December 1, 2008 by gadaya
Clarence “Tom” Ashley was one of the few performers on the Anthology that were rediscovered by the Folk revival. Thirty years after his debut recordings activities of the 1920′s, solo or with various string bands (The Carolina Tar Heels, Byrd Moore and his Hot Shots), and his life on the road travelling with medecine shows, he gained a new audience of young people from the cities discovering his “old-time music”, a mixture of old modal banjo ballads and tunes from the appalachians mountains, comic songs from the medecine shows and white-hillbilly Blues. When Ralph Rinzler met Ashley in a fiddler’s convention in the early 60′s, he was also introduced to Doc Watson, who was making a living at that time playing electric guitar with a country and western swing band. Doc would soon become one of the most loved musician of american folk music, continuing and expanding the tradition of people like Clarence Ashley.
-You can read about his life and his rediscovery by Ralph Rinzler on a website dedicated to his memory and see also lots of great pictures of him with his family and friends.
-I’ve made a compilation of 14 tracks, focusing exclusively on Ashley’s solo performances with his banjo and an extraordinary unaccompanied version of “Wayfaring Pilgrim”. There will be other occasions on this blog to present the music he made with other peoples as well.
2.Coo Coo Bird
4.Old John Hardy
8.Shout Little Lulu
9.Wild Bill Jones
10.Cluck Old Hen
From the Folkways lp “Clarence Ashley and Tex Isley”
From “Original Folkways Recordings Of Doc Watson And Clarence Ashley, 1960-1962″
The House Carpenter Variations
Perhaps one of the most famous of the Child Ballads and one of the most sung too. Originally titled “The Demon Lover” and also known as “James Harris”, it’s the tale of a woman who leaves his husband and children to follow an old lover on his ship and then regrets before the ship sinks in the sea. In the original english version, the lover is the devil himself but it’s common that this kind of ballads loose their supernatural aspects in american versions.
-You can go here for the lyrics of Clarence Ashley’s version
-I made a selection of 17 versions among the many available for this song. i’ve choose to include the most famous ( Joan Baez, young Bob Dylan, Nathalie Merchant), the most traditionnals (A.L Lloyd, Texas Gladden, Dillard Chandler, the Walin Brothers) with contemporary versions that i like (Kelly Joe Phelps, The Handsome Family, Jolie Holland). There’s also a french-cajun variant called “J’ai marié un ouvrier” interpreted beautifully by guitarist and singer David Doucet.
1,The Demon Lover, A.L. Lloyd, from ”English & Scottish Folk Ballads”
3.Little Farmer Boy, Dillard Chandler, from ”Dark Holler: Old Love Songs And Ballads”
4.The House Carpenter, Annie Watson and Gaither Carlton, from “The Doc Watson Family”
5.The House Carpenter, Doc Watson, from “Live at Gerdes Folk City”
6.House Carpenter, Bob Dylan, from ”The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 : Rare And Unreleased, 1961-1991″
7.The House Carpenter, Joan Baez, from “In Concert”
8.House Carpenter, Doug and Jack Wallin, from ”Family Songs and Stories from the North Carolina Mountains”
9.The House Carpenter, Pete Steele and his wife, from ”Banjo Tunes And Songs”
10.House Carpenter, Jean Ritchie, from “Jean Ritchie and Doc Watson at Folk City”
11.House Carpenter, Pentangle, from ”Early Classics”
12.The House Carpenter, Nathalie Merchant, from “The House Carpenter’s Daughter”
13.The House Carpenter, Kelly Joe Phelps, from ”Shine Eyed Mister Zen”
14.J’ Ai Marie Un Ouvrier, David Doucet, from ”1957″
15.The House Carpenter, The Handsome Family, from ”Milk & Scissors”
16.Daemon Lover Variations, Janet Smith & Steve Mann, from ”Imaginational Anthem Vols. 1-3″
17.Demon Lover Improv, Jolie Holland, from ”Catalpa”