Note Well! I will not post, nor will I distribute, readings included in the Anthology package you were asked to purchase!!!

Week 1: Liner Notes from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, Volume 4, in two parts:

Ed Sanders – Biographical Essay on Harry Smith

Cohen Essay and Harry Smith Interview Excerpts

These readings are drawn from material accompanying a CD whose music is beyond the scope of this course. Reading the attached material is all you need to do!

Week 2:

Bill C. Malone, Singing Cowboys and Musical Mountaineers: Southern Culture and the Roots of Country Music (University of Georgia Press, 1993), ch. 2, pp. 43-68.

Week 3:

Geoffrey O’Brien, Sonata for Jukebox: An Autobiography of My Ears (Counterpoint Press, 2004). Chapter 5, pp. 105-129.

Week 4:

Friedman, Albert B. The Penguin Book of Folk Ballads of the English Speaking World: Introduction, pp. ix-xxxv.

Child, Francis James. The English and Scottish Popular Ballads: Vol. 4, pp. 360-9.

Campbell, Olive Dame, and Cecil James Sharp. English Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians: pp. iii-xxiii, 119-127

Week 5:

Brown, Cecil. Stagolee Shot Billy: Introduction, pp. 1-18

Nelson, Scott Reynolds. Steel Drivin’ Man: John Henry: The untold Story of an American Legend, Chapter 6, pp. 93-117.

Week 6:

Excerpt from liner notes of Good For What Ails You: Music of the Medicine Shows – 1926-1937.

Wondrich, David. Stomp and Swerve: American Music Gets Hot, 1843-1924: Part I, pp. 20-41.

Townsend, Charles. Negro Minstrels, from Watkins, Mel, Annemarie Bean, James V. Hatch, and Brooks McNamara. Inside the Minstrel Mask: Readings in Nineteenth-Century Blackface Minstrelsy. pp. 121-125.

Week 7:

Conway, Cecelia. African Banjo Echoes in Appalachia: A Study of Folk Traditions, Chapter 1, pp. 55-83.

Week 8:

Jones, Leroi. Blues People: Negro Music in White America, pp. 60-80

Palmer, Robert. Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta, pp. 23-47.

Levine, Lawrence W. Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom, pp. 217-232.

Week 9:

Wolfe, Charles K., and Ted Olson. The Bristol Sessions: Writings About the Big Bang of Country Music, pp. 66-86.

Week 10:

Liner Notes from Rounder Records’ LP The Social Harp: Early American Shape-Note Songs From Singing School and Campmeeting

Week 11:

Barry O’Connell essay on Dock Boggs

Gioia, Ted. Delta Blues. pp. 347-358, 370-380

Transcript of Dock Boggs Interview

Week 12:

Jorge Luis Borges, The Witness


6 Responses to “Readings”

  1. martin goldman Says:

    The reading assignment is not clear. Where is volume four and what are liner notes. I assume that we are to print out the Sanders and Cohen pieces but it is not clear. Thank you

  2. Don Bashline Says:

    Marty – Sorry for the lack of clarity. Liner notes are written material that accompany CDs or, in the old days, LPs. The two files I’ve posted were copied by me from the liner notes that came with Volume 4 of the Anthology, which is not part of the Anthology package you purchased for this course, and which we will not be listening to. I included them because they are the best source of biographical information on Harry Smith. Don’t worry about Volume 4 – the assigned readings are the Sanders essay and the Cohen essay & interview excerpts.

    Whether or not you print the readings is up to you. Once you download them you can open them and read them on your screen or print them out – whatever you want to do. It might be useful to have a copy to bring to class, but again, that’s your choice. I’m assuming that you can download the files and open PDF files on your computer.

    I hope this answers your question – thanks for posting it here!

    • David Christy Says:

      Hello sir, I appreciate the material you’ve uploaded here. Good selections & very informative. I’m looking to track down scans of the entire set of liner notes to Harry Smith’s Anthology Vol. 4, but I haven’t been able to find them anywhere. Do you know where I might find them or, better yet, would you be willing to upload them yourself?

      I would greatly appreciate your time & help.

  3. Mark Says:

    Don- There is an interesting book review in the NYTimes 11-9-08 of

    Delta Blues: the Life and Times of the Mississippi Masters Who Revolutionized American Music, by Ted Fioia

    The url I’ve posted may require an id/password, give it a try. I can copy and post it but that may be bad copyright manners.

  4. George Y Cha Says:

    Hi Don,

    A house keeping question. Next week (11/25/08) is “week 9”. Please confirm the reading assignment to be “The Bristol Sessions”.



  5. Don Bashline Says:

    confirmed – don’t forget to visit the website, too!

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