Blues Houseparty, Transcription

Edited by Beverly Patterson

The film opens with the image of a guitar labeled with "6537 JACKSON"


FAIRFAX STATION, VIRGINIA


PHIL WIGGINS, NARRATOR: Two or three times a year, John and Cora Jackson invite friends and neighbors to an old-fashioned house party. John Jackson is a musician who first learned to play at country parties. And today he and his son, James, still play the blues. Today, some special guests, including musicians Fris Holloway, and John Dee Holeman, have driven up from North Carolina to enjoy the festivities. They are greeted by Cora, John, and James Jackson.

JOHN DEE HOLEMAN: If you are any related to Mr. Jackson here, he's all right. If it's all night, it's all right.

WIGGINS: Parties here always feature fine music and attract other local musicians. Many of them, like John and Cora Jackson, also grew up in rural Virginia. The Piedmont blues they play, is a rhythmical finger-picking style from the foothills of the Appalachians. And they are recognized masters of this style.
 
JOHN JACKSON:
I got a gal she stays upstairs,
She's trying to make a living
by putting on airs.
She's a trucking little baby,
She's a trucking little baby,  
She's a trucking little baby  
I tell you everywhere I go

Drop a while now.

 (The music continues, sometimes in the background, while the title and list of featured performers is shown. Phil Wiggins is the narrator throughout the film. A harmonica player, he is also featured in one performance.)

THE FOLKLORE SOCIETY OF GREATER WASHINGTON PRESENTS

That's trucking there.

BLUES HOUSEPARTY


HOLEMAN:
I gotta baby she loose and low,
She used to love me,
But she don't no more.
She's a trucking little baby,
She's a trucking little girl,
She's a trucking little girl.

James, take a break. Do it a long time.

PRODUCED AND EDITED BY ELEANOR ELLIS

Hey Mama killed a chicken,
She thought it was a duck,
She put it on the table with its legs sticking up.

Yeah, smooth it on out there. Yeah.

FEATURING

JOHN CEPHAS
ARCHIE EDWARDS
JOHN DEE HOLEMAN
QUENTIN "FRIS" HOLLOWAY
CORA JACKSON
JAMES JACKSON
FLORA MOLTON
PHIL WIGGINS
LARRY WISE

WIGGINS: These parties at the Jacksons' connect with an older tradition of rural Southern house parties, which once served the black community as the most common form of weekend entertainment. The musicians and dancers gathered here, look back on those earlier parties with a special fondness.
 
JOHN CEPHAS: Friday and Saturday nights after everybody had quit work, you know, they'd gather around at each other's houses and they would have them country hoedowns, you know. We called them country breakdowns or hoedowns where there were bands and drink corn liquor, and just have a good time, you know.

JOHN JACKSON: It would be like one neighbor here this week, would give a-- like a--what you call a mountain hoedown--a party. Bunch of people would come in and have square dances and songs they liked to dance to, like "Boil Them Cabbage Down" or "Get Along Home, Cindy." Why you'd play that one song all night. Oh, yeah. People, all the neighbors, some of them much as 30 miles away, would come around. Well, I've walked a many, a many weekend--anywhere from 10, maybe 30, miles--with a guitar on my back and get back in just long enough to go to work on Monday morning. Many a-- many times.

CEPHAS: Sometime, if you was walking on them country roads, you could hear that music coming from that house, look like, a mile before you got there. And if you was walking, when you--soon as you heard that sound a mile away--you started walking a little faster.

JOHN JACKSON:
I've got the key  
To the highway
I'm . . . and bound to go. ♪
I'm gonna leave here running
Walking is most too slow.
I'm going back
To the border
That old place where I'm known
'Cause you ain't done nothing
Drove a good man from home.

JOHN DEE HOLEMAN:
Give me one
More kiss mama
Just before I go.
I'm gonna leave this time
So, I won't be back no more.  
When the moon  
Peeps over the mountains
Honey I will be on my way.
I'm gonna roam this old highway
Until the break of day.  

--Yeah, play it one time.

--Them was good times.

ARCHIE EDWARDS: I call that good times when times was bad.

-Yeah. Good times when times was bad.

CEPHAS: You know, we didn't--in the black community-- we didn't really have no place else to go. Especially after a hard week's work, I know my family, they worked hard. A lot of them worked in saw mills, over the road, wherever, working on the roads, you know. But on the weekends, they didn't have no place else to go.

Of course there was segregation then You couldn't go into the big towns, into the big hotels, any place like that where they was having good times at, like that. So they had to have all their fun and enjoyment within the community.

JOHN JACKSON: It was something for everybody to do. And one neighbor would bring--cook a ham and bring it. Somebody would fix a big pot of beans. Somebody will make a cake or bring in pie. We had plenty to eat. You'd just have a ball on the weekend.

CEPHAS: Like they start on Friday night, you know, in them places. It lasts Saturday on into Sunday, long as it's good. Some of them will go to sleep right in the same place and wake right back up and start playing, doing it right all over again. One more time.
 
EDWARDS:
When I waked up this morning
Thought I sure was feeling fine.
Had to walk streets over.
See that bear-cat woman of mine.
She was fussing she was fighting.
Acting like a doggone fool.
Yes, she was fussing she was fighting.
Acting just like a doggone fool.
That woman she was heeing she was hawing.
Acting just like a balky mule.

The only way that I could get a chance to go to one of those house parties at my age, my brother would go to the parties and started whooping at the older musicians about him having a little brother at home in the bed sleeping, and he'd be playing the guitar. And so they say, "Okay, go home and get him," you know. And I'd hop out the bed, grab my little old guitar and jump in the car with him. We go "tik tok tik" down the road, across the woods to the house party. And when we get to the house party, there's older musicians there. Tough guys. But, uh, by me being young and stupid, I guess I was too stupid to be afraid. So I'd buck up against them. I played--I played along with them. But in the meantime I was learning from them.

CEPHAS: They used to bring them old guitar players around long time ago. You know, specialists, guy come from way off somewhere. You sit back and we tell him "No, no, I can't do nothing." You want to see what he could do. After you see what he could do. And once you see what he could do, you'd either jump on him or you turn him loose.

HOLLOWAY: Or you don't do nothing. It's been a lot of times when I didn't do nothing.

HOLEMAN: Play the blues.

EDWARDS:
Bad, kitty ain't no wildcat
But she won't stay home at night.
Oh bad kitty ain't no wild cat
But she just won't stay home at night.
When we come down to squabbling
That cat sure can scratch and bite.

CEPHAS: Of course you gonna be a little nervous about that.

HOLLOWAY: Always nervous.

CEPHAS: Always nervous about that. And sure enough, every now and then they bring one of them guitar players in there and they all go at it, yourself included. And sometimes you could just be there. Boy, that could wear you out, you know. But then you lay back, you look and see what he's doing on that guitar, you know. And you go and get that thing together. Next time you even might be right, you know.

EDWARDS: It's like prize fighting. He knock you out this time. You knock him out next time.

I was standing on a corner
I was picking up all those bad cat news.
Yes I was standing on the corner
Picking up all those bad cat news.
Now come on bad cat mama
Send me home with the bad cat blues .

HOLEMAN:
I ain't never love but three womens in this land.
I ain't never love but three womens in this land.
It was my mama and my sister and that
Lady did that old black and tan.
Come now pretty baby
Tell John the reason why.
I say hey, hey, hey, hey
Tell John the reason why
That I love you little girl
Until the day I die.

Yeah. Lord have mercy. Pick the bumps off of it there.

HOLLOWAY: All right. All right.

CEPHAS: Like Archie said, it used to be a lot of country musicians there. They would be playing. I would learn a lot from them guys, but that was always my aspiration just to want to learn that, you know.

HOLEMAN: Ever since then, I wanted to be around the musicians so I can learn something. I'm a little baby boy, just started walking, but, you know.

HOLLOWAY: Well, I'm still looking too, just like you is. If they come out with something new I want it. Yeah. I practice to find out what's happening.

EDWARDS: It made me, got me to the point where I wasn't afraid to appear in public and gave me something to look forward to because it instilled in me to become a musician.

JOHN JACKSON: Thought you wanted it kinda slow.

--Hey, that sounds good.

JOHN JACKSON:
Oh, sweet honey at home.
Hey Ho, sweet honey at home.
Says, I love my honey,
Yeah, baby once she's gone.
I love her at lunch,
I love her at night,
I love my honey 'til I love her right.
Hey Ho, sweet honey at home.
Says, I love my honey . . . .

Man, I used to enjoy them parties more than anything I really did. And then, probably, maybe later on, in the night somebody would get too much to drink. And wasn't long before the beatings started Man, you never seen such god-awfulness.

CEPHAS: I'll tell you, them guys used to be very particular about the girls. You know, that's what they mostly get to fighting about--them girls. Especially after they get a little high. You know, the music is jumping, and they'd be dancing on the floor. You'd better not dance with nobody's woman. Come on boy. I'll tell you. And not too many times.

-- And not hold her too tight.

HOLEMAN:
Yes you talk about my honey  
Better leave mine alone.
I don't get my honey  
Gonna be a dead man gone.
Said, honey sweet
Sweet honey at home.
Said it even takes my honey
Just to satisfy my soul.
 
JOHN JACKSON:
Said I want my girl  
She's big and round
She's built down on the ground.
I want my girl 
She's big and round
She's built down on the ground  
Said she's got some loving
 . . . .

But the worst party I seen at one of them was a little school house party one year. And this big man was at the door, collecting 10 cents. He was about six foot ten, I reckon, weighed 270 pounds and had about a 34 waist. He had a head about that long, and it was round and had a spot up on top. It had started a drop of rain or two, and he never had a sign of hair across the top of his head. And a band of people came in there and said they weren't gonna pay to come in there. And he told them said, "If you come in here, you're gonna pay 10 cents." So he shut the door on them.

And this big--great big man--hauled off with his big foot and kicked the whole door down. Come in swinging. Man, they commenced to fighting, and you never saw such a fight in all the days of your life. He beat the devil out of them five. But that one, he was the meanest one. Man, you know, the licks--I'm telling you, it was just like cutting wood. He knocked him down and finally got in on top of him, and he had some kind of old piece of pistol in his pocket. Didn't know what it was and it fired and shot him right in the face where it had knocked out them two teeth. He spit the bullet out and kept beating the man. Took ten people to get him off. They said if they had of been farther away from him, they would have hurt him real good.

HOLEMAN:
I was born without a butcher knife.
I've been sprayed down with two 45s.
A dynamite blowed me on the mouth side.
A rattle snake bit me.
He crawled back back in there.
I looked at the rattle snake,
I said, "You can't harm me.
'Cause I've got . . .
I need more schooling
and I don't mind dying."
I went . . . and rode like thunder
I ramshacked Hell
And put the devil on him
My hand come to life
and put the thumb in jail.
You know who'd join
and doing mighty well
I done so well,
I jumped down in Hell.
I looked at the Devil
and I looked at him well.
I sent him to get a glass of water.
Every time he got back,
I looked at his foolish daughter.
Every time he stooped down to get a shovel of coal
I said "Uh oh! You're ready to roll!"

HOLLOWAY: Sometimes it's hard to describe, but oh, them old break downs, and they used to--well, when they had them corn shuckings and wood cuttings, well, especially corn shuckings--they'd have this guy, he would have about three to four jars of white liquor up in the bottle. So he didn't have no-- he didn't have no trouble getting nobody shucking no corn because they was trying to get to the bottle.

EDWARDS: When I was growing up, I didn't drink this stuff. I sold it and that's how I kept myself topped out with new trousers, new shoes and shirts and whatnot. All the liquor that my dad would get me, I'd sell it. I kept a pocket full of money.

CEPHAS: I guess I didn't start drinking corn liquor till I was just maybe 12, 14 years old. It kind of reminds me about my grandfather. I think he was the first one that introduced me to corn liquor. Now he loved all them country breakdowns. Course he used to have them at his house. Like on Friday, Saturday, everybody would say, "We all going over to John's house tonight." They know they was all going to John Dudley's house, which he would have plenty of corn liquor, you know.

And he would say, "Boy! You got to snap. You gotta be a man. You know, you're so dead."` I was just a young fella, like that, you know. So I could remember he and my brother, all of us together, he said, "Look at it." He said, "You can't stand this boy. You can't stand it. Look at it." Said "You won't be a man till you can drink this." I'm just a young fella. So one time he gave me some of that stuff. That stuff liked to killed me.

HOLEMAN:
I am poor, but around here
I wouldn't invite them, but I'm down here.
Let's try to have a ball now at some hall tonight.
I want everybody to come.
Bring your cleaver
Because we gonna drink rough stuff, tough stuff,
Stuff without a bone.
If you can't drink stuff
Leave the mess alone.
I got it.

JOHN JACKSON:
We don't care what mama don't allow,
We gonna have to anyhow,  
Mama don't allow no drinking in here.
We don't care, just don't care,
We gonna have to anyhow.  
Mama don't allow no drinking around
Sunday morning six . . .
Going down the streets, trying to do the twist,
Mama don't allow no drinking around.

HOLLOWAY: I always loved to hear those blues when they had those corn shuckings and other things like that. And my mother didn't want to do that. She didn't want me to do this. And about ten, ten o'clock, maybe ten-thirty, years ago, that was a deadline. You'd better be there. You'd better be at home. But some guys come and got me one night about nine o'clock, and uh, I was trying to play the old piano and played a little guitar and blues and everything. And I come in that night and my mama just eat me up. Soon as I hit the door. And uh "Where you been, boy?"

I tell you, up on the keyboard, they'd been putting nickels, dimes, pennies, anything up there. And I had--my pockets was bulged out. I said, "Mama, I just play a little music and everything." And I just, she had an apron on, and I just give it all to her, And then from then on when I'd get ready to go somewhere, Momma always tell Pop, said, "Let him go."

HOLEMAN: Yeah, mother used to tell me, said--just knowing what I was doing, trying to play the guitar-- "Boy, you just worrying me to death." So after I learned to hit a tune or two-- she's about 85 now--she said, "Don't you come around here no more unless you got that guitar." Yeah, Yeah Instead of me worrying her, now she's worrying me!

HOLLOWAY: There's a lot of people that they used to allow--or a guitar or a deck of cards in the house. They didn't allow that. But you know--that's just--they were so religious I guess.

CEPHAS: You know how the older people didn't want the young ones fooling around with the people that's playing the blues and didn't want you playing the blues a lot. They want you in the church. I guess more--I guess you can remember-- Of course I got my start, like, in the church, you know. And I think my mother used to have us going down to church just about every Sunday. We'd go there and stay all day.

FLORA MOLTON:
Do God, do God. God remember me.
Do God, remember me.
I ain't got no mother, no father,
God remember me.  
Oh Lord, I ain't got no mother, no father,
Oh God, remember me.
Ooh, Lord, I ain't got no mother, no father,
God remember me.
Do God, remember me.

My father was a preacher, and he would come home for the revivals and he'd go back out in West Virginia. And my mother and we all would be home. So they would have parties at my mother's and at different places. And when my father come home, I said, "Papa you know that mother and them," I said, "They had the parties." I don't know why I told my father that. I didn't get angry at my mother because we really didn't-- she didn't-- want him to know. And Papa said, "Yeah, I know summertime Christian, never have been revived. And wintertime Devil." But, I don't know why I did that.

And I was enjoying the parties, so the next day, Papa went somewhere. I said, "Mama." She said, "Uh." I said, "When Papa got back to West Virginia, I didn't want to stop having the parties." I said, "Let's us go ahead and have parties" And she said, "I'm gonna tell your father what you said." Uh Oh!

So when Papa came back, Mama--they called him Billy by the way-- "Billy, you know what Flora said?" "What?" "She told me, said, 'when y'all, when you go away, let us go ahead on and still have them.'" He said, "Did you say that Flora?" I said, "Papa, you know what I was doing? I was just picking Mama." I wasn't picking her. But I was just that sneaky, 'cause I would rather have them parties so the boys could come around and we could have our fun too.

They say they gonna cut your whiskey out,
Just let you have a little wine.
Most everybody goes on a drunk
Because they won't stop drinking moonshine.
God don't like it.
I know.
And you're daddy don't like it.  
I know.
I said, daddy don't like it.
I know.
It's a scandal and a shame.

They said that they've been converted .
Why don't you stop telling your lie?
Stop drinking your beer and your whisky,
And speak no more silver lies.
Because God don't like it.
I know.
And your daddy don't like it.
I know.
I said daddy don't like it.
I know.  
It's a scandal and a shame.

They tell me that the yellow corn  
Tell me that's the very best kind.
You better turn that corn into bread
And stop that drinking moonshine.  
God don't like it.
I know.
And your daddy don't like it.  
I know.  
I said, daddy don't like it .
I know.  
It's a scandal and a shame.  

You know some men won't pay their honest debts.
They even let the house rent get behind.
They drop all their pay on Saturday night,  
And drink it all up in moonshine.  
God don't like it.  
I know.  
And your daddy don't like it.  
I know.  
I say daddy don't like it.  
I know.  
It's a scandal and a shame.  

I know you don't like them words I sing,  
But I have spoke my mind.  
I won't take back a word I said  
Because I sure don't drink moonshine.  
God don't like it.  
I know.  
And your daddy don't like it.  
I know.  
I said daddy don't like it.  
I know.  
It's a scandal and a shame.  
 
CORA JACKSON: I've been working on meat, ever since I was nine years old. My father used to cut up meat before me. And he used to raise four hogs every year. But, that ham, what I cooked today, we cut it up and I salted it down and that's what y'all eating. That's good. Can you grab one for me?

But the worse time it ever was, Johnny got a 500 pound hog and went on round to play a concert and put the hog on the table. The hog was so big, taken two people to bring it--cut it half in two--to bring it in. Johnny put it on top for me to tend to that big hog. And I looked at it, and the poor table just a crying. I said, "I be damned if I am." Because if that table had a fell with that hog on it, I'd a been caught under the table instead on top of it. That's true. That was a 500 pound hog. How do you take a 500 pound hog after you cut it half in two? That's 250 pounds on this side and 250 pounds on this side. That much weight fall on me-- where I'm gonna be but under him! And I ain't never been under nothing weighed 50, uh, 250 pounds before.

--I hear that

--Yeah. I didn't get a drumstick. Man, where'd you get that drumstick?

 --Right there. Don't you know a drumstick when you see one?

--Well, I'm glad you put it on my plate because I didn't want to make a pig of myself.

--Put it in your mouth. Mmm. Mmm

CORA JACKSON: You want some, baby? You want some beans, baby? Say, yeah, get the baby some beans. I'm gonna show you how I'm gonna--used to do it all the time. Every time, you catch me doing something I've got no business doing.

HOLEMAN:
I said, one foot, two foot, three foot drag  
Dance all night to the Sugarfoot Rag.
Do a little jig and a ziggity zag,
Dance all night to the Sugarfoot Rag now.
 
WIGGINS: What kind of dances did they do--like to the music that we play?

--Like buckdancing

CEPHAS: They did things like kicking the mule, you know. They used to have that dance.

--Yeah, they'll do anything to get attention.

--They want to be the center of attraction.

--Yeah. Uh huh.

--I mean that is what they wanted to be. Yeah.

MOLTON: To have somebody call them sexy, Oh yeah.

--Yeah. Somebody--

--The old square dance.

--Yeah.

MOLTON: When some are promenading, and turn to your right and all like that.

--Yeah. Square dancing. Square dancing's been around a long time.

--Yeah? Now she's the king of square dancing, right there.

--Mmhmm. Who is?

--This is the queen. She's the queen of square dancing. Yes.

MOLTON: They'd have a dance back then called "Shimmyshewobble," "Balling the Jack"

--Oh yeah, "Balling the Jack"

-- Yeah. "Big Apple." They had one, called the "Big Apple."

HOLEMAN: "Black Bottom" and "Do the Camel."

CEPHAS: "Kicking the Mule." Did ya'll do that? "Kicking the Mule." Called that. The music be jumping. And you'd be jumping--"Kicking the Mule." And you'd be going like that, you know.

HOLLOWAY: We got old John Dee Holman and he wants to do "The Train." And what else is-- Oh, well, he's going to do "The Train." Then he'll do--uh-- "Model T"--- Oh,  "Model T Ford," he says. Mr. Holeman, come on out.

--All right. Let's hear it, John.

--Come on. Flip it on.

(John Dee steps onto a slightly elevated plywood platform that serves as a stage. He tells the story about the Model T Ford and the Train and produces accompanying sound effects with his feet.)


HOLEMAN: My dad had an old Model T Ford once, I was quite small. All the gas, you know, they didn't have a starter on them, you know. You always twisted a little crank, you know, to start. He'd say, "Hold the gas down on it." I'd hold the gas down. He'd turn it. The whole thing stops. Woo. He'd turn it again. It stops. He'd say, "Don't flood it. Don't flood it. Just hold it."

Your gas down and the starter running. He twists a couple more times. And that thing started hitting. That's hitting. That's hitting. They'd say, "Good. Keep hitting, boy. Keep hitting." He'd say, "Okay. . . . "And if you start hitting a little better, start." He'd say, "Bring her on outta the shed, boy," and I started. He said, "Now go on back in there," and I'd back on up. He said, "You did that so good," he said, "I'm gonna carry you to the train station and let you get you a ride." The old train starts.

(Holeman and Holloway often performed together and the following back and forth is typical of their dialog.)


HOLLOWAY: That don't sound like no train John Dee.

HOLEMAN]: That's it!

HOLLOWAY: Oh, that's when it starts?

HOLEMAN: Yeah.

HOLLOWAY: Now what're you doing?

HOLEMAN: Gonna get a little faster. That's about to speed up.

HOLLOWAY: Where's that train going now, boy?

--
Yeah!

HOLLOWAY: You see a guy, get out there and make a break. And you practice all that next week. That guy that make the break. He got so much applause for it. I did that, a many a week. And just, you know, I'd be looking, eyes shining like spotlights, I reckon. See, see what he's putting down. And then, I'd work all week on that, to seek it out. Make it. And--I'd try, but-- It was some good times. Oh yeah. A good time. But like you said, you had a little fighting, you had a little cutting up. A little hee-hawing.

CORA JACKSON: I'd like to challenge y'all.

HOLEMAN: On dancing?

CORA JACKSON: Yeah.

HOLEMAN: Well, such as we have . . . .

CORA JACKSON: Oh well, if you think you got it. We'll put it on the boards.

HOLEMAN: Uh Oh! Sounds like you heard that! She said she wants-- Come on over here. . . .

(Holeman pats out a rhythm while Holloway dances)

HOLEMAN: All right we're going to switch a little bit.

CORA JACKSON: Go ahead. Switch it.

HOLLOWAY: There ain't gonna be no difference. It's the same thing.

(Holeman and Holloway change places and Holloway pats out the accompanying rhythm while Holeman dances)

(Cora Jackson takes a turn and demonstrates her considerable dance skills.)

CORA JACKSON: My mother was a dancer-- And she used to have dances. She did. But she-- when we was little--she would put us upstairs, away from them. And I would crawl at the top of the steps, and peek through the valances at them. Then if I caught all I could catch, I'd go back and try all of it. That's how I learned how to square dance, buck dance and do any kind of dance I wanted to do. That's true. That's where I learned mine from--my mother.

HOLLOWAY: You're always looking to see what--who's dancing this way and who's dancing that way. And you're learning something. I used to--that's what I used to-- I still do. I'm still looking.

HOLEMAN:
Don't see why my baby don't write to me.
I don't see why my baby don't write to me.
Blue and lonely just sad as a poor boy can be.  

Mama, mama, won't you talk to your daughter for me.  
I said, mama, mama won't you talk to your daughter for me.
Just as blue and lonely, just as sad as a poor boy can be.  

Do it funny boy

I believe that girl got a heart like a piece of railroad steel.  
I believe that woman got a heart like a piece of railroad steel.  
She passed me this morning and she said, "Johnny, How do you feel?"  

I got to leave you baby, this time I got to say good-bye.  
I got to leave you baby, this time I got to say good-bye.  
I love you girl until the day I die.

(Phil Wiggins, harmonica, teams up with John Cephas, guitar and vocal, on the following blues.)

CEPHAS:
Just true as a bird, you know, flocking skies above,  
You know life ain't worth living if you ain't with the one you love.  
 . . .  and I lay my pencil down  
One heart struck sorrow and the tears come rolling down.  

Uh huh, Uh huh, Uh huh. Oh shucks,  
No two men loving you, one of us got to go  

(harmonica and guitar break)

And then I feel like snapping fire a little pistol in your face.  
Lord, in some graveyard will be your resting place.
I was drinking muddy water, I was sleeping in a hollow log,  
Ain't gonna stay here, woman, being treated like no dog.  

That's why I was standing down in Richmond on a pony named Brother Maize  
Up pulled two police, "Hey son, what is your right name?"

CEPHAS: I play the Piedmont style. This is alternating thumb and bass where you play a background and then you play the leading part. Just like the guys here from North Carolina, they play the same type. It's funny how you meet one musician and you just, you seem to meet so many others. It's like I met Floyd, then it's Phil, now all these people. Because everybody has their whole scope. I mean It's like a bond, between all musicians, I mean, I don't care what type of music you play, if you're a musician, it's kind of bond, it's like friendship right from the start.
 
ARCHIE EDWARDS:
Said the road is rough and rocky, Lord  
But it won't be rocky long.  
John Hurt was my best friend  
But the poor boy's dead and gone.  
Said I wonder sometime,  
Lord, why everything seem to happen to me.  
My mother warned me to be a good boy,  
But I turned out to be as bad as a boy could be.

It takes a worried man
To sing a worried song.  
You got me worried now good gal,
But I won't be worried long.

JOHN JACKSON:
I got a brown skin woman
She don't pay me no mind.
Brown skin woman
She don't pay me no mind.  
She finds her loving
Out on her daddy's farm.

Say brown skin woman  
Why get your sugar brown?  
Brown skin woman  
Why get your sugar brown?  
Says, I find my sugar  
Out on my daddy's farm.  

I got a brown skin woman  
She lives up on that hill.  
Brown skin woman  
She lives up on that hill.
She got wings like a bird  
Can't keep her body still.  

Changing ocean  
Changing deep blue sea.
Changing ocean  
Changing deep blue sea.  
There's change in my woman  
Be no change in me.

WIGGINS: Blues was kinda born in the community, it was a relief for the community, a way of expressing themselves. I think that kind of environment caused the music to develop in such a way that it's strong enough to survive so that people like me and Larry, it's still here for us to pick up on and enjoy. People still dig dancing to it, partying to it, and having a good time because it's music about life, and it's got a good beat and it's happening now.

I'm gonna call up China  
An' see if my baby's been over there.  
I'm gonna have to call up China  
See if my baby's been over there.  
No, that woman of mine  
Got it, got this big world  
Just somewhere.
Seek and I'll find her.  

Oh there's rats in the kitchen  
Eating up all my bread.  
When I come home  
Even all in my bed, yeah.  

You one black rat, uh huh  
Someday I'm gonna find your trail.  
Lord, I'm a-hiding my shoe  
Somewhere beneath your shirt tail.  

Well you told you me that you love me  
Told me a lie,
But I still love you baby  
Until that day I die.  

Yes, you one black rat, uh huh  
Someday I'm gonna find your trail.  
Lord, I'm a-hiding my shoe  
Somewhere beneath your shirt tail.  

Well now here you come  
When you're blue.  
I got on another woman, Lord  
I don't want you.  

Yeah you one black rat, uh huh  
Someday I'm gonna find your trail.
Lord I'm a-hiding my shoe  
Somewhere beneath your shirt tail.  

Lord, I hate to see  
The evening sun, sun go down.
Lord I hate to see  
The evening sun go down.
When the evening sun go down  
And my love  
Come tumbling down.  

I said baby don't you wish you had  
Had a man just like me.
I said baby don't you wish you had  
Had a sweet man just like me.  
Lord I'm gonna make you just happy  
As a poor girl can be.  
What a blue boy  

Yeah, I think this has been really great today, man. This--it's been really dynamite. Drinking this old corn liquor and stuff, having a good time, you know. letting your hair down, especially guys from North Carolina came up. Almost as soon as we met, we was like friends.

Oh I hate to see  
Evening sun, sun go down.
Lord I hate to see  
See the evening sun go down.  
When the evening sun go down  
And my love  . . . .(Music fades.)


Credits roll as musicians say their good-byes and leave.

Producer and editor: Eleanor Ellis

Director: Jackson Frost

Associate producers: Barry Pearson, Joe Wilson, and Bill Barlow

Location manager: Cora Jackson

Camera: Tom Goodwin, Todd Holme

Sound: Zack Krieger, J. P. Whiteside

Musical sequences mixed by Pete Reiniger

Lighting: Barr Weissman

Additional Lighting: Zack Krieger

Tape deck operators: Carrie Lamson, Linda Goldman

Production assistants: Nancy Abbott Young, Annie Williams

On line editor: Andy Hemmendinger

Narrator: Phil Wiggins

Sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington

Special thanks: Robert F. Smith, John Simson, Joann Malone, John Dimsdale, Pierre M. Sprey, Rick Boardman, Vic Romero, Nancy Swenton, David Goodfriend, Kathy James, Takoma Park Community Television, Post-Newsweek Stations, Mapleshade Studio, West End Video, The National Council for the Traditional Arts

"Virginia Country Blues," written and performed by John Cephas. Courtesy John Cephas

"Balky Mule," performed by Archie Edwards. Written by Blind Lemon Jefferson. Courtesy Black Swan Records.

"The Road is Rough and Rocky," written and performed by Archie Edwards. Courtesy Archie Edwards

"Evening Sun," performed by John Dee Holeman and Quentin Holloway. Written by John Dee Holeman. Courtesy John Dee Holeman

1989 Houseparty Productions

That's all for now folks.

This program is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Folklife Program and funded in part by the NEA/AFI Mid-Atlantic Region Media Arts Fellowship Program administered by Pittsburgh Filmmakers with additional funds from the Maryland State Arts Council