Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fife and drums (2) : The Young Brothers by Alan Lomax

Ed Young & Brothers - Chevrolet (buy) (1959)

I finally got the "Sounds Of The South" boxset with recordings by Alan Lomax and it's a goldmine.

The Young brothers recordings I told you about in a previous post
are in my collection now, and I have to say that I agree with the guy who wrote that it's the best f&d band Alan Lomax recorded. And they sing ! And it's way better recorded than Lomax's previous tracks from 1942.

So here is the passage refering to the Young brothers performance in Lomax's book The Land Where The Blues Began :

He always danced as he played, his feet sliding along flat to the ground to support his weaving pelvis, enticing someone in the crowd to cut it with him, turning this way and that, always with dragging feet and bent knees, and always leaning toward the earth.
His brothers Lonnie and G.D. Young played with him, Lonnie at the tail of the orchestra beating the bass drum, and G.D., a tiny sprite of a man –like a little dried-up ginger root and just as peppy- on the snare drum. Once you looked closely, you saw that the mainspring of the action was Lonnie and his bass drum. Lonnie was tall, lean as a country hound, with a flat, shiny roach of hair on top, always laughing quietly and, when his drumsticks were breaking out, always dancing. Movements flowed from Lonnie's midsection throughout his body. He played the lead in the band's polyrhythm, his padded sticks making a low, murmurous, but heated comment on the squeals of Ed Young's fife, as G.D. Young, the little brother of the bunch, riffled the snare drum. They went in for subtle stuff, quiet stuff. They capered without lifting their feet; their shoulders, belly, and buttocks separately twitched to the beat.

Ed Young & Brothers - Jim and John (buy) (1959)

The dance, as you might suppose, began at once, the Young brothers supplying the music, and as participants there were wives, flirting half-grown daughters, cousins, kids, neighbors drifting in -all experts at the Delta slow drag. The chocolate tape was sliding off the reels and across the silver recording heads, while the needles on two meters jumped to the beat in the face of the big Ampex. This was 1959 and I finally had German mikes and a Cadillac of a recorder and I was doing stereo - the first stereo field recordings made in the South. You should hear the recordings – for me, a life's dream realized.

I love Alan Lomax, especially when he gets lyrical...

As I told you, fifes and quills were progressively replaced by a more powerful, more expressive competitor : the harmonica. After recording the Young bros, Lomax went to Arkansas where he found Forrest City Joe, a bluesman who played the harp with a band in the Sonny Boy Williamson style. Check out this great solo performance :

Forrest City Joe - Levee Camp Remiscence (buy) (1959)

Then after that, Alan tried to go to the Black part of town in West Memphis to find more musicianq, but immediately got busted and thrown out of town by two threatening cops. That was Arkansas in 1959...

Anybody interested in more Sounds of the South tracks ? Please let me know. It's a hard to find record and it costs like 200 bucks on Amazon ...

You can DOWNLOAD HERE the full Disc 2 of Sounds Of The South (97MB)


Anonymous said...

definitely interested in more tracks! thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is a great moment in perspective.
I am happy you brought this to my attention.
I'll spread the word around.

Funky Fred From France.

Cheap Viagra said...

you hear this music and you can still feeling the sound of the ancient era, the drums evoke the ancient memory, is like you hear the tribal sound.

Anonymous said...

link is dead brother!!