Note: Discussion of the Devil and the fiddle. Lomax tells Texas and Hobart about the myths of the Devil teaching fiddlers to play. Texas and Hobart have never heard of these, but Hobart mentions the fiddle tune “John Brown Dreamt the Devil was Dead.” Texas makes an astute point by saying that perhaps John Brown dreamed the Devil was dead so he would no longer feel guilty about playing sinful music.
About the session: In 1946 Alan Lomax invited the prolific ballad singer Texas Gladden of Saltville, Virginia, and her brother, multi-instrumentalist Hobart Smith, to perform with Andrew Rowan Summers and Jean Ritchie at Columbia University's McMillan Theater as part of a festival held by the university. During their stay in New York, Alan conducted extensive interviews with them Decca Studios—these interviews, as well as performances from that session, comprise this collection. Alan also introduced them to Moses Asch, who issued an album later that year on his Disc label (later Folkways) as "Texas Gladden Sings Blue Ridge Ballads." According to John Cohen, "Within a few years, Smith's guitar picking was heard in New York's Washington Square folk music scene, where 'Railroad Bill' was especially imitated."
The rights to the audio, photographic, and video materials contained within the Lomax Digital Archive are administered by various publishers, record labels, collectors, estates, and other rights holders. Any uses, commercial or not, must be cleared by the specific rights holders. For questions regarding the use of any material on the LDA, please contact Permissions.
Do you have something to add, or do you see an error in this record? We'd love to
hear from you.