Thursday, April 21, 2005
glisten: FAMILY VALUES ELEVEN: SAY UNCLE
Al Hopkins and His Hillbilly Buckle Busters - "Old Uncle Ned"
Dad: This is a Stephen Foster song and not one of his better ones.
It's probably worth remembering that it was written in 1848, back when slavery was considered "politically correct." 'Uncle Ned' was recorded by several hillbilly artists back in the 1920's but I can't think of a single version by a black musician.
This version sounds a little stiff to me. There are more interesting renditions available by the Leake Country Revelers (Document, DOCD-8030), Fiddlin' John Carson (Document, DOCD-8015) and Uncle Dave Macon (Bear Family, BCD-15978 JM).
Mom: I like the banjo and fiddle arrangements, but I don't like it when subjects and music run counter too each other. You know: "the old darkie died, lalalalala!" It's offensive. I can't imagine you would want somebody to write a song about you like this after you were dead. Maybe they wrote it a long time after he died? Hee Haw.
Sis: “There was an old darkie and his name was Uncle Ed”?
I understand applying an historical perspective to music, but I think you still risk offending people when you play this song and I wouldn’t argue all too strongly against their reaction. What’s more, the refrain which says “he’s gone where the good darkies go” suggests to me that this is a distinct place from where the ‘good whiteys’ might go.
Musically, it’s nice enough, but I find it a little too... can I say dated? I certainly hope so.
Buy the third volume of "The Complete Al Hopkins and His Hillbilly Buckle Busters" from Amazon.
Here's an excerpt from the liner notes of this disc by Prof. Charles Wolfe:
"Their first big break came when they got a shot on the radio at Washington's WRC in January 1926; the station was deluged by letters, post cards, and phone calls, all with compliments and requests - so much so that Radio Digest did a feature on it. Though WRC was only a 500 watt station in those days, the signal carried both up to New York and down south to Virginia... the boys were so popular that they were asked to play at a White House function before President Coolidge... (t)he end of the Hill Billie's saga came... as a result of a grinding automobile crash in October 1932 in Winchester: [lead vocalist] Al Hopkins was killed."
Listen to more tracks by the Buckle Busters, in Real format.
Read this page dedicated to Charlie Bowman, famed Buckle Buster fiddler, listed as lead fiddle on this track.
Read this brief essay on the roots of country music.
Hopkins and his band are generally acknowledged as having popularized the term "hillbilly", for better or for worse.
The Mellotones - "Uncle Charley"
Dad: I hadn't heard this before. It's pleasant enough but I can't say that I find the hacking or coughing on this muddy recording particularly musical.
Mom: Is this a calypso song? It makes your shoulders bob, I know that much; it's awful playful. I would've liked to have known Uncle Charley; he sounds like he must have been a nice guy. Probably a beach bum.
What are those guttural sounds at the middle? Is he puking from a little too much partying? I bet this is a good dancing song; you can picture a grandmother and a granddaughter dancing to this. I just think it could have used a few more lyrics, in lieu of those strange sounds.
Sis: This is rocking! That infectious ska sound, the driving beat, the melodic keys, the bouncing guitar... and is that some sort of flute I'm hearing? It's charming and hip. I dig it!
Buy "Lee Perry's Upsetter Shop, Volume 2" from Amazon.
Perry is the producer on this cut from the Mellotones, a short-lived Orange Street crew vocal group.
Read this interview with Mellotones frontman, Winston Francis.
Read this interview with "Scratch" Perry.
If you're unfamiliar with Lee Perry, now's the time to educate y'self: Lee is one of the most innovative, original and influential producers of the twentieth century.
Snack on some of Uncle Charley's sweet Italian sausage.
I don't think anyone's ever documented the making of a film with quite this level of intensity and specificity: Kong is King has daily video updates on the production of the new Peter Jackson film.
Fuck a Jack Black; I'll still probably go.
Sugar Bush Squirrel: For the love of god, someone save this squirrel.
The tsunami pictorial is amongst the WRONGEST things I've ever seen; to say nothing of the Britney photos ("Nut Me Baby, One More Time"?!?!?!)
Ask Roots Manuva
Maybe not as complex as the subservient chicken, but with much better background music!
Podshanking is the closest we have to direct pod-2-pod transfer, but it's realtime only and is something less than high quality. You'd think a pod-2-pod device would be a natural product for someone to market.
Sadly, it's not.
"Which brings up the inevitable question. What, exactly, is on the First iPod?" (see also)
It's old by now, but still brill: Stuffed Animals Perfom the End of "Seven".
I had forgotten how bad Pitt was in this. He sounds downright peeved about Spacey killing his wife. Peeved, I say!