Anthology of American Folk Music

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April 20, 2006


Jack Vaughan

This eternal note of sad .... well, worth noting. Onward celestial monochord!

John Culpepper

John Cohen is a marvelous resource and I wish he or someone would write a book about his experiences. His work has been rather over looked and he must have so many stories. He knows so much and has seen so much.

I think John Cohen sincerely believes he coined the term "high lonesome", but according to a thread on Mudcat cafe, in a published review of a book by Charles Wolfe, the eminent folklorist D. K. Wilgus, noted that Alan Lomax had used the term in 1941:

"The term 'high, lonesome sound' was not 'originally coined to describe the singing of Roscoe Holcomb in the early 1960s' (p. 155). I recall Alan Lomax using it to describe the singing of Aunt Molly Jacson at least as early as 1941."

However it was not original with Lomax, but apparently was an old folk expression he picked up. It occurs in a blues Lomax recorded sung by Lucius Curtis, and is mentioned by Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie. And I think even occurred on a 1950s country recording. (In Southern slang it also means a going on a "bender",i.e., a drinking spree.

All this information and more can be found on an interesting hread on Mudcat Cafe

BTW, while talking about the Voyager CD don't forget the wonderful work of Ethel Raim and Martin Koenig recording the music of the Balkans, some of which found its way into the disc.

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