Part 1: The Big Bang Arena


Part 1: The Big Bang

Series telling the stories of the pioneers of American roots music. The 1920s saw record companies travel rural America to record the music of ordinary people.


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Transcript


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In the Roaring '20s, two worlds collided.

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One southern, rural and traditional.

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The other northern, urban and industrial.

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America was in motion.

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Record companies sent scouts across the United States,

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searching for new artists and sounds.

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They travelled to remote regions,

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auditioned thousands of everyday Americans and issued

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their music on phonograph records.

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It was the first time America heard itself.

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The artists they discovered shaped our world.

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Here are some of their stories.

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The Appalachian mountain range was the western frontier

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of America's first British colonies.

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Over the centuries,

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its isolated rural communities preserved and evolved

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their own dialects, customs and music.

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MUSIC: Wildwood Flower by Maybelle Carter

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# Oh, I'll twine with my mingles and waving black hair

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# With the roses so red and the lilies so fair

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# And the myrtle so bright with the emerald dew

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# The pale and the leader and eyes look like blue... #

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Though poor in material goods,

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the mountain folk are rich with tradition.

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And none more so than the founders of modern country music,

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the Carter Family.

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My name's Dale Jett and I'm the grandson of AP and Sara Carter,

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and I'm sitting on my great aunt Maybelle Carter's porch as we speak.

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This area has been Poor Valley as long as I've known it

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and I grew up half a mile from here.

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It may not look like it, but, as the name implies, it's a poor area.

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There's not a lot of work here and it's pretty rugged terrain.

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Hillside farming is about all that you can do around here so,

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you know, whether we like it or not,

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we're in what a lot of people refer to as poverty-stricken Appalachia,

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and we are indeed, but in this area, these big porches lend theirselves

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to people just hanging out and picking music.

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And to me, music,

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that's probably the most important thing to come out of Poor Valley.

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The mountain folk had always sung and played together,

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but those familiar sounds were transformed by AP Carter

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into a popular style and a national career.

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And like every great country song, it all started with a love story.

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Clinch Mountain's about 3,000 feet and my grandfather AP was over in

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that area selling fruit trees and went up a holler one evening

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and said he heard the prettiest singing that he'd ever heard,

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a just angelic voice.

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# Bring back my boy, my wandering boy... #

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You know, it just pulled him up the holler and it was Sara.

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She was sitting out on the porch and AP stopped over there.

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He wanted her name and everything, cos aunt Sara was beautiful.

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She was one beautiful woman and she had that gorgeous voice,

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and he just fell deeply in love with her.

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# ..with faded cheeks and hair

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# At their old home is waiting him there... #

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Sara was actually selling china.

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You know, mail-order dishes, and AP bought all the dishes that he could

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afford to try to put himself in good graces.

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Oh, her voice was out of this world.

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Everybody noticed it.

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I mean, all she had to do to get a crowd in was to get out and sing

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on anybody's porch.

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# Bring back my boy My wandering boy

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# Far, far away Wherever he may be... #

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He worshipped her, I really believe, from the time that he first heard

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her singing in that holler across the mountain.

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I don't think that he ever lost that love.

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# At their old home is waiting him there. #

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AP and Sara married, started a family and began singing together

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with Sara's teenage cousin, Maybelle.

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Aunt Maybelle, she was the kindest, sweetest person you ever saw,

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and one of the most talented.

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She was a musician and wonderful car driver.

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She could do anything.

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She taught herself the guitar when she was six years old, I think.

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Not much to do except to pick up an instrument and start playing.

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She did it with such ease, it was like it was no struggle with her.

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It was just there.

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# Oh, tell me, is my darling still true?

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# Sweet fern

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# I'll be just as happy as you... #

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You know, they didn't really have any influences,

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because in Poor Valley there were no record players, there wasn't radio,

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there wasn't television.

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I mean, the only influences they had were family and friends,

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was the people immediately around them that you heard live and first-hand.

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The Carter Family played only at home and for small local gatherings,

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but the world outside Poor Valley was about to come calling.

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For 30 years, record companies had marketed their music primarily to

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the urban middle class.

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But, by the mid-1920s,

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that audience was switching to the new technology - radio.

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Faced with plummeting sales,

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the record-makers turned to rural and ethnic consumers,

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who were being ignored by the national broadcasters.

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They sent recording teams south and advertised for musicians

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to come and audition.

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Well, this was in about 1927 and the first time that we'd ever gone out

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on the road.

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So, we would decide that we would record, for instance,

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in Johnson City, Tennessee.

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And then it would be mentioned in the paper and the word would get

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around in churches and schoolhouses that somebody was going to come

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down there for a recording to do.

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And these people would show up from sometimes 800-900 miles away.

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How they got there, I'll never know.

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And how they got back, I'll never know.

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They never asked me for money.

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They didn't question anything at all.

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They just were happy to sing and play.

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They had made a phonograph record, and that was the next thing to being

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President of the United States in their mind.

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Field recording sessions, organised by producers like Frank Walker,

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immortalised Americans from every walk of life.

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The Victor Talking Machine Company hired Ralph Peer,

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a man with a proven track record, to find and develop new talent.

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Peer's landmark recordings already included the first hit record

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marketed to an African-American audience,

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the first hit by a white country musician,

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and the most important artist in the history of jazz.

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He was the man who caught lightning in a bottle.

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If I have a favourite saying,

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it's the art of being where the lightning is going to strike.

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And how in God's name you can detect that, I wouldn't know,

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but I have always been able to do it.

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Ralph Peer must have been a visionary, because he saw potential

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in music and acts that I don't think anybody else really did.

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He was very much in favour of ethnic music and also promoted, you know,

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acts, some of which became legendary later on,

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that would never have been recorded without his support.

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Ralph Peer recorded the music of everyday working people.

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He was using the revolutionary new Western Electric recording system

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which, for the first time, could capture the true sound of voices and instruments.

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It was the beginning of modern sound recording.

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I'm Craig Raguse, my grandfather Eimer Raguse was

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a Western Electric engineer.

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And he helped develop the electrical recording system at Western Electric

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that Ralph Peer and others took on the road with them.

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And when they went to these makeshift studios,

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they couldn't just plug it into the electricity,

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it was not a stable source.

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So they had to take West cell batteries, similar to these,

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to run the system.

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The artists basically had a single take to record.

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If they made a mistake, they had to scrap what they were doing

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and do it over again.

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So, there were no overdubs or anything like that,

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because there was no mix, it was all one take, one microphone,

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recorded onto a wax disc.

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What's great about America is someone will work hard

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in some garage or basement somewhere and invent something incredibly

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cultured and life-altering for everybody to experience.

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And the next step is to figure out how we can monetise

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and make money off of this, and that's the part that starts to get

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really interesting, because once you are aiming to try to make money off

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of a format of some kind, then happy accidents start happening.

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And that's how we accidentally got all these amazing artists to record,

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who never would have been recorded.

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In the summer of 1927, Peer travelled to Bristol, Tennessee,

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and set up his recording equipment in the empty warehouse

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of the Taylor-Christian Hat Company.

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He placed an article in the local newspaper, tempting musicians

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to come and audition.

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So, here's a copy of the Bristol News bulletin from July 27, 1927,

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which was just at the start of the Bristol sessions,

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and this was typically a way my father, Ralph S Peer,

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would look for new talent.

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And so the story reads, "Mountain songs recorded here

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"by the Victor Company.

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"This morning, Ernest Stoneman and company, from near Galax, Virginia,

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"were performers and they played and sang into the microphone.

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"Stoneman receiving 100 and each of his assistants 25.

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"He received from the company 3,600 last year as his share

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"of the proceeds from the songs."

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Now, that was a lot of money in those days and, believe me,

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a lot of people who had talent said,

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"Gee, I'd like to give that a try myself."

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-VOICE OF ERNEST STONEMAN:

-After you read this,

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if you could play a C on the piano,

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you're going to become a millionaire.

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The news of Peer's session attracted dozens of performers to Bristol.

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JP Nestor from Galax, Virginia.

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Ernest Phipps and his Holiness Singers from Corbyn, Kentucky.

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And an aspiring singer, who drove across the Smoky Mountains

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from Asheville, North Carolina.

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His name was Jimmy Rogers.

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# Doo-doo-doo-doo

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# Doe-dee-oh-doe

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# Doe-dee-oh-doe-dee-oh-doe

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# All around the water tanks

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# Waiting for a train

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# A thousand miles away from home

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# Sleeping in the rain

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# I walked up to a brakeman

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# To give him a line of talk

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# He says if you've got money,

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# I'll see that you don't walk

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# I haven't got a nickel

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# Not a penny can I show

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# Get off, get off, you railroad bum

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# And he slammed the boxcar door... #

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HE YODELS

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Jimmy Rogers brought a new bluesy flavour to country music.

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YODELLING CONTINUES

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But country's deep, traditional roots will forever be associated

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with another group who showed up at the Bristol sessions.

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AP had been to Bristol one day and he'd heard about this guy,

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Ralph Peer, looking for new talent

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and, of course, he was insistent on going.

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They were, "Oh, that's way out there, we do need to do that.

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"Nothing good'll come of it." But he persisted.

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It would have been a difficult task to sell Sara and Maybelle in that

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we're going to go record in Bristol,

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which would have been a big journey itself, so he had to coax them to go.

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Maybelle was pregnant with Helen.

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Uncle Eck did not want her to go

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because she was close to her ninth month.

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And Sara had Joe, who was still nursing.

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Of course, AP was very persistent.

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It took them all day to get from here to Bristol.

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They had the ford creeks,

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they avoided the river, and they were in a Model T,

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constantly fixing flats.

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There was muddy roads, you know.

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They didn't even have gravel roads, it was mud tracks.

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So, they'd been trying to get there any way they could.

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And you know, Aunt Maybelle was nine months pregnant,

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didn't feel very good,

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and every time she hit a bump, she didn't know,

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you know, we going to have this baby out here or what?

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When they got to the studio that day they said that they went in

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the back way because they were ashamed of

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the clothes that they wore.

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They didn't have stage clothes.

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They didn't know anything about that.

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'They came into record and brought the children dressed in rags

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'and he's dressed in overalls.

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'And the women are countrywomen from

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'way back there, calico clothes on.

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'They looked like hillbillies. That's just what they looked like.

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'But on that very first test record, why I recall distinctly,

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'as soon as I heard Sara's voice, that was it.

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'I began to build around it.

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'And all the first recordings were on that basis.'

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# My heart is sad and I'm in sorrow

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# For the only one I love

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# When shall I see him?

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# Oh, no, never

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# Till I meet him in heaven above

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# Oh, bury me under the weeping willow

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# Yes, under the weeping willow tree

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# So he may know where I am sleeping

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# And perhaps he will weep for me

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# They told me that he did not love me

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# I could not believe it was true

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# Until an angel softly whispered

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# He has proven untrue to you

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# Oh, bury me under the weeping willow

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# Yes, under the weeping willow tree

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# So he may know where I am sleeping

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# And perhaps he will weep for me... #

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The second day of August 1927,

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it was my first record.

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Well, they just had an old building

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that we recorded in,

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that wasn't a regular studio.

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It was just an old warehouse.

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They cut it on a big wax.

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If you make a mistake, you have to shave it off, you know.

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You couldn't erase it like you do a tape.

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And a lot of times we should have done it,

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but we didn't, you know.

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I'd say, "Please, do that over."

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And when it come out, it come out with the mistake on it.

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He said, "Well, it makes people listen, you know."

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Just see what's going to happen next.

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# Tomorrow was our wedding day

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# But, oh, Lord, oh, where is he?

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# He's gone to seek him another bride

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# And he cares no more for me... #

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We were extremely lucky in the 1920s and '30s that rural artists were

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recorded that would never have been recorded had these companies

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not wanted to sell records to urban and rural people.

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And a lot of these songs have changed the world, really.

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They changed music, they changed popular music

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and they changed popular culture around the world

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for the last hundred years.

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# Oh, bury me under the weeping willow

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# Yes, under the weeping willow tree

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# So he may know where I am sleeping

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# And perhaps he will weep for me. #

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Those Carter family records are treasures

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that are passed from generation to generation to this day.

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If you're lucky enough to have good Carter Family 78s that are in good

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condition...

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When you pass them down along with, you know,

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great-grandma's Victrola...

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with extra needles that haven't been opened from back then,

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you can't even imagine what that is.

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They were really very popular.

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And the backbone of any kind of country, old-timey music.

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# Oh, listen to the train

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# Coming down the line

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# Trying to make up for all of her lost time

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# From Buffalo to Washington... #

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After that first trip to Bristol they recorded 12 places like Camden,

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New Jersey, New York City, Memphis,

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Lowville, Charlotte, Atlanta.

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And after all of that they recorded 326 songs.

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# My baby's left me

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# She even took my shoes

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# Enough to give a man doggone weary blues

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# She's gone, she's solid gone. #

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I grew up hearing all their songs

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and I was a huge fan of theirs all my life.

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# Can the circle be unbroken

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# Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye

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# There's a better home a-waiting

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# In the sky, Lord, in the sky. #

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Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family,

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they were the founder and the starter of a lot of great artists

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across the board.

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And I think once you hear the original Carter Family

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you don't have to explain why they were special. It all was.

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# Oh, can the circle be unbroken?

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# Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye

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# There's a better home a-waiting

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# In the sky, Lord, in the sky... #

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Always heard that the Carter Family,

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that they didn't charge widows and orphans...

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..at a performance. And I know that seems odd,

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but there was a gentleman walked up one day, and he said,

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"When I was a little boy," he said, "I went to a Carter Family concert."

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And he said, "I paid my 15 cents and they gave it back to me."

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So I know it's true, you know.

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That touched me, so, I mean...

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I mean, that...

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I'm sorry.

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That tells me it was about music and not about money.

0:22:400:22:44

You know what I mean.

0:22:440:22:46

It's the way it ought to be.

0:22:480:22:50

I'm sorry.

0:22:500:22:52

# Can the circle be unbroken?

0:22:540:22:58

# Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye

0:22:580:23:03

# There's a better home a-waiting

0:23:030:23:07

# In the sky, Lord, in the sky. #

0:23:070:23:11

In the '30s, during the Depression era, the recording, I think,

0:23:140:23:18

was kind of winding down and maybe they weren't finding as many songs.

0:23:180:23:23

AP and Sara separated, ultimately divorced.

0:23:230:23:27

He was gone a lot, she was home a lot

0:23:270:23:30

and she didn't really care that much about going after the music.

0:23:300:23:34

She liked kind of being at home.

0:23:340:23:36

I think he was broken-hearted because he worshipped Sara,

0:23:370:23:41

and it's sad.

0:23:410:23:42

I mean, I'm not sure that he ever really wanted a whole lot

0:23:420:23:45

more so than to make music with her.

0:23:450:23:47

He didn't just lose his wife, he lost his showmanship,

0:23:480:23:53

and he loved that part of his life.

0:23:530:23:55

And he was a sad man, more than anything,

0:23:550:23:58

the fact that they weren't working together any more.

0:23:580:24:01

I mean, that was his passion,

0:24:030:24:04

and I can't help but believe that he was alone,

0:24:040:24:08

that you would have to think back about those times

0:24:080:24:10

and the songs and the lyrics and the love.

0:24:100:24:13

I would think that that would be

0:24:140:24:17

really foremost on your mind.

0:24:170:24:19

After the original Carter Family from 1927 to 1940,

0:24:260:24:30

Maybelle went on to have her own successful career,

0:24:300:24:33

and Elvis even toured with her for a time.

0:24:330:24:36

And then in Knoxville she picked up a guitar player by

0:24:360:24:40

the name of Chet Atkins.

0:24:400:24:41

And they took him to the Grand Ole Opry and, I mean,

0:24:410:24:44

Chet Atkins changed the whole way that things were done in Nashville.

0:24:440:24:48

And then June Carter, Maybelle's daughter, she married Johnny Cash,

0:24:480:24:52

and that led into yet another love story.

0:24:520:24:55

And then June's children,

0:24:550:24:58

you've got Carlene is a successful recording artist, married Nick Lowe.

0:24:580:25:02

Rosanne Cash, who's a singer-songwriter,

0:25:020:25:05

married Rodney Crowell.

0:25:050:25:06

Cindy Cash married Marty Stuart.

0:25:060:25:08

It gets really complicated.

0:25:080:25:11

It's hard for me to keep track,

0:25:110:25:13

but of all that came from that first recording trip to Bristol in 1927.

0:25:130:25:19

So, as Johnny Cash referred to it, The Big Bang of country music.

0:25:190:25:23

Hey, that sound that you hear there,

0:25:240:25:27

that's the sound of the original Carter Family,

0:25:270:25:29

who were just elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

0:25:290:25:32

The original Carter Family were AP, Sara and Maybelle.

0:25:320:25:35

And tonight, for the first time together in 27 years,

0:25:350:25:39

Mother Maybelle and Sara Carter.

0:25:390:25:41

Mama, I've long been a Carter Family fan,

0:25:430:25:46

as you well know, and I'd love to take Uncle AP's part on one of those

0:25:460:25:49

-final hymns.

-We'd love to have you, John.

-How about that, Aunt Sara?

0:25:490:25:52

-Sure.

-All right.

0:25:520:25:54

APPLAUSE

0:25:540:25:57

# When my soul is singing

0:26:010:26:02

# In that promised land above

0:26:020:26:05

-# I'll be satisfied

-Satisfied

0:26:050:26:09

# Praising Christ the Saviour

0:26:090:26:11

# For redeeming grace and love

0:26:110:26:14

-# I'll be satisfied

-Satisfied

0:26:140:26:19

-# I'll be satisfied

-Satisfied

0:26:190:26:23

-# I'll be satisfied

-Satisfied

0:26:230:26:28

# When my soul is resting in the presence of the Lord

0:26:280:26:32

-# I'll be satisfied

-Satisfied... #

0:26:320:26:36

APPLAUSE

0:26:410:26:42

Many of the songs that the Carters developed,

0:26:420:26:46

these songs have become popular throughout time since then.

0:26:460:26:49

And you can hear a lot of songs today that,

0:26:490:26:52

if you listen just a little bit harder,

0:26:520:26:54

you can understand the original Carter Family songs

0:26:540:26:57

were at the root of these.

0:26:570:26:59

You know, there's so much music and so many branches to that tree

0:27:030:27:08

that came from three people piling in a little car

0:27:080:27:12

and leaving here to go to Bristol,

0:27:120:27:14

and leaving pretty much right where I sit.

0:27:140:27:18

# Oh, bury me under the weeping willow

0:27:180:27:21

# Yes, under the weeping willow tree

0:27:210:27:25

# So he may know where I am sleeping

0:27:250:27:29

# And perhaps he will weep for me. #

0:27:290:27:33

A world away from Poor Valley, the teeming city of Memphis,

0:27:480:27:51

Tennessee, was the commercial and cultural gateway for the south.

0:27:510:27:55

Set on the banks of the Mississippi River, Memphis is a rowdy port city,

0:27:550:28:00

famous for its booming cotton trade.

0:28:000:28:03

Memphis never closed up then.

0:28:030:28:06

The boats would run from Memphis to New Orleans,

0:28:060:28:11

Stop all down through the Mississippi Delta,

0:28:110:28:15

pick up cotton bales.

0:28:150:28:18

And they had me working on the boat.

0:28:180:28:20

When they came in, the man from the boat would tie up

0:28:200:28:23

and you'd get paid off, then you'd go uptown

0:28:230:28:24

and start spending the money, get drunk. Memphis was an open town.

0:28:240:28:29

It never closed up.

0:28:290:28:32

A wide-open town with one of the highest crime rates in the country,

0:28:320:28:36

Memphis was home to a vibrant music scene known for its witty lyrics

0:28:360:28:41

and rough street rhythms.

0:28:410:28:42

As the Carter Family's music reflects the hills of Appalachia,

0:28:440:28:47

the songs of the Memphis jug band reflect an urban underworld

0:28:470:28:51

full of drugs, gambling, prostitution and violence.

0:28:510:28:56

By the 1920s, the heart of the action was Beale Street.

0:28:560:29:00

The jazz addict is not likely to find on Beale Street today

0:29:000:29:04

very much of what the music historian calls

0:29:040:29:06

"the style of the '20s",

0:29:060:29:09

but there is a kind of music that still continues

0:29:090:29:11

the feeling of the past.

0:29:110:29:13

It's as old as peewees and as authentic.

0:29:130:29:16

And you can still hear it played by an occasional wandering minstrel

0:29:160:29:20

or two, in the guise of a jug band with or without a jug.

0:29:200:29:24

For example, take the work of Charlie Burse and Will Shade,

0:29:240:29:28

two practising musicians of Beale Street 1958.

0:29:280:29:32

How about an example, Charlie?

0:29:320:29:33

Yes, we've been here a long time, we would like to give you a little

0:29:330:29:36

-synopsis of what we used to hear. Would you like to hear one?

-Fine.

0:29:360:29:40

# I went up Main

0:29:480:29:50

# I turned down Beale

0:29:500:29:51

# I's trying to find the little chick that they call Lucille

0:29:510:29:54

# I gotta move to Kansas City

0:29:540:29:57

# Sure as you're born

0:29:570:29:58

# I gotta move to Kansas City

0:29:580:30:00

# Where I belong

0:30:000:30:02

# I gotta move, baby

0:30:020:30:04

# Honey, where they don't allow you

0:30:040:30:06

# Lordy, lordy, lordy, Lord, oh, boy

0:30:060:30:09

# T for Texas, T for Tennesee, ha

0:30:090:30:13

# Boll weevil's got the cotton and the gal's got me

0:30:130:30:16

# I'm gonna move to Kansas City

0:30:160:30:18

# Sure as you're born

0:30:180:30:20

# I'm gonna move to Kansas City Where I was born... #

0:30:200:30:24

Well, I'll tell you, ladies and gentlemens,

0:30:240:30:27

my name is William Shade Jr.

0:30:270:30:29

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, born in 1893.

0:30:290:30:35

# Them boll weevils got the cotton and the women's got me

0:30:350:30:39

# I gotta a move to Kansas City

0:30:390:30:41

# Oh, yeah, sure as you're born

0:30:410:30:43

# We gotta move to Kansas City

0:30:430:30:45

# Where I belong

0:30:450:30:46

# We gotta move, baby

0:30:460:30:49

# Honey, where they don't allow you

0:30:490:30:51

# Lordy, lordy, lordy, Lord, oh, boy

0:30:510:30:54

# If you don't like my peaches

0:30:540:30:56

-# Why did you shake my tree?

-All right

0:30:560:30:58

# I wasn't after that chick But she was after me

0:30:580:31:02

# We gotta move to Kansas City... #

0:31:020:31:04

I learned to play music the hard way. I learned from the stump on up,

0:31:040:31:09

so I didn't have no money to get no bass.

0:31:090:31:12

So, I got a can that some people called a garbage can

0:31:120:31:14

with a streamlined base.

0:31:140:31:17

# If you didn't like my peaches

0:31:170:31:18

# Why did you shake my tree?

0:31:180:31:21

# I wasn't after that chick But she was after me

0:31:210:31:24

# I gotta move to Kansas City

0:31:240:31:28

# We're gonna move to Kansas City... #

0:31:280:31:30

And everybody in Memphis had a jug back then, so I breezed me up a

0:31:300:31:33

little band which was called the Memphis Jug Band.

0:31:330:31:36

# Lordy, lordy, lordy, Lord, oh, boy

0:31:360:31:38

# Lookee here, some like high yellow

0:31:390:31:41

-# Some like teasin' brown

-Hey!

0:31:410:31:43

# It takes a teasin' woman to get me down

0:31:430:31:47

# I gotta move to Kansas City

0:31:470:31:49

# Well, well, move to Kansas City

0:31:500:31:53

# Where I belong

0:31:530:31:54

# We gotta move, baby

0:31:540:31:57

# Honey, where they don't allow you

0:31:570:31:59

# Lordy, lordy, lordy, Lord. #

0:31:590:32:02

In the 1920s, the Memphis Jug Band and other street musicians

0:32:030:32:07

too poor to afford trumpets and clarinets

0:32:070:32:10

picked up home-made instruments and formed groups called jug bands.

0:32:100:32:15

# Went downtown to have a little fun

0:32:310:32:32

# Bought myself a razor and a shiny gun

0:32:320:32:34

# Carried it home, laid it on the shelf

0:32:340:32:36

# Doggone hard got to get it myself

0:32:360:32:38

# Off that sheet, foldin' bed,

0:32:380:32:40

# I believe I'm gonna tear it down

0:32:400:32:42

# Tear it down, slats and all

0:32:420:32:44

# Tore it down You make my baby squall

0:32:440:32:46

# Tore it down

0:32:460:32:47

# Baby, come on

0:32:470:32:48

# Don't take no time at all

0:32:480:32:49

# Come on out of that foldin' bed

0:32:490:32:51

# I believe I'm gonna tear it down

0:32:510:32:53

# I went home about four o'clock

0:33:080:33:10

# Knocked on the door and found it locked

0:33:100:33:12

# Round to the window and I took a peek

0:33:120:33:14

# A sheik there fast asleep

0:33:140:33:16

# That'll only be my foldin' bed

0:33:160:33:18

# Come on out of that foldin' bed

0:33:280:33:34

# I believe I'm gonna tear it down. #

0:33:340:33:39

Well, a jug band is some guys making music off of cheap instruments.

0:33:410:33:47

You know, they couldn't afford, like, trumpets and fancy brass instruments,

0:33:470:33:51

so they have like, a washboard, a kazoo, harmonicas and guitars.

0:33:510:33:57

Just, affordable instruments that they could get their hands on.

0:33:570:34:00

The jug band was just really infectious. It makes you smile,

0:34:030:34:06

it makes you happy, it makes you want to dance.

0:34:060:34:08

It's good-time music.

0:34:080:34:09

My name is Charlie Musselwhite.

0:34:140:34:15

I came to Memphis in 1947.

0:34:150:34:18

I grew up here,

0:34:180:34:20

I fell in love with the sound of the Memphis Jug Band,

0:34:200:34:23

and Will Shade was the driving force.

0:34:230:34:26

# I know they're gonna write to me

0:34:260:34:28

# When they get across the sea

0:34:280:34:30

# Every chance when that Washington lands in France

0:34:300:34:33

# I say, whoa now, sugar baby... #

0:34:330:34:36

The Memphis Jug Band, they started playing in Handy Park

0:34:360:34:40

and on the corners on the streets downtown Memphis,

0:34:400:34:43

up and down Beale Street.

0:34:430:34:45

And they sounded good, people liked them.

0:34:450:34:47

They started getting a following.

0:34:470:34:49

# You went way across the sea

0:34:490:34:51

# To keep from doing that Lindy Bird with me

0:34:510:34:54

# Oh, babe, now I done told you... #

0:34:540:34:56

At that time, Beale Street was this thriving, colourful, alive,

0:34:560:35:01

just pulsing-with-energy neighbourhood.

0:35:010:35:05

It was a poor neighbourhood, but, man, there was so much going on.

0:35:050:35:07

Out by the alley where Will Shade played at night,

0:35:070:35:11

there'd be these jam sessions,

0:35:110:35:12

guys playing guitars and harmonicas and passing the bottle,

0:35:120:35:16

It was just...

0:35:160:35:17

It was just rich with the music.

0:35:170:35:20

It was saturated.

0:35:200:35:21

But it was rough and wild, no doubt about it.

0:35:210:35:24

Will Shade made it way more colourful than

0:35:240:35:27

anybody ever described it.

0:35:270:35:29

There's so much excitement happening down on Beale Street, it'd take me

0:35:290:35:32

to the end of the day to tell you about all that excitement.

0:35:320:35:34

It used to be the red-light district or something like that.

0:35:350:35:39

You could walk down the street in days of the 1900s,

0:35:390:35:42

you could find a man, throat cut from ear to ear.

0:35:420:35:45

Also you could find people getting knocked on the head with bricks

0:35:470:35:50

and hatchets and hammers and pocket knives and razors,

0:35:500:35:53

and sometimes you'd find them throwed out of windows and so forth.

0:35:530:35:56

Oh, they used to have a wonderful time here in Memphis, Tennessee.

0:35:590:36:02

Nothing but underworld people dealing and snatching.

0:36:020:36:05

Pickpockets, dope fiends, cocaine fiends and everything.

0:36:050:36:10

In February, 1927, my father had been to Memphis, Tennessee,

0:36:100:36:14

which is not exactly the place you'd think as the nicest place to go to

0:36:140:36:18

listen to music, but it was here that he made the first recordings

0:36:180:36:22

of the Memphis Jug Band.

0:36:220:36:23

They had a raw taste to them.

0:36:230:36:25

They were very unusual and these recordings made history.

0:36:250:36:31

When Ralph Peer and his recording crew arrived,

0:36:310:36:33

they set up their studio in a warehouse just off Beale Street.

0:36:330:36:36

One of the first acts to audition

0:36:380:36:40

was Will Shade and the Memphis Jug Band.

0:36:400:36:42

I was going down Beale Street playing the Memphis Jug Band Blues.

0:36:420:36:47

Charlie Wilson at the Beale Street Palace, he came over to Mr Peer,

0:36:470:36:51

RS Peer and a Victor recorder,

0:36:510:36:53

and, er, we made the record at McCall Building on McCall Street.

0:36:530:36:58

On the fourth floor of the McCall Building,

0:36:580:37:00

my father and Will Shade started on a series of recordings.

0:37:000:37:04

The first one was called Newport News Blues and this became a very

0:37:040:37:08

important part of the RCA Victor Race Series now.

0:37:080:37:11

We were talking about R&B at this point in time,

0:37:110:37:14

which was a progression along the type of black music

0:37:140:37:16

which was being recorded at the time.

0:37:160:37:19

Negroes would sing a song in Memphis

0:37:190:37:23

and you'd never hear the same song anyplace else,

0:37:230:37:26

because every song was strange and new to these white man's ears.

0:37:260:37:30

# I'm goin' to Newport News, mama

0:37:330:37:36

# Gonna catch a battleship across the doggone sea

0:37:360:37:39

# What you goin' over there for, boy?

0:37:390:37:42

# I'm goin' to Newport News, mama

0:37:420:37:44

# Gonna catch a battleship across the doggone sea

0:37:440:37:47

# What you gonna do?

0:37:470:37:48

# For, Lord, the woman that I'm lovin', great God, partner

0:37:510:37:54

# Do not care for me

0:37:540:37:56

# What kind of woman is that?

0:37:560:37:59

# And she's got a man on her man

0:37:590:38:01

# Done got a kid man on her she can't kid

0:38:010:38:04

# She's got a man on her man

0:38:080:38:10

# Done got a kid man on her she can't kid

0:38:100:38:13

# Have mercy, have mercy

0:38:130:38:16

# Kid man has got so buggish, great God, partner,

0:38:160:38:19

# Just can't keep it hid

0:38:190:38:21

# What are you gonna do with him?

0:38:210:38:23

# Ah, don't you wish your easy roller, partner

0:38:240:38:27

# Was little and cute like mine?

0:38:270:38:28

# I sure do, boy

0:38:300:38:31

# Ah, don't you wish your easy roller, partner

0:38:330:38:36

# Was little and cute like mine?

0:38:360:38:38

# For every time she walks

0:38:410:38:43

# Lord, she sure brings that jack to town

0:38:430:38:47

# I sure wanna see her. #

0:38:470:38:48

Will Shade learned Newport News from an old Memphis musician

0:38:500:38:53

named Tiwi Blackman, but his musical roots went much deeper.

0:38:530:38:58

I remember Will Shade telling me that he learned harmonica

0:39:000:39:03

from his mom and his mom grew up in slavery.

0:39:030:39:07

I started from a kid up.

0:39:070:39:08

I first remember when my mother singing On The Road Again.

0:39:080:39:12

"Natural born eastman on the road again."

0:39:120:39:15

-# I would not black woman Tell you the reason why

-Why?

0:39:150:39:18

-# Black woman's evil Do things on the sly

-No!

0:39:180:39:21

# You look for your supper to be good and hot

0:39:210:39:24

# She never put a neckbone in the pot

0:39:240:39:27

# She's on the road again

0:39:270:39:29

# Just as sure as you're born

0:39:290:39:30

# Lord, a natural born eastman on the road again

0:39:300:39:33

# She's on the road again

0:39:330:39:35

# Sure as you're born

0:39:350:39:36

# Lord, a natural born eastman on the road again

0:39:360:39:39

# I went to my window My window was propped

0:39:390:39:42

# I went to my door My door was locked

0:39:420:39:46

# I stepped right back I shook my head

0:39:460:39:49

# A big black nigger in my folding bed

0:39:490:39:52

# I shot through the window I broke the glass

0:39:520:39:55

# I never seen a little nigger run so fast

0:39:550:39:57

# She's on the road again

0:39:570:39:59

# Sure as you're born

0:39:590:40:01

# Lord, a natural born eastman on the road again... #

0:40:010:40:03

Well, the Memphis Jug Band,

0:40:030:40:05

it sounds like something today and these guys are talking about women,

0:40:050:40:10

carrying guns, protecting their honour,

0:40:100:40:13

chasing after some woman who's done them dirty.

0:40:130:40:16

This is not high society black folks, this is the down under.

0:40:160:40:20

You know, street, wild black folk that they're singing about.

0:40:200:40:26

It's the same as today, it's the same as rap music today.

0:40:260:40:30

# She's on the road again

0:40:300:40:31

-# Sure as you're born

-A natural-born eastman

0:40:310:40:34

# On the road again

0:40:340:40:35

# She's on the road again

0:40:350:40:36

-# Sure as you're born

-A natural-born eastman

0:40:360:40:39

# On the road again

0:40:390:40:40

# Your friend at your house just to rest his hat

0:40:400:40:43

# Next thing, he wanna know where your husband's at

0:40:430:40:45

# She says, "I don't know, he's on his way to the pen."

0:40:450:40:48

# Come on, Mama, let's get on the road again

0:40:480:40:50

-# She's on the road again

-Sure as you're born... #

0:40:500:40:53

This music from Memphis,

0:40:530:40:55

they were rapping about street life and gangster life and hustling,

0:40:550:40:59

and just a dark side of the world.

0:40:590:41:01

-# I would not black woman Let me tell you why

-Why?

0:41:010:41:04

-# Black woman's evil Do things on the sly

-No!

0:41:040:41:06

-# You look for your supper to be good and hot

-Hot!

0:41:060:41:09

# She'll never put the neck-bone in the pot

0:41:090:41:12

# She's on the road again... #

0:41:120:41:13

It just goes to show me that rapping is a natural, poetic thing.

0:41:130:41:17

It's always been here.

0:41:170:41:18

As long as there was English and black people,

0:41:180:41:20

you know what I'm saying, there was rap.

0:41:200:41:22

The Memphis Jug Band, they wanted everybody to like what they were

0:41:340:41:37

doing, so they wanted to have a real wide arsenal of tunes.

0:41:370:41:41

And I believe black and white people bought their records because

0:41:420:41:45

they played all kinds of stuff, like waltzes, blues, popular tunes,

0:41:450:41:50

but in the setting of a jug band.

0:41:500:41:53

They got so famous that Mayor Crump used them for his campaign.

0:41:530:41:57

Will Shade wrote a tune for Mayor Crump

0:41:570:42:01

It was a big hit for Mayor Crump and for the Memphis Jug Band

0:42:010:42:05

and got Crump elected.

0:42:050:42:07

Will Shade told me that he once played for the President.

0:42:070:42:09

I forget which one, it might have been one of the Roosevelts.

0:42:090:42:13

# That woman I'm lovin' She just my height and size

0:42:130:42:17

# She's a married woman Come to see me sometimes

0:42:170:42:20

# If you don't believe I love ya Look what a fool I've been

0:42:200:42:23

# If you don't believe I'm sinking Look what a hole I'm in

0:42:230:42:26

# I'm stealing, stealing

0:42:260:42:29

# Pretty mama, don't you tell on me

0:42:290:42:31

# I'm stealing back to my same old used-to-be

0:42:310:42:37

# I'm stealing, stealing

0:42:370:42:40

# Pretty mama, don't you tell on me

0:42:400:42:43

# I'm stealing back to my same old used-to-be

0:42:430:42:47

Will Shade's success established Memphis as a vibrant new

0:42:500:42:54

African-American recording centre.

0:42:540:42:56

And, as a talent scout for Victor Records, he helped launch the

0:42:560:43:00

careers of performers like Memphis Minnie, Furry Lewis and Gus Cannon.

0:43:000:43:07

My father made a very close personal friendship with Will Shade and,

0:43:090:43:12

in fact, employed him for a number of years to be his eyes and ears

0:43:120:43:16

in the Memphis part of the world.

0:43:160:43:18

Will Shade was real proud to be associated with Victor and Mr Peer

0:43:180:43:21

would always send him money whenever Will Shade said, I'm a little short this week, or this month,

0:43:210:43:28

I need some rent money.

0:43:280:43:30

So, I guess he made a lot of money for Victor and Mr Peer.

0:43:300:43:32

People wanted to work with Will Shade, he was so respected.

0:43:340:43:38

He was the Memphis Jug Band.

0:43:380:43:40

I mean, he could have replaced anybody in the band,

0:43:400:43:43

got other musicians - it would still be the Memphis Jug Band

0:43:430:43:46

with his sound, his music, his ideas.

0:43:460:43:49

It was his vision.

0:43:490:43:51

# Cocaine habit is mighty bad

0:44:050:44:09

# It's the worst old habit that I ever had

0:44:090:44:12

# Hey, hey, honey, take a whiff on me

0:44:120:44:16

# I love my whisky and I love my gin

0:44:180:44:22

# But the way I love my coke is a dog-gone sin

0:44:220:44:25

# Hey, hey, honey, take a whiff on me

0:44:250:44:30

# It takes a little coke to give me ease

0:44:320:44:35

# Strut my stuff long as you please

0:44:350:44:39

# Hey, hey, honey, take a whiff on me

0:44:390:44:42

# Let's all take a whiff on Hattie now

0:44:450:44:47

# Hey, hey Hey, hey

0:44:470:44:51

# Hey, hey-ey Hey-ey-ey. #

0:44:510:44:57

Cocaine Habit, cracked me up.

0:44:580:45:00

Here's the subject.

0:45:000:45:02

# Cocaine habit... # Right on top of that.

0:45:020:45:06

# Cocaine habit, now, ain't so bad

0:45:060:45:10

# It's the worst damn habit I ever did have

0:45:100:45:13

# Hey, hey, hey

0:45:130:45:15

# Baby, take a whiff on me. #

0:45:150:45:17

These are the kinds of sliding in and out.

0:45:170:45:20

Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da de-da-da-da-da-di-da,

0:45:200:45:23

la-da-da-di-da-da-di-da.

0:45:230:45:25

# I went to Mr Beaman's in a lope

0:45:250:45:28

# Sign on the window saying "No more dope"

0:45:280:45:31

# Say, hey, hey

0:45:310:45:34

# Honey, take a whiff on me... #

0:45:340:45:36

It just tells you something about American culture,

0:45:360:45:39

American music and, you know,

0:45:390:45:41

when they look down on hip-hop music and look down..

0:45:410:45:44

..because of the words that we use, and stuff like that,

0:45:450:45:48

it didn't start with hip-hop, this started a long time ago.

0:45:480:45:52

This started with America.

0:45:520:45:54

As blues gave way to swing and R&B,

0:45:570:46:00

the Memphis Jug Band faded from view.

0:46:000:46:03

When I met Will Shade, I was 18.

0:46:050:46:08

I loved his music,

0:46:080:46:09

I'm hanging out at Will Shade's house every chance I can.

0:46:090:46:13

There was a two-storey apartment building,

0:46:130:46:16

it had one bathroom at the end of the hall for each floor

0:46:160:46:19

and he had the last two rooms upstairs and a potbelly stove.

0:46:190:46:24

I remember him cooking, in fact, the best hamburger

0:46:240:46:28

I ever had in my life, Will Shade cooked it.

0:46:280:46:31

I had the impression that Will Shade was important and famous

0:46:400:46:44

just by all the people that came by all the time to talk to him

0:46:440:46:47

and you could tell by the way they talked to him that

0:46:470:46:50

they revered him and looked up to him and respected him greatly.

0:46:500:46:54

# I ain't got no stockings I ain't got no shoes

0:46:540:46:57

# All I've got is the Memphis Jug Band blues... #

0:46:570:47:00

On one hand, I mean, it was really poor, I mean, like, squalor.

0:47:000:47:05

On the other hand, it was this energetic, totally alive,

0:47:050:47:09

wonderful place to be.

0:47:090:47:11

And Will would sit by the window in a chair so he could see everybody

0:47:110:47:16

coming up and down the alley.

0:47:160:47:18

And if there was a musician, maybe he'd come up and play something.

0:47:180:47:20

# And if you meet the devil

0:47:200:47:22

# He asks you how you do

0:47:220:47:24

# I'm on my way to heaven Don't you wanna go, too?

0:47:240:47:26

# Know there's a place

0:47:260:47:28

# I'd do just as well

0:47:280:47:29

# They call White Wash Dishes ten miles from hell... #

0:47:290:47:32

And Will Shade became one of my best teachers for harmonica and guitar,

0:47:320:47:37

and we would just sit around and he'd play whatever

0:47:370:47:40

he felt like playing. And I'd play along with him.

0:47:400:47:43

He just loved it that I was interested in learning his music.

0:47:430:47:46

It's hard to put into words.

0:47:460:47:47

In some ways, he's like a father, in some ways he's like a brother,

0:47:470:47:50

and in other ways, he's just a good friend.

0:47:500:47:52

In the 1950s, a young Memphis musician fused the rhythms

0:48:000:48:04

of Beale Street with a country twang of Bristol

0:48:040:48:08

to ignite a new Big Bang called rock and roll.

0:48:080:48:12

# Well, I've got a gal that I love so

0:48:120:48:15

# I'm ready, ready, ready

0:48:150:48:18

# I'm ready, ready, I'm ready

0:48:180:48:20

# I'm ready, ready, ready

0:48:200:48:22

# I'm ready, ready, ready to rock and roll... #

0:48:220:48:25

The first recordings of the Memphis Jug Band were, in their own way,

0:48:280:48:33

a Big Bang of R&B music.

0:48:330:48:35

Will Shade came up with a lot of different types of music

0:48:350:48:39

from a lot of different people.

0:48:390:48:41

And this music remained a permanent influence on American R&B.

0:48:410:48:46

Will Shade had a tremendous effect on American music.

0:48:480:48:51

But he would see other Memphis singers,

0:48:510:48:53

you know, getting recognition, and he thought there was still

0:48:530:48:56

a chance as long as he was alive and able to play

0:48:560:48:59

that he might get one more break.

0:48:590:49:01

I think he...that was a dream of his.

0:49:020:49:05

All the times I would visit Will Shade,

0:49:080:49:10

he would always play this song.

0:49:100:49:12

And if it was not his favourite, it was one of his favourites.

0:49:120:49:15

It was Well, I'll Get A Break Some Day.

0:49:150:49:18

# Mississippi River

0:49:310:49:33

# So deep and wide

0:49:340:49:36

# Woman that I'm loving

0:49:370:49:39

# She's on that other side

0:49:400:49:42

# But I'll get a break

0:49:440:49:46

# Yes, somewhere

0:49:470:49:49

# My lovely one... #

0:49:510:49:52

You know, when he died in 1966, he really didn't have anything.

0:50:010:50:07

And most people really didn't remember his music.

0:50:070:50:09

But, today, all these years later...

0:50:090:50:12

..right down on Beale Street in front of Handy Park,

0:50:140:50:17

there's a brass note with Will Shade's name right on.

0:50:170:50:22

# When I had money

0:50:280:50:29

# I had friends for miles around

0:50:310:50:34

# Now I'm broke, ragged and hungry

0:50:350:50:37

# None of my friends can be found

0:50:380:50:40

# But I'll get a break

0:50:410:50:43

# Yes, somewhere

0:50:440:50:46

# My lovely one. #

0:50:480:50:50

# Ever since my sin

0:51:110:51:14

# Ever since my sin

0:51:140:51:16

# Was taken away

0:51:160:51:18

# Was taken away

0:51:180:51:20

# My heart keeps singing

0:51:200:51:22

# Singing, singing all night... #

0:51:220:51:27

# Lord, I'll die with my hammer in my hands, I'll die

0:51:290:51:33

# Lord, I'll die with my hammer in my hands... #

0:51:330:51:36

# I'm goin' away to a world unknown

0:51:370:51:43

# I'm goin' away to a world unknown... #

0:51:480:51:54

My aunt Bessie would say that Charley Patton

0:51:550:51:57

was the ultimate showman.

0:51:570:51:59

I'll say it like she said it - he could pick the guitar...

0:51:590:52:03

with his mouth, with his hands, behind his back, crawling,

0:52:030:52:08

laying on the floor,

0:52:080:52:09

simulating different acts on stage.

0:52:090:52:13

He was like a one-man band.

0:52:130:52:15

It's really hard to know how far-reaching the influence

0:52:160:52:19

of Charley Patton is.

0:52:190:52:21

I mean, he influenced the first generation of Delta guys.

0:52:210:52:25

You know, guys like Muddy Waters, BB King, and John Lee Hooker.

0:52:250:52:30

But his big thumbprint is on Howlin' Wolf.

0:52:300:52:34

Wolf clearly states that he went over to Patton

0:52:360:52:39

and sat down and Patton showed him his tunes

0:52:390:52:42

and the way he played them.

0:52:420:52:44

You can't get that unless you're right next to him.

0:52:440:52:46

You had to be able to watch him play it every night.

0:52:460:52:48

For several every nights.

0:52:490:52:51

-Tell us something about it.

-When we first started playing

0:52:510:52:53

together, we started playing because we wanted to play rhythm and blues,

0:52:530:52:57

and Howlin' Wolf was one of our greatest idols.

0:52:570:52:59

So I think it's about time you shut up and we had Howlin' Wolf on stage.

0:52:590:53:02

I agree!

0:53:020:53:03

# You couldn't believe a word I say... #

0:53:080:53:10

# John Henry told his captain

0:53:200:53:23

# Man ain't nothin' but a man

0:53:240:53:27

# Before I be beaten by this old steam drill

0:53:270:53:30

# I'm gonna die with my hammer in my hand, Lord, Lord

0:53:300:53:34

# Die with my hammer in my hand... #

0:53:340:53:37

They recorded six songs

0:53:390:53:41

and they got paid 25 a song.

0:53:410:53:44

And that was all, no royalties or anything.

0:53:440:53:47

They just got paid 25 a song, and that was it.

0:53:470:53:50

Makes a lot of difference in getting paid 50 cents a coal car, you know.

0:53:500:53:53

Dad worked in the coal mines all of his life.

0:53:530:53:56

From what I heard, he started,

0:53:560:53:58

like, when he was 13 years old.

0:53:580:54:00

One time, Dad took me down in one, maybe two miles.

0:54:010:54:05

And I didn't want no more.

0:54:050:54:07

I said, "Get me back out of here."

0:54:070:54:09

It's an eerie feeling, man, all that dirt overhead.

0:54:090:54:13

# Old black dog when I'm gone, Lord, Lord

0:54:150:54:20

# Old black dog when I'm gone

0:54:200:54:23

# When I come back with a 10 bill

0:54:230:54:28

# And it's, "Honey, where you been so long...?" #

0:54:280:54:32

It was dangerous just to go in, let alone work in it.

0:54:320:54:35

You know, there was a lot of mining accidents back then.

0:54:350:54:37

My dad told me, every time you go down at that time,

0:54:370:54:41

you were just taking your life in your own hands.

0:54:410:54:43

# Then taken away

0:54:430:54:45

# Then taken away

0:54:450:54:47

# My heart keeps singing

0:54:470:54:50

# Singing, singing on all night

0:54:500:54:55

# Then Jesus washed

0:54:550:54:56

# Then Jesus washed

0:54:560:54:59

# In his blood

0:54:590:55:00

# In his blood

0:55:000:55:02

# My heart keeps singing

0:55:020:55:04

# Singing, singing all night

0:55:040:55:09

# I thank, thee, Father... #

0:55:090:55:11

In the 1920s, Triumph Church, church in general, period...

0:55:110:55:16

..was everything. Because everything was segregated,

0:55:170:55:21

and the blacks went to their churches,

0:55:210:55:24

whites went to their churches,

0:55:240:55:26

and the black people back in that day didn't have much.

0:55:260:55:29

The only thing that they had was - by the church -

0:55:290:55:33

was hope for the future.

0:55:330:55:36

Hoping that there would be a better day coming than what they were

0:55:360:55:40

experiencing at that very present time.

0:55:400:55:42

# I'm singing

0:55:420:55:44

-# I'm singing

-I'm singing

0:55:440:55:46

# I'm singing

0:55:460:55:48

# Singing

0:55:480:55:51

# Singing for the Lord

0:55:510:55:54

# I'm singing

0:55:540:55:56

-# I'm singing

-I'm gonna sing my song!

0:55:560:56:00

-# I'm singing

-I'm gonna sing my song!

0:56:000:56:02

# I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna sing, I'm gonna sing,

0:56:020:56:05

-# I'm singing

-Oh, yes, I'm singing

0:56:050:56:08

-# I'm singing

-Help me, please

0:56:080:56:10

# I'm singing... #

0:56:100:56:12

In that era, music was a break from reality.

0:56:120:56:15

Reality was you're a sharecropper,

0:56:150:56:17

you're working hard every day of your life.

0:56:170:56:19

And it gives you an opportunity to get a break from that

0:56:190:56:23

-hard day-to-day work.

-That's why it's so impactful, even to this day.

0:56:230:56:27

And we've always found a way to scream through the music.

0:56:280:56:32

# I'm told, baby

0:56:320:56:34

# That you ain't never loved me right. #

0:56:360:56:39

The first episode takes us back to 1920s America, where the growth of radio had shattered record sales. Record companies travelled rural America and recorded the music of ordinary people for the first time. The poor and oppressed were given a voice as their recordings spread from state to state.

The film introduces the early recordings of The Carter Family, the founders of modern country music, steeped in the traditions of their isolated Appalachian community. It also features Will Shade and the Memphis Jug Band, whose music told the story of street life in Memphis, and laid the foundations for modern day rap and R'n'B.

Robert Redford narrates this meticulously researched story of a cultural revolution that changed the world. "This isn't just another film, this is history" - Elton John.


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