Note: Recollection of the piano being seen as a sinful instrument; congregants saying the church was being turned into a barrelhouse. Lomax asks about incidents on the levee camp, prompts Haffer with question about cocaine - he recites Take A Whiff On Me, and discusses the distribution of bad-man songs among the general population. Continues with discussion road-gang and timber songs. Haffer sings fragment of John Henry. Recollections of old-time square dances with fiddle and French harp (harmonica) and "calling figures." Lomax prompts his memory with ballads like Barbara Allen and the Gallows Pole; Haffer says he recalls Casey Jones, but hums a fragment of Casey Bill instead. Haffer recites Birmingham Jail/Bird In A Cage, which he says was his favorite song. Discussion moves to banjos, tent shows, "floating palaces," and changing musical tastes and repertoires. Talks about Joe Turner and the popularity of the song about him, played on guitar, dating it around 1900. With Lomax's suggestion, he says Make Me A Pallet On the Floor and Alabama Bound were contemporaneous, and that the guitar eclipsed the banjo in popularity. "They thought they was progressing."
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Archive ID: 6622B
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