Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Greasy Skillet

I want to say thanks for all the kind words and emails y'all sent my way. Every time I think about hanging up the ol' Mountain, I'm reminded of why I started it in the first place. I rarely make personal posts, so I appreciate your patience. I apologize for the morbid nature of the tunes last time around. This post should be little more in line with what folks expect.

I missed a Baseball post on Opening Day. I'll get along to it soon.

Now then.

Uncle Dave Macon is about as backwoods, old-timey sounding as you can get. Photos of him reinforce a sort of doughy, redneck, good ol' boy persona. It's apt as Macon served as the gateway from 1800's vaudeville tomfoolery to the more stringent picking styles of later followers.

Macon didn't get his professional start 'til after the age of 50, in the 1920's, having lost his wagon business to the horseless carriage industry. But he whooped it up, as it were, once his time came, earning the distinction of being one of the first two members of the Grand Ol' Opry when it was known as the WSM Barn Dance. All of this and more of his history you can read about at the above link.

Macon was a hell of a banjo player. I read somewhere that experts have identified up to 19 different picking styles on his recordings. His voice is pure hillbilly, and his songs are a rollicking meander through the humorous and the strange, at least by our modern estimation. It's pure hoedown and square dance music, so bone up on your do-si-do.

Important Note: I wrote most of this post several weeks ago, long before recent events involving a certain morning talk show host. In the interest of full disclosure, Uncle Dave Macon was by no means what we would now call "politically correct" in certain of his lyrics and songs. One could, I suppose, argue context and time (Nick Tosches addresses a similar issue regarding the persona of Emmett Miller in his fascinating book, Where Dead Voices Gather), but this is probably not the best forum or moment to do so. The Mountain certainly welcomes any comments and thoughts on the issue of Race in Country music, particularly the earlier sides. It's a tricky issue. All this to say that we recommend caution or discretion when purchasing and playing certain of Mr. Macon's records.

Uncle Dave Macon: Whoop 'Em Up Cindy (mp3)

Uncle Dave Macon: Bake That Chicken Pie (mp3)

Uncle Dave Macon: Man That Rode the Mule Around the World (mp3)

Uncle Dave Macon: The Bum Hotel (mp3)

Thank you.


john mark said...

welcome back! it's not too late to do the baseball post...we'll be here all summer!

jwroblewski said...

In addition to the fine choices here, I also love Uncle Dave's "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy", and suggest people search it out if they want to hear some more.

Good to have you back.

Anonymous said...

Race isn't just in some old Country records. Check out the original lyrics to "Mississippi Mud," "Let's Do It(Let's Fall In Love)," along with Coon Songs by Arthur Collins. Richard Rodgers wrote a song for a show in 1931. The song is called,"All Dark People Are Light On Their Feet" and was recorded by Bunny Berrigan. The examples are endless
Listen to the average rap song and then talk about "progress."

Anonymous said...

another great Uncle Dave tune is "Don't Get Weary Children" - it's on heavy rotation in my oldtime mix.

Reverend Frost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reverend Frost said...

aaaaah, Nick Toshes !
aaaaah, Uncle Dave Macon !
aaaaah, Big Rock Candy Mtn !

Anonymous said...

Try some Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers for some more non-PC string band music.

BiG Bad OaK said...

Hey there. Visit my swing/big band blog. Maybe u like it =)