities bound by music from one generation to another. For devotees as well as newcomers to this infectiously joyous and heartfelt music, "Mountains of Music" captures the strength of tradition and the spontaneous power of living artistry.

$33.95



McGee, Marty. TRADITIONAL MUSICIANS OF THE CENTRAL BLUE RIDGE: Old Time, Early Country, Folk and Bluegrass Label Recording Artists, with Discographies. . NEW copy, trade paperback. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2010). 6x9. 67 photos, bibliography, index, 245 pp.

~~~ The Central Blue Ridge, taking in the mountainous regions of northwestern North Carolina and southwestern Virginia, is well known for its musical traditions. Long recognized as one of the richest repositories of folksong in the United States, the Central Blue Ridge has also been a prolific source of commercial recording, starting in 1923 with Henry Whitter’s “hillbilly” music and continuing into the 21st century with such chart-topping acts as James King, Ronnie Bowman and Doc Watson. Unrivaled in tradition, unequaled in acclaim and unprecedented in influence, the Central Blue Ridge can claim to have contributed to the musical landscape of Americana as much as or more than any other region in the United States.
~~~ This reference work—part of McFarland’s continuing series of Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies—provides complete biographical and discographical information on more than 75 traditional recording (major commercial label) artists who are natives of or lived mostly in the northwestern North Carolina counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Surry, Watauga and Wilkes, and the southwestern Virginia counties of Carroll and Grayson. Primary recordings as well as appearances on anthologies are included in the discographies. A chronological overview of the music is provided in the Introduction, and the Foreword is by the celebrated musician Bobby Patterson, founder of the Mountain and Heritage record labels.

$25.00



Wolfe, Charles K. and Ted Olson. THE BRISTOL SESSIONS: Writings About the Big Bang of Country Music. . NEW copy, trade paperback. (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005). 6x9. 65 photos, notes, bibliography, index, 306 pp.

~~~In the summer of 1927, nineteen bands gathered for a recording session in Bristol, on the Tennessee-Virginia border, including some of the most influential names in American music—the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman and more. Organized by Ralph Peer for Victor records to capitalize on the popularity of “hillbilly” music, the Bristol sessions were a key moment in country music’s evolution. The musicians played a variety of styles largely endemic to the Appalachian region. Rather than attempting to record purely traditional sounds, however, Peer sought a combination of musical elements, an amalgam that would form the backbone of modern country music. The reverberations of the Bristol sessions are still felt today, yet their influence is widely misunderstood, and popular accounts of the event are more legend than history.
~~~ These 19 essays offer an examination and reevaluation of the Bristol sessions—from their germination, to the actual sessions, to their place in history and their continuing influence. The first section discusses technological advances that resulted in the unmatched quality of the Bristol recordings. The second section chronicles the people and musical acts involved in the event. The third section gives first-hand accounts of the Bristol sessions, while the fourth presents musicological studies of two of the prominent acts. The final section details subsequent recording sessions in Bristol and nearby Johnson City, and explores the lasting local musical legacy.

$35.00





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