Note: Vera Hall doesn't know if Railroad Bill was ever caught [he was indeed shot and killed. -Ed.]. Rich Amerson, who taught her these songs, told her that both Railroad Bill and Stagolee were colored men.
About the session: This session of oral history and songs represents the only time that Vera Ward Hall left her home state of Alabama. She was invited to New York by Alan Lomax to perform in the Fourth Annual Festival of Contemporary American Music at Columbia University in the City of New York, May 10th through May 16th, 1948, sponsored by the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University. Vera performed on Saturday, May 15th, 8:30pm, at the McMillin Theater. The concert was entitled "Ballads, Hoe-Downs, Spirituals (White and Negro), and Blues," with performances by Texas Gladden, Hobart Smith, Jean Ritchie, Brownie McGee, Vera Hall, Dan Burley, Pete Seeger, and narrations by Alan Lomax. These recordings were made not at the concert, but during the remainder of Vera Hall’s stay in New York with Alan Lomax. Lomax is joined by his wife Elizabeth, their daughter, and an unidentified couple, who can be heard throughout the session. This session is comprised of tapes recorded at 15 IPS, probably used as working sequences for a possible LP. Alan Lomax used an echo box to produce the effect heard on Vera Hall's voice. These recordings have been compiled into an individual session because they were not recorded as candid interviews, but as conscious attempts at professional recording for commercial release. One of the tape boxes is given a date of Sunday, May 23rd, and this date has been assumed for the entire session.
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