La Vielle Amerique Bizarre


The title is (I hope) “The Old, Weird America” translated into French, “the old, weird America” being the phrase author Greil Marcus used to characterize the music Harry Smith (the Harry whose name this blog carries) included in his 1952 masterpiece, The Anthology of American Folk Music.

Why French? Because, as I learned in a recent post on The Celestial Monochord, a blogger from France has created the Anthology blog to end most, if not quite all, Anthology blogs. He calls it The Old Weird America, and his project thus far has been to do a post for each Anthology song. He’s up to song number 19, Frank Hutchison’s version of Stackalee, and this post follows the format of most of the others: an informative written introduction to the singer and the song, a few references, and an amazingly comprehensive collection of downloadable music. The Stackalee post contains almost all of Frank Hutchison’s recorded output (only alternate takes are missing), and sixty (60!) versions of Stagger Lee. Copyright considerations are apparently thrown to the winds at The Old Weird America, but for those to whom that makes no difference, it’s a collectors paradise. If you’re at all interested in the Anthology or in American music, you’ve got to stop by. Tell them Harry’s Music sent you.

Since the title of this post is in French, I figure I’ve got to post a French video with it, right? So here are the McGarrigle sisters with Complainte pour Ste-Catherine, from their absolutely essential first album. Please enjoy!


3 Responses to “La Vielle Amerique Bizarre”

  1. david young Says:

    although the song is Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the video is not them, but 2 people lip synching to their song.

  2. B Ruml Says:

    If that isn’t the Anthology blog to end all Anthology blogs, which one is? Absolutely amazing!

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