HV/Series/Episode/ Work by: Ginna Allison · Jay Allison · Katie Davis · Barrett Golding
Hearing Voices from NPR®
108 Making Music: For a Living, For a Life
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2011-01-19
“Making Music” (52:00 mp3):
Making music, for a living, for a life:
The Maddox Bros. & Rose were America’s Most Colorful Hillbilly Band. In the 1930s, 40s & 50s, the four brothers and sister/singer Rose paraded thru America in their colorful Cadillacs and cowboy outfits. “Their costumes make Liberace look like a plucked chicken,” said Tennisee Ernie Ford.
Born to sharecroppers in Boaz, Alabama, they rode the rails and hitch hiked to California in 1933, where they formed the band. Their sound was both old-timey and western swing; their rhythms helped plant the roots of rockabilly. Ginna Allison’s sound-portrait features interviews with Rose Maddox, Tennesse Ernie Ford, Cliffie Stone, and her co-prodcuer on this piece, TJ Meekins of KVMR-Nevada City CA. (Images: Maddox Bros. & Rose: Myspace, Rockin’ County Style)
A preacher’s son, met in a North Carolina thrift shop, comes over the house to play guitar, and talk Jesus, G chords, and Gilligan’s Island. Carmen’s grandmother would not approve. Produced by Jay Allison for This American Life (PRX).
Deacon EZ Malone at his church, Philippians Christian Fellowship, Portsmouth VA
On the streets of Mexico City, a whistler, known for tunes that can last a half-hour, performs for pesos and the occasional applause.
“Whenever anyone asks me what it was like, working with the Works Progress Administration and recording Florida folksongs back in the 1930s for the Library of Congress, I tell them we were as excited as a bunch of kids on a treasure hunt.”
–Stetson Kennedy, “A Florida Treasure Hunt“
From 1937 to 1942, WPA recordists (among them, author Zora Neale Hurston) hauled a portable disc-recorder across Florida, from the Cross City turpentine camps to the Clara White Mission soup kitchen in Jacksonville, gathering the musics of the region. They created a document of depression era African-American life and culture. These Library of Congress archival recordings, from the American Memory Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, are narrated by recording-expedition leader Stetson Kennedy.
“Dear Lord, this is Eartha White talkin’ to you again. I just want to thank you for giving mankind the intelligence to make such a marvelous machine, and a President like Franklin D. Roosevelt who cares about preserving the songs people sing.”
–Eartha White, Clara White Mission
Produced for NPR (transcript) with funding from the Florida Humanities Council, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Folklife Center Parsons Fund. (End music: “Stetson Kennedy,” written by Woody Guthrie, performed by Billy Bragg and Wilco on Mermaid Avenue Vol. II).
“The most robust and lusty songs of road and camp sprout in this area like corn in April.”
–Zora Neale Hurston, “Proposed Recording Expedition into the Floridas“