BURL IVES The Wayfaring Stranger

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Between McCarthy era testimony, a slew of unbelievably bad 1960's LPs, and Claymation snowmen, it's pretty easy to forget that at one time, Burl Ives was a dynamic and convincing performer of American folk songs. When I picked this 78 album up at a local junk store, the latter day Burl was on my mind and it languished on my shelves for some time. I'm glad I finally gave these discs a spin, though, because they're wonderful.
This album of three 78rpm discs was recorded and released by Asch Records (Moses Asch, later to found the Folkways label) in 1944. Asch 78s of this era are notoriously lo-fi and noisy, but enjoyable nonetheless. Incidentally, Columbia released an 78 set by Ives in 1944 with the same title, but comprised of different tunes.

Tracks:

1. Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Buckeyed Jim
2. The Bold Soldier, The Sow Took The Measels
3. The Foggy Foggy Dew
4. Black Is The Color
5. The Blue Tail Fly
6. Henry Martin (Pirate Ballad)

*download here*

12 comments:

mrmeadowlark said...

Which Bad 1960s LPs are we talking about? Burl's Country Albums? I grew up on those and they are amongst my favourites. Anyhoo, thank you for posting the earliest surviving recordings of America's Favourite Folksinger, Mr. Burl Ives. I say Surviving, as there is evidence he cut a record for Gennett in 1929 but the record was rejected and the master was destroyed a few weeks later. Anyhoo, I hope all the other readers enjoy these early Burl Ives recordings, I know I certainly am. And I invite anyone curious to hear the Country side of Burl to mosey on over here: http://mrmeadowlark.blogspot.com/2010/06/little-bitty-tear.html

mrmeadowlark said...

by the way.... according to a Book on Burl I have, these were cut in 1941, while the Columbia album of the same title was cut in 1944.

Lonesome Lefty said...

Sorry, Mr. Meadowlark, didn't mean to dis your post... this is clearly the risk involved in expressing one's opinion...
without getting into politics (McCarthyism, etc.) I have to say, I was not trying to dissuade anyone from the latter Burl...
my only memories of latter day Burl Ives records were a couple of tracks my good friend Brad and myself took in as teenagers, which we clearly judged the later Burl by...
1. a track called "Girlie Magazines", in which Ives accounted for his grandfather's taste in pornography,
AND
2. a cover of B.J. Thomas's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head", in which we really wondered if Burl had any idea what place or time he was involved in at all...

My seemed dis of Burl in the face of your confidence in him disturbs me, Mr. Meadowlark, because I am an avid follower of your blog, and therefore, to a degree, of your taste. In the following days, I will try to feature a Burl Ives record, in fact a 78, in my collection, that is a testament to Burl's early allegiance with the Nashville scene, his rendering of "The Wild Side Of Life". He seems to have, in this track, devoted himself to county music, and for that, he is in my "in" club...
Burl seems to have a complicated legacy, that is what attracts me to his "early" repertoire, in these early folk ballads, he seems to have cemented his place amongst the true folk singers, and therefore, posterity...
however, I will listen to the LP you have posted by him with new reverence, and objectivity, and hopefully I will hear what you and others of your generation have heard in Ives...
I look forward!!!
LL

mrmeadowlark said...

did not take your post as a dis. Just thought I would share my opinion. I agree burl did do one album in the late sixties that just did not sound right at all, but I will not mention the title.

I apologize if my comment offended you or damaged relations between us and our two blogs in any way.

As for my Generation, I am only 26. The Burl Ives and Hank Snow albums were my grandparents..... I was blessed enough to inherit their musical tastes. Will check out your tunes, and am looking forward to more good stuff on here.

oldfolkie said...

I remember in our college years our group got up to leave a local pizza joint and before walking out the door we all pitched in a buck apiece and for the jukebox to play Ives' "Pearly Shells" for about 60 times. We got out before we were lynched.

Allen`s Archive said...

This also came out on a 10 inch Stinson LP, the same masters as this 78 set. It`s on my blog. If you want to see it just go to my blog and search Burl Ives. The cover is in my post.

Allen`s Archive said...

Forgot to mention, the name of my blog is Allen`s Archive

Cassy said...

great find. Thanks for sharing the download link.

Cassy from Teach Yourself To Play Guitar

Cy at Pck said...

Hi from Cy
I was in a year or so back...and it is good to see that you are posting again...not a lot I can say from my side of the pond...other than Burl was part of my young days....ha ha...I can recall Elvis on a wind-up playing 78's etc...
all I can say is thank you and keep on rocking
Cy at Pck

Ray Cooper said...

Listening to these American singers, one learns much more about the music. The ignorant more ignorant now makes us tomorrow. Thank you for giving to know these artists and their albums.

Lazy Lester said...

Who Knew that Burl Ives could ellicit such fervid response from the blogosphere?

I'll listen while trying not to hear 'there was an old lady who swallowed a fly. . . ' which is my only exposure to Mr. Ives dating back to kindergarden.

Dirk Bill said...

Wish I could hear this, but the link is dead. Please repost if you can.
I do recall that Doctor Demento had such a penchant for Burl's recording of "Slap Her Down Again, Pa" that it almost became the Doctor's version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in that he played it incessantly.