Bachelor Brother Aaron Smithers curated Dreaming About Chords, the compilation CD for the annual music issue of Southern Cultures (Fall 2010), the impressive journal published by UNC Press for the Center for the Study of the American South (CSAS). He kindly included the Constellations’ “I Got a Woman,” as well as “My God Is Real” by Joe Brown and the Mellerairs, two songs written and released by David Lee which do not appear on our upcoming LP “Said I Had a Vision”: Songs & Labels of David Lee 1960-1988. The tunes sit alongside tracks by PoB favorites Michael Hurley, Hamper McBee, Preston Pulp, Bukka White, and Lumbee, and NC gospel field recordings by our colleagues and friends, folklorists Mike Taylor (with the Royal Jubilee Gospel Singers of Roanoke Rapids) and Eddie Huffman (with the Philadelphia and Hollow Springs Primitive Baptist Churches of Caldwell County.) The CD is varied and wonderful, representing a fascinating breadth of Southern musical artistry both obscure and famed. Get it. Thank you, Aaron.
The issue is worth picking up for Dreaming About Chords alone, but the writing and scholarship are likewise excellent as usual. We are particularly excited about the extensive transcript of Bachelor Brother and fellow folklorist Mike Taylor’s interviews with Willie French Lowery (pictured above). Lowery is the leader and songwriter of legendary NC psych bands Plant and See and Lumbee, whose hard-to-find records possess a singular seismic grace, as well as an accomplished solo artist and an influential community arts organizer and teacher. Mike’s essay and oral history of Lowery explores his fascinating musical career–he was briefly fellow NC native Clyde McPhatter’s bandleader, and he partied with the Allman Brothers–as well as his dual identities as a Southern musician and an American Indian musician. (As suggested by the name of his eponymous multiracial band, Willie is Lumbee, though he was the only Lumbee member of Lumbee. Got it?) Lowery is a Lumbee hero–much like forebear Henry Berry Lowry, but wielding guitar instead of gun–and an outstanding musician who deserves far wider recognition. Man, can Willie sing and shred something fierce. Big up Robeson County! Thanks, Mike.
Finally, Art of the Rural, a blog dedicated to considerations of rural art and culture in the 21st century, recently posted a great profile of Paradise of Bachelors and our sister organization Carolina Soul. Thank you, sirs.