November 2, 2015

Blues and Rhythm Show 203 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)


Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, November 3rd, (1:00-2:30 pm).

What we know about the roots and vernacular music of the first half of the twentieth century we know largely from the commercial recordings of the period plus the field recordings by the Lomaxes and a few other folklorists and their recording devices. An additional resource from recent years has been the recordings of traditional musicians by later generations of field researchers–Frederick Ramsay, Harry Oster, George Mitchell, David Evans and Art Rosenbaum are a few of the names. Memories fade and performances may change imperceptibly over time but traditional artists can provide previously unheard songs, versions of songs and different ways of playing and singing them.   Through the recordings obtained by these modern song collectors, and from interviews they conducted, we know more about styles of music that are already represented in the recordings of the time as well as styles that were underrepresented on record, such as African-American banjo music, or hardly represented at all,  like the fife and drum ensembles of Mississippi. Some musicians and singers reached back to the era before blues and country music were of interest to the record industry and played and sang in older (pre-1920) styles

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We have a brief feature on recordings by Art Rosenbaum. Without his efforts, we can guess that a small circle of blues musicians in Indianapolis, including the great Scrapper Blackwell,  would not have recorded in the early 1960s, but Rosenbaum’s researches brought any number of unusual and unexpected performances and performers to tape. Some of Rosenbaum’s taped recordings were available on mostly forgotten and now collector’s item LPs but much of the material only became available to a broad public when the Dust to Digital company commissioned a compilation of his recordings that became a pair of 4-CD sets. We’ve organized a feature set of recordings that includes black and white versions of blues as well as some gospel recordings. Art Rosenbaum’s interests extended beyond blues and old-time country to ethnic musics, including Norteno and Cajun music and French Canadian fiddle music. While other field collectors scoured the South, Rosenbaum found fascinating and signficant music in the northern states as well as a lot of music from Georgia, where he moved in 1976. 

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Also on the program this week,  some R&B recordings involving tenor player, producer and arranger, Maxwell Davis; something from Harrison Kennedy’s latest and  Grand Prix du Disque award winning album, This Is From Here; plus a couple of other modern roots performances and songs about work in the modern era.

On the Show:

Bumble Bee Slim – Percy Mayfield – Harrison Kennedy – Shirley Griffith – Jake Staggers – Mabel Cawthorn – Traveling Inner Lights – Maurice John Vaughan – Artie “Blues Boy” White – a.o.

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.msumcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until November 30th.


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Contact Us:

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (November 1oth)

Next week, a selection of favourite tracks, all styles, all eras. We may need to take a week off November 17th. On November 24th, we plan to present part 2 of our blues hits of the 1950s special feature but that’s subject to change.


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