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New Field Recordings by John and Alan Lomax

Album Cover of 'Lost Train Blues'

Jalopy Records partners with Mississippi Records to release 'Lost Train Blues' – compiled for Alan Lomax’s 100th birthday with never-before-issued field recordings.

This project excited me when I was told about it. What foresight some people had to make these recordings and preserve them! Read the entire release about this album, but here is a sneak preview of St. James Infirmary. Brooklyn’s Jalopy Records has rebooted its homegrown folk music record label with a brand new release, 'Lost Train Blues: John & Alan Lomax and the Early Folk Music Collections at the Library of Congress'. This collection, curated by Brooklyn Folk Festival producer Eli Smith, was compiled for the centennial of famed folklorist Alan Lomax’s birth. It will be released on vinyl and via digital download on April 8, coinciding with opening night of the Brooklyn Folk Festival.

The record features 22 selections from the vast holdings of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, most of them have never been issued before. The record includes work songs, ballads, blues, political and union songs, guitar, banjo and fiddle music and Native American vocal music.  These recordings were made between 1933 and 1950 and represent the birth of the folk music collections at the Library of Congress, now the largest repository of folk and enthographic holdings in the world. The record demonstrates the groundbreaking work of Alan Lomax and his father John Lomax, but also places them with the context of other important early field workers.

The deluxe record includes liner notes by Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg, as well as a 14 page booklet with photographs and original research about each song, artist and folklorist. The cover features an original lithograph by artist Jeff Tocci.  Each selection has been retransferred from original discs and tapes at the Library of Congress and has been carefully remastered by sound engineer Don Fierro for the best possible audio fidelity.

Jalopy Records has partnered with well-known Oregon based vinyl label Mississippi Records to manufacture and distribute this and future releases.  Jalopy Records is the record label of the Jalopy Theatre and School of Music, a grass roots cultural center for traditional music, located in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Here is the track listing:

Side A:

1. WPA Song by Clyde “Kingfish” Smith. Recorded by Herbert Halpert, NYC, 29 November 1939.

2. Longest Train I Ever Saw by Jesse Wadley, with John Wadley, Will Jones, and Felix Davenport. Recorded by John Lomaxwith Lead Belly acting as First Assistant (Alan sick with influenza), Bellwood Prison Camp, Atlanta, GA,11-12 December 1934.

3. The Moonshiner by Dawson Henson. Recorded by Alan Lomax and Elizabeth Lyttleton Harold, Botto on Billy’s Branch, KY, 11 October 1937.

4. Stavin’ Chain by Wilson “Stavin’ Chain” Jones, Charles Gobert and Octave Amos. Recorded by John and Alan Lomax, Lafayette, LA, June 1934.

5. Unfortunate Dog or Stony Point by Jess Morris. Recorded by John Lomax, Dallas, TX, May 1942

6. Leather Breeches by Carl Lathrop. Recorded by Alan Lomax, St. Louis, MI, 22 August 1938.

7. Lost Train Blues by Fred Perry and Glenn Carver. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, Florida State Farm (Raiford Penitentiary), Raiford, FL, 4 June 1939.

8. The Hard-Working Miner (Only a Miner) by James “Blind Jim” Howard. Recorded by John and Alan Lomax, Harlan County, KY, August 1933.

9. St. James Infirmary by Jesse Wadley. Recorded by John Lomax, Bellwood Prison Camp, Atlanta, GA, 11-12 December 1934.

10. Lamp Lighting Time in the Valley by Ruby and Oliver Hughes. Recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell, Crossville, TN, 23 November 1936.

11. Cherokee Christian Hymn by Helen, Luella and Juanita Hallmark. Recorded by Willard Rhodes, Eufala Boarding School, Eufala, OK, 1952.

12. My One-Eyed Ford by Boys Chorus of the Santa Fe Indian School. Recorded by Willard Rhodes, Santa Fe Indian School, Santa Fe, NM, 1940.

Side B:

1. Captain Haney Blues by Camp Morris and Group. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, Cherokee County, GA near Canton, November 1940.

2. Southern Rag by James Sneed, J.F. Duffey and Alvin Sanders. Recorded by Lewis Wade Jones and Willis James, Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, GA, 5-7 March 1943

3. Turkey in the Straw by Elmo and Bill Newcomer. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, Bandera County, TX near Pipe Creek, 3 May 1939.

4. Rye Whiskey by Elmo Newcomer. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, Bandera County, TX near Pipe Creek, 3 May 1939.

5. Desert Blues by Hattie Ellis and (“Cowboy”) Jack Ramsey. Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, The Goree State Farm for Women, Walker County, TX near Huntsville, 14 May 1939.

6. Hard Times by Rowena Knight, Mary Anne Knight, Thelma Hawthorne and Jerusha Hawthorne (Liberty High School Quartet). Recorded by John and Ruby Lomax, Newtown, TX, 16 May 1939.

7. I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister by Tillman Cadle. Recorded by Alan Lomax and Elizabeth Lyttleton Harold, Middlesboro, KY, 4 September 1937.

8. Battle in the Horseshoe by J.W. Russell. Recorded by Sidney Robertson Cowell, Marion, VA, 14 November 1936.

9. Travelin’ To That New Buryin’ Ground by Hammer Clarence Banks, Bob Bentley, Charlie Blake, Harold Vosburg. Recorded by John Lomax, Alan Lomax and Lead Belly, Reid State Farm, Boykin, SC, 19 December 1934.

10. Roosevelt and Hitler by Buster “Buzz” Ezell. Recorded by Lewis Wade Jones and Willis James, Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, GA, 1 August 1943