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Saturday, June 10, 2017


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You mentioned authenticity earlier, but the issue here is authority. McGhee and Terry have authority, ‘Derek and the Dominoes’ do not. Weak singing, poor production. By contrast, the Beach Boys’ version of Cottonfields is a masterpiece. I never liked the Leadbelly version.

The question of authenticity, and particularly of Seeger’s or The Scruffy One’s authenticity, is a separate question.

Thank you for posting some of those wonderful numbers, by the way.

On the question of authenticity, Josh White junior nails it here.

My dad (Josh White) and Lead Belly would do radio shows together. My father was very aware of ‘letting people know that I can speak as well as you can’. He didn’t have an accent like Lead Belly did. On stage, Lead Belly didn’t mind wearing the jeans and the thing round the neck and playing [but] Dad felt ‘secretly they’re laughing at you, Lead Belly – I want to show you are not here to come and watch the monkey dance. It didn’t bother Lead Belly. The man was born 1880. Things didn’t faze him like Dad. Dad was very aware of ‘representing the negro race’’
There is a fine line between ‘authentic’ music and the minstrel show.

Good comments. Yes, authority and authenticity are different.

What I mean by authenticity -- perhaps not the best word -- is that the Beach Boys sang about picking cotton, but they didn't pick any cotton.

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