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Lyon College Class Helps Turn Out Folk Music CD
Last updated Saturday, August 2, 2008 5:48 PM CDT in News
By drew estate original cigar Larry Stroud
The Batesville Daily Guard
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BATESVILLE - In February 1886, Little Johnny Lee, forced by his father to go to a gristmill in a deep snow, died of exposure, exhausted and alone miles from his home.
The drowning death of Rufus Parrott, a Heber Springs youth, in the waters of Devil's Fork of the Little Red River in the late 1800s was widely speculated to be either suicide after he was spurned by a girl, a murder (by his brother) or an accident as his family claimed.
Those stories and several others are told in song on "Sounds of the Ozark Folk, Volume II-Middle Americana," a limited edition CD released recently by Lyon College.
"That's something we started in spring of 2007," producer Brooks Blevins said.
Volume I, "Sounds of the Ozark Folk: The 1963 Arkansas Folk Festival CD," was released in 2005 and featured 53 tunes.
"I decided to do a followup to that. I thought it would be a good project for my Ozark History and Culture class," smoked first cigar said Blevins, smoking cigar gif who has since accepted a job at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.
"Our class picked out theme ballads from the area, Missouri and Arkansas, but there were not enough to do that, so we brought along a few fiddle and banjo tunes."
The musical performances were recorded in the 1950s and '60s by John Quincy Wolf Jr., who often
cigar v cigaretes set up his recorder on front porches or in bedrooms.
"Of course, we had that Wolf folk collection for years," Blevins said. "I instructed my students to find out everything they could about (individual warthog tusk cigar cutter songs they were assigned) - the story about it. Many were obscure.
"I put them in touch cigar companies with a descendant (of each singer) and let them go from there. One student, Brian Jeffery, here in Batesville, found about six. I gave them a person and a song. That's pretty much how it went."
Information collected went into extensive liner notes.
All except one of the artists Wolfe recorded are now dead.
"Sara Jo Fendley, number 14 (on the CD), is still living," Blevins said.
Wolfe recorded Fendley singing "The Battle of Prairie Grove" in Leslie about 1963, when she was a senior in college. Fendley had learned birthday cigar the song from a Yankee he asked for cigar who settled in the Ozarks in the 1950s, according to the liner notes.
John N. Wyatt, a 19th Iowa infantryman who was actually in the battle, wrote the song.
The version of "Little Johnny Lee" of Gid in Izard County, performed by Ray Johnson of Cave City, was one of three versions Wolfe recorded in the 1950s and is said to derive from a poem written by a Free Will Baptist minister, John F. Crafton.
"The research for that one had already been done," since the Izard County Historical Society as well as folklorists Rachel E. Reynolds dog with gun and cigar and J. cigar images Michael Luster had previously documented the story, Blevins said.
Little Johnny's father, Newt Lee, son wants cigar was sent to prison for three years for forcing the boy into the cold weather that caused his death.
In 2003, Leon Hutchins and his daughter, Debbie Wetzel, both of Guion, followed Little Johnny's trail as best they could and placed a marker in memory of him at as near as they could determine the spot where he died.
Most of the artists on the CD were farmers, housewives or "just plain people," but two, Almeda Riddle and Joseph Mulkey Kent, gained wide recognition.
Riddle of Miller came to be recognized nationwide as one of the most significant American ballad singers of the latter half of the 20th century after Wolf discovered her by a stroke of good fortune.
In the summer of 1952, Wolf went to the house of a man he wanted to record and found Riddle visiting there. She said she could sing, and Wolf also recorded her.
Over the next two decades Wolf served as her mentor as demand for her performances grew from mild cigar coast to coast.
On the CD is the second of Wolf's four recordings of Riddle singing "Jesse James," to whom she claimed a distant kinship.
Joseph Mulkey Kent (1874-1959), a havana cigar bar las vegas fiddler from Ash Flat, played "Natchez Under
cigar kansas city outlaw the Hill" and "Going Down to year smoking cigar Leven Point to Get a Load of Corn" for Wolf.
Kent made his first fiddle out of a cigar box at age 10 and later received his first real instrument from his father, who was also a fiddler.
Kent spent most of his life as a farmer and logger, but for several years had a career as a musician after winning a fiddling contest during World War I. For a time during the 1920s he performed for a Pontiac, Mich., radio station and toured with a traveling show in the upper Midwest and Canada.
He also won an Arkansas state fiddling championship.
Kent and his wife, Sarah Jane, raised nine children, all of whom were musically talented.
His son, Milum, a guitarist, accompanies him on "Natchez Under the Hill," pairing wine with a cigar which has its roots in British dance melodies. Owen Harvell of Lunenburg, in Izard County, spent his life preaching, teaching and farming. He is featured on "Bad Companions (Taney County)," recorded July 2, 1952. Harvell, an Arkansas (Lyon) College graduate, was born in 1908 and died in 1993.
B.F. Anderson of Poughkeepsie, accompanied by
holtz cigar Roland Taylor, George T. Jones, Matt Darnell and Ernest Bruce, sang the old standard, "Frankie and Johnny," for Wolf about 1961.
"I can't say I made folk music fans out of any of them in the class, but at least they do have a general cigar company little bit of appreciation now for that kind of music," Blevins said.
Distributed by The Associated Press.
Other songs and artists on the CD, along with additional information for each, include:
• "The Cowboy (The Dallas County Jail)," R.B. Stark (1882-1957), Miller, recorded June 25, 1953.
• "The Horse at Freeman's Door" and "Lee Mills," Berry (1881-1976) and Clementine Sutterfield (1883-1964), Marshall, both recorded Aug. 1, 1963.
• "Pretty Polly" and "Piggy in the Pen," Joe Craft (1889-1975), Leslie, recording date unknown.
• "Joe Bowers," W.P. Detherow (1873-1960), Batesville, recorded June 25, 1952.
• "Alice Mitchell and Freddy Ward," Grace Hastings, Memphis, recorded Aug. 19, 1960; the murder trial of Mitchell, accused of murdering Ward, was a national news event at the time.
• "The Boy That Burned in the Berryville Jail," Fred High (1878-1962), High, Ark., recorded Aug. 26, 1959.
• "The State of Arkansas," Gus Mahon (1879-1967), Heber Springs, recorded circa 1962.
• "Booger Boo," Joe Craft, Leslie, recording date unknown.
• "The Drowning of the Heber Springs Boy," Myrtle Verser and Alma Parrott, Miller, recorded June 23, 1953.
• "Cole Younger," Oscar Gilbert, Timbo, recorded July 18, 1953.
Order forms for the limited edition CD can be found at
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