Friday, August 29, 2014

Week 1: Down in the Valley

Children plowing, Kentucky, 1940s

Our first project, as discussed in class. Media is open--a visual work or visuals + writing. We will post at 6pm next week for discussion. Down load songs from Box, and listen up! Be sure to include the .xml file to have full track information on each song.  Add it to your iTunes with the songs themselves. Start singing them so that you begin to know them by heart!
The material below is a supplement to last night's discussion on how to explore additional resources (Max Hunter Archive, Music Library Archive, et al). It's from last year's blog. See you next week.

Down in the Valley. Here are some different versions.   (The search was made using <down in the valley + folksong> By the way, our own "anonymous" version on the S&P CD that you've download is still the best... think about WHY--and let's discuss in class. Also, check out the recorded versions on the Max Hunter Archive (I'm giving you links).

Burl Ives - 08 - Down in the Valley - YouTube    
The classic folkways master... also an actor--something we should discuss
Andy Griffith - Down In The Valley - YouTube  
1950s American tv. Consider... You Angelinos, see also Gene Autry on Okeh...
Down in the Valley - YouTube  
I get impatient, but there's something here...where she takes it...
Lex and Lor Performing Down in the Valley (Birmingham Jail) - YouTube  
Little girls with musical bells
 Slim Whitman - Down In The Valley - YouTube  
A country-western version, steel-guitar

YouTube - Solomon Burke - Down in the valley  (this one's been pulled, so see below)
The song returned to it's souce--by the EMPEROR... Solomon Burke passed away two years ago--and a lot of his material is no longer up on YouTube. Nevertheless, his version of the song is really worth paying attention--how he re-incorporated Down In the Valley into his own soul-singer world. He also tells a powerful story about  performing the song in Louisiana at what  turned out to be a Ku Klux Klan event. (Last thing Solomon Burke expected--he told his band--"No matter what happens, just keep on playin'...") Look into this to see another aspect of American social history--a difficult one--and its connection to the music...  Otis Redding does a similar version... Here are some of Solomon Burke's versions that are still posted:
Right-pointing black triangle Solomon Burke - Down In The Valley - YouTube
Right-pointing black triangle Solomon Burke - Down In The Valley (Tradução) - YouTube

And here are the Max Hunter Archive recordings (Ollie Gilbert apparently did not record this song!)  
Rev. Harold Hunter and Max Hunter, Max Hunter Folk Song Collection  
Jimmy Morris, Max Hunter Folk Song Collection

Week 1: DOWNLOADS on Box

Eastern Kentucky, early 1960s, John Cohen photo

The University offers cloud-based data storage (  I am uploading all the music folders for S&P onto the box system. To access and download the folders, class members may click on the links below. This should be much faster and more straightforward than Rapidshare.

Songs and Places CD (tan songbook)

S&P Extra Songs on Main List (tan songbook, titles in italics)

S&P Supplement Songs (gray songbook)

S&P Work Songs / Spirituals / Gospel

S&P Ballads  

Mississippi John Hurt / Songster Tradition


S&P TAN Songbook

S&P GRAY Songbook

If you have any problems using box, contact for support.

Week I: Notes on the class

CLASS ORGANIZATION.  Basic plan: bring your projects at 6pm to pin up in 170. Arrange the room with down lights, cleared floor, tables in place for campfire lamp. I provide pushpins and basic tools from my cart. Pin up projects. Also pin up a comment sheet so that you can respond directly to each others work (6:10-6:30). Then some songs. Followed by Tony's introduction (visuals, music, videos) to current week. At 8pm or a little before we take a short break, then return to look at your work as a group. I'll want everyone to join in on discussion, both during my presentation, and also during the review of new work.  We end with some more songs...  We'll try to get done by 10pm, but if class runs over, I expect you to stay on.

MONITORS. I'll need some help from you on (1) arranging room with lights, tables and lamp (2) getting my cart setup working (3) returning computer monitor screen(s) to Joe's Office (Room 103)  at end of evening and (4) help getting everything back to my own office. Volunteers?

NOTEPAD. Important! You'll want to have/bring a small notebook to write down names and terms as they come up. The world of American roots music and its cultural sources is vast--like a big weaving, all inter-connected. So picking up on names and places and related ideas--and beginning to make sense of them as they're mentioned--is an important part what the class is about. I want you to know this stuff!

READER. I will have readers available in class. The reader fee & xerox fee will be $30. Please bring $30 cash to class--no checks. Next week!

FIRST DOWNLOADS.  As discussed in  class--Go to Box post for Week I and download song sets corresponding to TAN songbook (main 30 plus supplements, in italic) and GRAY songbook. Three downloads in all. Be sure to include .xml file for track info. I'll give them to you here as well:

Songs and Places CD (tan songbook)

S&P Extra Songs on Main List (tan songbook, titles in italics)

S&P Supplement Songs (gray songbook)


DIGITAL NOTEBOOK. WE WILL DISCUSS THIS IN WEEK 2. I expect each of you to make  a personal blog for the class. This will be a week-by-week record of your work, with notes on songs, readings and visual discoveries. Use blogger ( format, not tumblr. This will allow me (and your classmates) to make comments on your posts. And yes, you need to make a new blog for this class...
Have your name in the title or description. The class is Songs & Places (Visual Studies 185X).   Go to google's   Use a simple template so that your work stands out. (Some of the formats are much too busy.) Your first post should be a kind of self portrait--based on FIRST SONG / EARLY SONG, OLD SONG (I leave this open to interpretation) and something written about your reasons for joining Songs & Places (you can include ideas that come to you after the first night's class). When your blog is up, send me an ACTIVE LINK with the URL to your Digital Notebook homepage. Get me this BEFORE next week's class. When I have full set, I will share with class as a whole. I'll expect you to keep your notebook up to date for each week of the class. It really is a notebook--showing your work and your thoughts & responses as they develop!

CECs. These I provide in class next week, after reader purchase. You should be taking this class for the full 4 units. If not you need to discuss with me.

GRADES. You can ask me to discuss in class. I'm fair, and I expect good attendance and good work. However, I'm also encouraging as to the leaps you take--where you grow...

FIRST PROJECT. See post for Week 1.

READING. We'll start the reader next week. For now, do some online explorations about the background (musical, cultural, historical) about your Down in the Valley.

CREATIVE WORK & EVIDENCE. We'll talk more about these two modes. Creative work--a painting drawing, collage, montage (music, film...)--something you've made from your own creative being. However, since I want you to base your work on the songs and their geo-cultural surround--Songs & Places after all--you need to show these traces and trails--some kind of visual evidence of your exploration which you pin up together with your creative project. (And post on your Digital Notebook.) I have no idea what form this should take, but I want to see it on the wall--we'll see what you come up with... Layers and overlaps are good. Ask in class...

OPENNESS. Finally, let me encourage you to do work that's open. Where your discovery of the form and the meaning is part of the way a work develops. We'll be talking a lot about this!

See you next Thursday.

Course Requirements

* Attendance at all classes
* Learn the songs by heart
* Participate in discussion
* Weekly projects (Creative projects/Evidence projects--as discussed in class)
* Weekly Reading / Written Response
* Digital Notebooks--(Individual Student Blogs)--Record of work and notes on songs, readings, visual discoveries). Please use format with simple background, as discussed in class. Blogger allows for comments on your posts.


Resources (online)
 *  S&P Music Archive (downloads provided week by week)
*  YouTube  (Astute Searches, as indicated week by week)

 *  Digital Tradition (Mudcat)
 *  Max Hunter Folk Song Collection
 *  UC Berkeley Music Library Streaming Audio Databases:
 *  Smithsonian Global Sound


Resources (print)
* S&P Songsheet Sets
* S&P Reader
   Harry Smith Anthology (1952) Original LP recordings and handbook (in Reader)
   John & Alan Lomax Collections
   Rise Up Singing (Folk Song Lyrics)


Songs & Places: Themes

Delta Road, 2002. oil on cardboard

We'll treat the following themes, week by week. The list is approximately chronological--a new theme will be presented each week in class. So heads up! The songs correspond to your S&P Songsheets (tan cover) and to the recordings on the S&P CD Download.


Love Songs

   Down in the Valley
   You Are My Sunshine


   Oh Mary Don’t You Weep
   Since I Laid My Burden Down
   Do Lord


   Banks of the Ohio
   Will the Circle Be Unbroken

Anglo-Irish-Scots Ballads

   Barbara Allen
   Down by the Sally Gardens  
   Comin’ thro’ the Rye

Mississippi John Hurt (Songster I)
   Beulah Land
   Make Me Down a Pallet on Your Floor

Lead Belly (Songster II)
   Goodnight, Irene
   Rock Island Line

Woody Guthrie (Songster III)
   This Land Is Your Land
   Going down the Road
   Roll on Columbia  

Spirituals II

   Amazing Grace
   Swing Low Sweet Chariot


   Sweet Home Chicago
   Corrine, Corrina
   Careless Love

Cowboy Songs

   Streets of Laredo
   I Ride an Old Paint

Sea Shanties

   Greenland Fisheries
   Blow Ye Winds of Morning

Love Songs

   Red River Valley

Bibliography: Additions

John Szwed,  Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World  (2010) 
Robert Cantwell, When We Were Good: The Folk Revival  (1996)
Mary Beth Hamilton, In Search of the Blues  (2008)
Philip Ratcliffe, Mississippi John Hurt: His Life and Times (2011)
Studs Terkel, They All Sang (2006) 

John A. and Alan Lomax, American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934)
Alan Lomax, The Folk Songs of North America (1960)
Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag  (1927)

Robert Wells, Folk Songs and American History (2009)
Robert Palmer, Deep Blues (1982) 
Dana Jennings, Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music  (2008)
Dave Van Ronk (with Elijah Wald), The Mayor of MacDougal Street  (2005)


Some starting points from Tony Dubovsky’s collection of readings on music. The groupings here are a guide, not definitive. Likewise, the collection itself was assembled casually, and over time.

* The Folk Songs of North America, Alan Lomax. Doubleday, 1960
* Best Loved American Folk Songs, John & Alan Lomax. Grosset & Dunlap, 1947.
* Our Singing Country: Folk Songs and Ballads, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. 1941,
Dover 2000
The 111 Best American Folk Ballads, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. 1947, Signet
American Ballads and Folk Songs, John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax. 1934, Dover 1994
* The American Songbag, Carl Sandburg. 1927, Harcourt, Harvest The Ballad Book,
MacEdward Leach, A.S. Barnes & Company Inc. 1955 Harper Brothers
The Ditty Bag, compiled by Janet E. Tobitt. 1960
Cowboy Dancse, Lloyd Shaw. The Caxton Printer, 1943
* Rise Up Singing, ed. Peter Blood-Paterson. Singout Publication, many editions

Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America, Timothy Duffy. Hill Street
Press, 2002
* Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes, Greil Marcus. Henry Holt and
Company 1997
Bringing it All Back Home: Twenty-Five Years of American Music at Folk City. Robbie
Woliver. Pantheon Books 1986
* Paul Robeson, Martin Bauml Duberman. Alfred Knopff 1988
* Making People’s Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Records, Peter D. Goldsmith.
Smithsonian Institution Press, 1998
Folk & Blues: the Encyclopedia, Irwin Stambler and Lyndon Stambler. St. Martin’s 2001
Folk and Traditional Music of the Western Continents, Bruno Nettl. Prentice Hall 1965
Folk Music in the United States: an Introduction, Bruno Nettl. Wayne State Univ. Press,
Detroit 1976
* Bob Dylan: Chronicles Vol. 1. Simon and Schuster 2004
The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan. Nigel Willamson, 2004
Woody Guthrie and Me, Ed Robbin, Lancaster-Miller Publishers, 1979
* The Rose and the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad Doomed Lovers,
Highway Shooters, A Nation Lost and Found, Sean Wilentz and Greil Marcus.
W.W. Norton and Co. 2005
At Home in the Heart of Appalachia, John O’Brien. Anchor Books, 2001
Positively 4th Street: The Lives and times of Joan Baez… David Hajdu. Farrar Strouss and
Giroux 2001
* Woody Guthrie: A Life, Joe Klein. Delta 1980
* The Life and Legend of Leadbelly, Charles Wolfe and Kip Lornell. Da Capo 1999
* Bound for Glory, Woody Guthrie. E. P. Dutton. 1943, 1976 (Intro by Studs Terkel)
R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country. Abrams
* When We Were Good: the Folk Revival, Robert Cantwell. Harvard Univ. Press, 1996
American Roots Music, Robert Santelli. Abrams 2001
The Folk Music Sourcebook, Larry Sandberg and Dick Weissman. Da Capo 1976, 1989
Bob Dylan, Photographs, Barry Feinstein, Daniel Kramer, and Jim Marshall. Bulfinch
Press Book, 1999
Artists of American Folk Music, Phil Hood. Quill 1986
* Folk Song America-A Twentieth Century Revival, Norm Cohen. Smithsonian, 1991.
* Baby, Let Me Follow You Down: The Illustrated Story of the Cambridge Folk Years, Eric von
Schmidt and Jim Rooney. Anchor Press 1979
Anthology of American Folk Music, ed. Harry Smith. Folkways Records, 1952. Re-issued by
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1997.
Where Dead Voices Gather, Nick Tosches. Little Brown and Co., 2001
The Listener’s Guide to Folk Music, Sarch Lifton. Facts on File, 1983

Me and Big Joe, Michael Bloomfield. Colorcraft 1980
Searching for Robert Johnson: The Life and Legend of the ‘King of the Delta Blues Singers’,
Peter Guralnick. Pimlico, 1989
* The History of the Blues: The Roots, The music, the people from Charely Patton to Robert
Cray, Francis Davis. Hyperion 1995
The Roots of the Blues: An African Search, Samuel Charters. Da Capo 1981
* Screening the Blues: Aspects of the Blues Tradition, Paul Oliver. Da Capo 1968, 1989
The Big Book of Blues, Robert Santelli. Penguin 1993
* Blues People: Negro Music in White America, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka). Quill, 1963,
* Urban Blues, Charles Keil. The University of Chicago Press, 1966
Stagolee Shot Billy, Cecil Brown. Harvard 2003
*Blues from the Delta, William Ferris. Da Capo, 1978, 1984
Big Road Blues: Tradition & Creativity in the Folk Blues, David Evans. Da Capo 1987
UC Regents
* Deep Blues, Robert Palmer. Penguin 1982, Viking 1981
* The Land Where the Blues Began, Alan Lomax. Delta 1993
Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues, Elijah Wald. Amistad
Oak Anthology of blues Guitar: Delta Blues, Stefan Grossman. 1969 1988 Oak
Meeting the Blues: The Rise of the Texas Sound, Alan Governar. Taylor publ. 1988
Nothing But the Blues: The Music and the Musicians, Lawrence Cohn. Abbeville Press,
Ernest C. Withers: The Memphis Blues Again, Six Decades of Memphis Music, Daniel
Wolff. Viking Studio, 2001
Blues Faces: A Portrait of the Blues. Imago Mundi, 2000
Down at Theresa’s…Chicago Blues, Marc PoKempner. Prestel

The Autobiography: Chuck Berry, Faber and Faber 1988
Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, Greil Marcus. Plume/Penguin
1975, 82, 90, 97
Elvis, Text: Dave Marsh, Art direction Bea Feitler. Omnibus Press 1992
The Rockin’ 50s, Arnold Shaw. Da Capo 1974, 1987
* Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Nick Tosches. Da Capo 1999
* Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters, Robert Gordon. Little Brown
and Co. 2002
Last Train to Memphis: the Rise of Elvis Presley, Peter Guralnick. Abacus 1994
* Country: The Twisted Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Nick Tosches. Da Capo, 1996, 1998
Vacant: A Diary of the Punk Years, 1976-79, Thames and Hudson, 1999
The Clash, David Quantick. Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2000
Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues, Arnold Shaw. Collier
Books, 1978

* Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Origianl, Robin Kelly. Free Press,
Lush Life: A Biography of Billy Strayhorn, David Hajdu. North Point Press 1996
Jazz Seen, William Claxton. Taschen
The Thelonious Monk Reader, Rob van der Bliek. Oxford 2001
Tony Bennett: The Good Life, with Will Freidwald. Pocket Books, 1998
The Guinness Jazz Companion, Peter Clayton and Peter Gammond. Guiness Books
1986, 1989
52nd St: The Street of Jazz, Arnold Shaw. Da Capo 1977
Lady Day: The Many Faces of Billie Holiday, Robert O’Meally. Arcade Publishing, Little
Brown and Co. 1991
Bird: The Legend of Charlie Parker, Robert Reisner. Da Capo 1962
Lester Young, Dave Gelly. Spellmont and Hippocrene Books, 1984
Lady Sings the Blues: Billie Holiday with William Dufty. Penguin/Vikings Books 1956,
The Jazz Makers, Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff. Grove Press Inc. 1957
The Birth Bebop: A Social and Musical History, Scott DeVeaux. UC Press 1997
Straight, No Chaser: The Life and Genius of Thelonious Monk, Leslie Gourse. Schirmer
Books 1997
Monk, Laurent de Wilde. Marlowe and Company, 1996
Sarah Vaughan: Singer, Marianne Ruth. Melrose Square Publ. House 1994
The World of Jazz, Rodney Dale. Elsevier-Dutton, 1980
Celebrating Bird: The Triumph of Charlie Parker, Gary Giddins. Beech Tree Books, 1987
Jazz Files: Charles Stewart and Paul Carter Harrison. Da Capo, 1985
The Chronicle of Jazz, Mervyn Cooke. Abbeville Press, 1997
Jazz: The First Century, John Edward Hasse. William Morrow, 2000
Dizzy, Duke, the Count and Me: The Story of the Monterey Jazz Festival, Jimmy Lyons
with Ira Kamin. A California Living Book, 1978

*Folk Song America: A 20th Century Revival, Norm Cohen. Smithsonian Collection of
Recordings, 1990
* Lost Highway: Journeys & Arrivals of American Musicians, Peter Guralnick. David R.
Godine 1979
* Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom, Peter
Guralnick. Little Brown and Co., 1986, 1999
* Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll, Peter Guralnick. Little Brown
and Co., 1971, 1989, 1999
Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music, Arthur Kempton. Pantheon 2003
Memphis Beat: The Lives and Times of America’s Musical Crossroads, Larry Nager. St.
Martin’s Press, 1998

Workin’ Man Blues: Country Music in California, Gerald W. Haslam. UC Press, 1999
* The Other California, Gerald Haslam. Capra Press, 1990; second, expanded edition,
Univ. of Nevada Press, 1994
* How Bluegrass Music Destroyed My Life, John Fahey. Chicago: Drag City, 2000.
Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars. Duke Univ.
Press 1998
* In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music, Nicholas Dawidoff.
Vintage Books, 1997
* Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass, Little Brown and
Co. 2000
* The Encyclopedia of Country Music (compiled by country music hall of fame), Paul
Kingsbury (forward, Emmylou Harris). Oxford 1998
Country Music: 70 Years of America’s Favorite Music, Bob Millard. HarperPerennial, 1993
The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, Alan Cackett. Crown Trade
Paperbacks, 1984, 1994
The Cash Family Scrapbook, Cindy Cash. Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1997
The Life and Times of Patsy Cline, Margaret Jones. Harper Perennial, 1994
Your Cheatin’ Heart: A Biography of Hank Williams, Chet Flippo. St. Martin’s 1981
Sing a Sad Song: The Life of Hank Williams, Roger M. Williams. Ballantine Books, 1970,
Finding Her Voice: The Illustrated History of Women in Country Music, Mary A. Bufwack
and Robert K. Oermann. Henry Holt and Co. 1993
Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway, Colin Escott and Kira Florita. Da
Capo 2001

Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas, Elijah Wald.
Rayo/Harper Collins 2001
Samba, Alma Gullermoprieto, Jonathan Cape. 1990
Letras de Folklore con Biografias y Danzas, Amado Olmos. 1999, Basilico
The Bandoneón: A Tango History, Javier Garcia Mendez, Arturo Penon. Nightwood
Editions, 1988
The Billboard Guide to Tejano and Regional Mexican Music, Ramiro Burr. Billboard Books,
The Kingdom of Zydeco, Michael Tisserand. Avon Books, 1998

See separate bibliography for Mexican songs at VS 185X S&P: México

Dread: The Rastafarians of Jamaica, Joseph Owens. Heinemann, 1979, Sangster’s 1972
Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, Timothy White. An Owl Book, Henry Holt and Co.
Bob Marley, Stephen Davis. Doubleday and Co. 1985
Ethiopian Sovereignty: African Nationhood Voices from the Ethio-Diaspora Call…, Ras
E.S.P. McPherson. 1999 A&B Publishers Group
Rastafari: Roots and Ideology, Barry Chevannes. Syracuse Univ. Press, 1994
Reggae Bloodlines: In Search of the Music and Culture of Jamaica, Stephen Davis and Peter
Simon. Da Capo 1977 1992
The Real Facts about Ethiopia (pamphlet), J.A. Rogers. Black Classic Press 1982
Reggae: the Rough Guide, 1997
Waking Up in Jamaica: Music and Vibes of the Caribbean’s no. 1 island, Stephen Foehr.
Sanctuary, 2000
Bob Marley: Soul Rebel-Natural Mystic, Adrian Boot/Vivien Goldman, Eel Pie Publ.,
Yes Rasta: Photographs by Patrick Cariou, Powerhouse Books
Feeling the Sprit: Searching the World for the People of Africa, Chester Higgins Jr. Bantam

The Da Capo Book of American Singing Groups: A History 1940-1990, Jay Warner. Da
Capo Press 1992)
Little Labels---Big Sound, Rick Kennedy and Randy McNutt. Indiana Univ. Press 1999
Last Night’s Fun: In and Out of Time with Irish Music, Ciaran Carson. 1996, North Point
Press, Farrar Strauss…
Road to Rembetika: Music of a Greek sub-Culture songs of Love, sorrow and Hashish, Gail
Holst. Denise Harvey (publisher) 1975
Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music, Andrew F. Jones.
East Asia Program Cornell 1992
Klezmer: Jewish Music form Old World to Our World, Henry Sapoznik. Schirmer Trade
Books 1999
Folk Music and Music Instruments of Punjab, Alka Pande. Mapin Publishers, 1999
Traditional African and Oriental Music, Otto Karolyi. Penguin 1998
Folk Music Instruments of the World. Crown
The Book of Tiki, Sven A. Kirsten. Taschen
The Day Is So Long and the Wages So Small: Music on a Summer Island, Samuel Charters.
Marion Boyars Publ., 1999, 2003
The Swing Book, Degen Pener. Back Bay Books, Little Brown and Co. 1999
Swing Kings, Julie Koerner. Friedman Fairfax Publishers, 1994, 1997
Underground Harmonies: Music and Politics in the Subways of New York, Susie J.
Tanenbaum. Cornell Univ. Press 1995
Listening to Classic American Popular Songs, Allen Forte. Yale Univ. Press 2001
Singers and the Song II, Gene Lees. Oxford Press 1987, 1998
The Wellsprings of Music, Curt Sachs. McGraw-Hill, 1965
Hip Hop America, Nelson George. Viking 1998
Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place, George
Lipsitz. Verso 1994
Broadway Musicals, Gottfried
Gibsons: Fabolus Flat-Top Guitars, An Illustrated History & Guide, Eldon Whitford,
David Vinopal, & Dan Erlewine. GPI Books, 1994
Speak Low (When You Speak Love): The Letters of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya. UC Press,

Musical Instruments, Horniman Museum, London (1970) (inner London educational
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music, Oxford Press, first ed.1952, 1964

VS 185X S&P American Roots: Course Description

Evening Train, 2002, oil on cardboard

Visual Studies 185X Songs & Places: American Roots
Fall 2013 / 4 units / Thursday evenings 6-10pm / 170 Wurster
Anthony Dubovsky

What are the connections between songs and places — visual, musical, and otherwise? How can we describe these connections — give them form? 

Music and place have long been intertwined, and the particulars of place have given rise to some of our most memorable songs: "On the Banks of the Ohio," "Shenandoah," "Red River Valley," "Sweet Home Chicago,” “Lonesome Whistle,” “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.” Whether the folk lyrics from a Russian village on the banks of the Pripyet, or a single line from a shepherd’s flute in the Carpathian mountains, the songster licks of John Hurt down in Avalon, Mississippi, or a precisely bent blues note on a red electric guitar from Muddy Waters in Southside Chicago — the connection is endlessly evocative. However, we live in a world where traditional places — and the traditional songs that come from them — have been rapidly disappearing, inundated by the juggernaut of an international commercial culture which supplants (dis-places/re-places) them entirely--a primary characteristic of our times…

In this seminar-with-projects course we will investigate these changes by listening—by looking closely at the original connection between songs and places — and by making images in response. The medium will be open — drawing, painting, collage, writing, hybrid forms all acceptable. We’ll begin each week by listening to some songs — and learning to sing them. Together with a selection of visual images. Studio projects follow, outside of class. We then reconvene, the following week, to look at and discuss the work. Followed by a new set of songs. Note that during the fall term the course emphasizes American folk songs; the spring term presents the international version (Argentina, Russia, México to date.)

Prerequisites? Upper-division standing. At least some studio art and music background. Class size limited to 15 students. Open to all majors. Application procedures: Send me an email with the following: Your name. Your age. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Your year (junior, senior, grad)? Your major? Musical background? Art background? Tell me something about your interest in this class… Include 2-4 jpegs of your artwork (these must be identified with your name on each jpeg) and send to Anthony Dubovsky at chambersstreet[at]

Listed in Schedule of Classes as Visual Studies 185X Special Topics: Word and Image / CCN 01453