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Podcast: Episode 15, on Winter Songs, Is Ready for Listening!

Episode Fifteen of the Folklife Today Podcast (or Season 2, Episode 3) is ready for listening! Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on iTunes, or with your usual podcatcher.

Five men in lumbering clothes stand on a large log in the snowy woods, with long axes in their hands. Behind them, another man holds the reins to two horses in harness.

“The Loggers.” Unknown photographer, circa 1890. Detroit Publishing Company. LC Prints and Photographs Division. Find the archival scan here!

Get your podcast here!

In the episode, John Fenn, Thea Austen, and I look at classic songs about winter. In the podcast, we talk about AFC’s symposium about Robert Burns, which is online at this link, and about the Voyager Golden Records, which Bertram Lyons wrote about in this blog post.

My own first song choice for the episode was a great lyric love song called “I Rode Out One Cold Winter Night,” by Hettie Swindel of Freeling, Virginia. Swindel was recorded by Herbert Halpert in April, 1939. This item has never been available online before, so I’ll place it in the player below. In the podcast, we play only the song, but as you’ll hear in the player, Halpert also interviewed Swindel on the discs he made of her, and you get a good sense of her personality from the recordings. If you listen to the end, you’ll hear her opine: “I like…the old, lonesome tunes the best.”

The other individual songs we talk about are available online, either here or at other websites, so I’ll drop in some links below.

John’s first choice was “Welfare Blues” sung by Sampson Pittman and Calvin Frazier for Alan Lomax in Detroit in 1938 . You can find it with full discographic information at this link.

Thea’s first pick, “The Bells of the Church of St. Thomas,” a hardanger fiddle tune played by Loretta Kelley, is part of the Homegrown concert by Andrea Hoag and Loretta Kelley. The concert video is available with biographies of the performers and other information, at this link. The tune occurs 16 minutes into the performance.

Thea’s second pick, the Georgian table song “Zamtari” or “The Winter,” is online at the Association for Cultural Equity website, at this link.

Seven men in Cossak costume, with large furry hats and black robes and boots, posing as if at a feast.

Seven men in Cossak costume, posing as if at a feast, Georgia (Republic).” Unknown photographer, ca. 1900. James Guthrie Harbord Collection. LC Prints and Photographs Division. Find the archival scan here!

As Thea points out in the podcast, there’s also a brief interview about the song “Zamtari,” which is online at this link. You can follow the links from these performances to Lomax’s three sessions with Georgian singers in the 1960s.

John’s second pick is the lumberjack classic “Once More A-Lumbering Go,” sung by Carl Lathrop in Saint Louis, Michigan, in 1938. It’s available with full discographic information at this link.

For my second pick, you’ll have to wait for part two of this epic two-parter about Winter Songs–coming in February!

Although this blog provides links to all the songs we talk about, we do really want you to listen to the podcast itself. We love talking about our favorite songs, and we try to tell their stories in an entertaining way. (We’re also endearingly nerdy, or so we are often told!) So, just for ease of reference, here’s the link to the podcast one more time!

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