Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BBC4 - Folk America

Coming up on Friday night at 9pm on BBC4 is the first part of a series of documentaries called Folk America - the Golden Age of American Folk Music. Check out the BBC4 home page for a short video clip .

The series summary is here:

Three-part documentary series on American folk music, tracing its history from the recording boom of the 1920s to the folk revival of the 1960s. The opening part looks at how, in the 1920s, record companies scoured the American south for talent to sell. This was a golden age of American music, as the likes of the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charlie Poole, Dock Boggs and Mississippi John Hurt burst onto record, eager to have a share in the new industry and the money it made, only to lapse into obscurity when the depression hit at the start of the 30s. Contributors include Judy Collins, Steve Earle, Tom Paxton and Pete Seeger, surviving relations of 1920s greats such as Mississippi John Hurt, the Carter Family and Uncle Dave Macon, plus three actual survivors of the era - guitarist Slim Bryant, banjoist Wade Mainer and Delta bluesman 'Honeyboy' Edwards.

The first in the series will probably be the best - showing how the Scotch-Irish music of the mountains became recorded and then commercialised. It'll be interesting to see if the programme uses the cultural term "Scotch-Irish" at all, or whether they'll just blur it into the geographical term "British Isles" as is often the case with studies of early American music.

Set your DVD recorders or Sky+ boxes!