Country music legend George Jones died Friday in Nashville at the age of 81. Few artists have lived as hard as a character in a country song as The Possum. Born and raised in Texas, George Glenn Jones grew up with the roughnecks, cowboys, and lonely hearts of the East Texas oil-fields that populated the honky-tonk bars of Beaumont where Jones first made his mark.
In tribute to old Possum, we pulled out his first single recorded in 1954 for Pappy Daily’s Starday Records, the classic “No Money In this Deal,” Southern Folklife Collection call number 78-12324. Listen to that guitar intro (and what kind of name is “Loyce”?):
Jones’s incomparable knack for phrasing and brilliant vocal slides are already on full display. We listened to it three times in a row because it’s just so darn good. For me, however, it’s the b-side, “You’re In My Heart,” that made me a lifelong fan so many years ago. Play this one and let it sink in deep. The next time you are confronted with turmoils of the heart, ask yourself, what would George Jones do? Rest in peace, George Jones.
Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, 1966
(Buck Owens, Don Rich, Willie Cantu, Tom Brumley, Doyle Holly)
The photo above appears as part of Visualizing American Roots Music, an exhibit presented by the Southern Folklife Collection of twenty rare and unique photographs of iconic musicians. On view in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room of the Wilson Special Collections Library through Dec. 31, 2013.
The great Herb Remington joined up with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys his first day out of the armed Services in 1946. He auditioned in a hotel room in Los Angeles and immediately started a four-year stint with the Playboys during one one of their most productive periods. It’s no easy feat to walk into a job once held by Leon McAuliffe, but Remington brought his own style to the gig and made it his own with numbers like “Boot Heel Drag” and the tune featured here, “Remington Ride.” Listen to Remington’s classic track from Pure Remington Steel, call number FC-16229, recorded in Houston, Texas for the Stoneway label in 1973. We love the “wah” effect on Remington’s steel at the end of the track.
Even better, Texas legends Bob White and Clyde Brewer twin fiddle on this track. Get more steel guitar this weekend at the Southern Folklife Collection Steel Guitar Concert and Symposium. More info here.
Tickets are still available for the last symposium and concert in the Southern Folklife Collection Instrument Series. The symposium is free to the public. The concert is $15 in advance or $19 at the door. More information below. We hope to see you Saturday.
Southern Folklife Collection Presents “The Steel Guitar”
March 23, 2013
300-G East Main Street, Carrboro
Ticket information: (919) 929-2787, ext. 201
Steel guitar music will be the focus of a concert and symposium at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, N.C. The Southern Folklife Collection in UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library will sponsor the event on Saturday, March 23.
The symposium will begin at 2 p.m. with lectures by music scholars John Troutman, assistant professor of history and geography at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Tim Miller, a Ph.D. student in musicology at UNC. At 3 p.m., steel guitar artists Allyn Love and Cindy Cashdollar will demonstrate playing styles and techniques.
That evening, a concert at 8 p.m. will feature Chris Scruggs and His Steel Guitar, followed by Cindy Cashdollar with Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun.
The symposium is free and open to the public. Concert tickets are required for the evening performances. Admission is $8 for ArtsCenter Friends and UNC students and employees, and $15 for others ($19 day of show).
The event is the third and final symposium/concert in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Instrument Series, which also featured tributes to the banjo and the fiddle. To learn more about the series, contact Liza Terll, email@example.com, (919) 548-1203.
*Special guest post by Laura McPherson, UNC-SILS graduate student and SFC assistant*
As we wait with baited breath for the Southern Folklife Collection’s Steel Guitar Symposium and Concert [symposium is free to the public, tickets to the concert are available to purchase] to begin on Saturday, March 23, we’ve scoured our serials holdings to bring y’all some interesting items on the steel guitar, its history, and the musicians who love it.
Jerry Byrd and his steel guitar grace this cover of this 1963 issue of Fretts. The Southern Folklife Collection holds a number of Byrd’s recordings, including Admirable Byrd: The Steel Guitar Music of Jerry Byrd.
Inside the magazine, an article penned by Byrd sets himself as the defendant in a courtroom drama where the prosecutor represents his fans, whose questions run the gamut from “amusing” to “accusing, and abusing.” Later in the article, Byrd claims that the steel guitar is the most controversial instrument and reacts to attempts to standardize the instrument, relegate its use to the genre of country music, and elevate technique above the musicians’s emotional expression.
The SFC also holds Volumes 1-3 of Steel Guitar World Magazine, whose tagline, “Just for the love of steel’en” (or steelin’, depending on the issue), can be seen below on this creative cover from the November 1992 issue.
So whether you call it the pedal steel, slide steel, lap steel, dobro, or just plain steel guitar, swing by the Southern Folklife Collection to check out some of these marvelous magazines and join us on Saturday, March 23, at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro for the final event in the Southern Folklife Collection’s Instrument Series!