3 CD Set
Includes 12 page illustrated booklet by Harry Bolick.
Primarily conceived as a way to get people and the economy back to work, Roosevelt’s WPA arts projects published state tour guides, collected ex-slave narratives, and collected folklore of all sorts, but especially folk music.
This set contains the complete fiddle and banjo field recordings collected by Herbert Halpert for his 1939 field trip in Mississippi. Then working with the New York chapter of the Federal Theatre project Halpert was drafted by the Federal Music Project to produce the recordings. An army ambulance was donated and renovated with WPA labor. The Library of Congress loaned recording equipment. The Presto 78 disc cutter, then the state of the art for portable recording equipment, was installed in the ambulance, which was later nicknamed the “Soundwagon.”
The expedition was one of the very last collecting efforts fielded by the WPA arts projects before being defunded by the anti-New Deal opposition. The quality of the documentation, photos, and recordings make it one of the most impressive of the WPA’s collecting efforts.
After the trip, the recordings were deposited and have largely remained unheard in the Library of Congress archives. A few tracks have been released by the Library of Congress on several of its LP recordings. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History produced an LP in 1987 with many fine tracks but this is the first time all one hundred and forty recordings have been made available.
This 3 CD set is released in conjunction with the book ‘Mississippi Fiddle Tunes And Songs From The 1930s’ by Harry Bolick and Stephen T. Austin, published by University Press of Mississippi.
Relevant Document albums
DOCD- 8065 & 8066 Narmour & Smith Vol. 1 & 2
DOCD- 8029 & 8030 Leake County Revelers Vol. 1 & 2
DOCD – 8009 & 8028 Mississippi String Bands Vol. 1 & 2
DOCD-5578, ‘Field Recordings Vol. 2: North & South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas 1926 – 1943’
DOCD 5577 ‘Field Recordings Volume 3 Mississippi 1936-1942’
DOCD 5578 ‘Field Recordings Volume 4 Mississippi & Alabama 1934-1942’