Vera Hall 1948

These recordings of oral history, play songs, blues, spirituals, and stories were made in 1948 when Alan Lomax invited Vera Hall to come from her home in Livingston, Alabama, to New York City for a concert (the only time in her life when she left Alabama). Her artistry and repertoire were brought to John A. Lomax's attention by Ruby Pickens Tartt, a painter and folklorist from Livingston who introduced Vera and her cousin, Dock Reed, to him in 1937. The elder Lomax recorded her again in 1940, describing her as having "the loveliest voice I had ever recorded." Alan Lomax used the oral histories of Vera Hall and Dock Reed as the basis of his book The Rainbow Sign (Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1959), a study of African-American spirituality. After her death in 1964, Alan Lomax eulogized: "It is from singers like Vera Hall that all of us who love folk music in America have everything to learn. Her performances were all graced with dignity and with love. Her sense of timing and beat were perfection itself... But all this is analysis. The mystery of Vera Hall and her art, while hinted at in the recordings we will always treasure, lies buried in the state where once the stars fell." In 2005 Vera Hall was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame.

New York City 5/48

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