Don Fleming, Elvis Costello & Emmylou Harris

  • Aired:  03/08/12
  •  | Views: 14,292

Don Fleming, Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris discuss the the folk music legacy of Alan Lomax. (6:44)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

MY GUESTS TONIGHT ARE HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE FOLK-MUSIC LEGACY OF ALAN LOMAX.

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE TREE-SAVING LEGACY OF ALAN LORAX.

PLEASE WELCOME DON FLEMING,

EMMYLOU HARRIS AND ELVIS COSTELLO.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) WOW.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

NICE TO MEET YOU.

EMMYLOU, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

ELVIS, ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

OKAY.

NOW DON, LET'S EDUCATE THE PEOPLE HERE FOR JUST A MOMENT.

>> ALL RIGHT.

>> Stephen: WE KNOW THESE GUYS, OKAY, WE HAVE GOT A ROCK 'N' ROLL HALL OF FAMER,

A COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMER, ARE YOU NOW ON "THE COLBERT REPORT" HALL OF FAME.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: AS ALL MY GUESTS ARE.

>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

I'LL TAKE.

>> Stephen: OKAY, BUT YOU ARE ALSO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION

FOR CULTURAL EQUITY AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE ALAN LOMAX ARCHIVES.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WHO IS ALAN LOMAX, WHY SHOULD I CARE?

>> WELL, ALAN WAS A FOLKLORIST AND MUSE COLE GIST AND HE SPENT HIS WHOLE

LIFE, A GOOD CHUNK OF THE 20th CENTURY COLLECTING TRADITIONAL MUSIC AND DANCE

FROM AROUND THE WORLD.

AND HE SPENT HIS TIME, YOU KNOW, GOING TO THE RURAL AREAS WHERE HE COULD FIND

MUSIC THAT HAD BEEN LOST OTHERWISE.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS, YOU KNOW, I HEAR THE TERM A LOT.

WHAT IS FOLK-MUSIC.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

I THINK OF FOLK-MUSIC AS POOR PEOPLE MUSIC, RIGHT?

IT'S LIKE, IT'S LIKE THE MEXICAN FOOD OF MUSIC.

IT'S FOR POOR PEOPLE, RIGHT?

>> WELL, IT'S MUSIC THAT DOESN'T MAKE MUCH MONEY.

THAT'S WHY THEY USED TO HAVE A CATEGORY IN THE GRAMMYS,

YOU KNOW, CONTEMPORARY FOLK AND IT MEANT GOOD RECORDS THAT DON'T SELL.

>> Stephen: OKAY SO HOW MANY SONGS DID HE COLLECT IS THIS.

>> HE COLLECTED TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SONGS.

WE HAVE 17,000 TRACKS THAT WE JUST PUT UP ON OUR WEB SITE THAT PEOPLE CAN STREAM

TO LISTEN TO EVERYTHING.

>> Stephen: WHAT DOES IT COST.

>> IT DOESN'T COST ANYTHING.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE KAEPING UP THE TRADITION OF FOLK ARTISTS NOT MAKING ANY MONEY,

FOR A NEW GENERATION.

>> THAT'S TRUE IS.

>> Stephen: I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS INFLUENCED A WHOLE GENERATION OF MUSS IGS-- MUSICIANS, THE

RECORDINGS THAT HE MADE.

ELVIS WERE YOU INFLUENCED BY ANYTHING THAT LOMAX RECORDED?

>> WELL, I DIDN'T KNOW THE SONGS DIRECTLY FROM LOMAX.

BECAUSE I GREW UP IN ENGLAND.

AND THAT'S WHERE THOSE OLD DUSTY SONGS CAME FROM AND I ACTUALLY HAD TO HEAR THE WAY

THEY WERE DONE BY AMERICAN ARTISTS BEFORE I GOT INTERESTED IN THEM.

BECAUSE SOME OF THEM WERE JUST, THEY WERE SONGS SUNG BY MEN IN CABLE NIT SWEATERS

ABOUT WHALE FISHING AND THINGS LIKE THAT THAT I COULDN'T RELATE TO.

>> Stephen: YOUNG PEOPLE LOVED WHALING SONGS.

HOW BUT, YOU HAVE RECORD ANY OF THE SONGS THAT LOMAX RECORDED ON HIS REAL TO REAL LIKE THIS.

>> WELL, NOT ON A MACHINE LIKE THAT.

BUT YES, I REALLY LEARNED MUSIC, I LEARNED TO PLAY GUITAR BY LISTENING TO

RECORDINGS THAT WERE BEING PLAYED ON THE RADIO BY A GUY NAMED-- WAMU RADIO.

THAT'S WHERE I FIRST HEARD SOME OF THESE OLD, PEOPLE LIKE GENE RICHIE AND SOME OF

THE OLD FOLK BLUES.

>> Stephen: NOW THERE IS A GEE RICHIE STORY HAVING TO DO WITH DYLAN.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: SHE HAD A SONG CALLED NOTAMAN TOWN.

>> Stephen: CAN WE HEAR THAT.

>> YOU CAN.

THIS IS ALAN'S DECK, HE USED THIS ACTUAL TAPE DECK IN THE CARIBBEAN IN 18962.

AND WHAT WE HAVE IS A SAMPLE OF JEAN RICH-YEAR RECORDING THIS SONG FOR ALAN IN 1949.

AND THIS IS HER VERSION OF NOTTINGHAMTOWN.

♪ IN NOTTINGHAMTOWN ♪ ♪ NOT A SOUL WOULD LOOK UP ♪

♪ NOT A SOUL WOULD LOOK DOWN ♪ ♪ NOT A SOUL WOULD LOOK UP ♪

♪ NOT A SOUL WOULD LIKE DOWN ♪ ♪ PLEASE IS SHOW ME A WAY ♪

♪ TO NOTTINGHAMTOWN.

>> Stephen: AND EVENTUALLY THE BEAT DROPPED, I ASSUME.

>> SO NOW WHAT DID-- NOW DYLAN DID SOMETHING WITH THAT.

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THAT.

>> HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED.

BOB HEARD IT AND SAID WELL THIS IS A CATCHY SONG.

AND IT'S A TRADITIONAL SONG.

I THINK I WILL MAKE A SONG OF IT MYSELF.

>> Stephen: SO WHAT DID HE MAKE.

>> HE MADE THIS TSANG CALLED MASTERS OF WAR.

>> Stephen: LET'S HEAR IT.

>> HE CAME BACK TWO MONTHS LATER AND DID THIS FOR ALAN,

RECORDED IT FOR ALAN ABOUT THREE MONTHS BEFORE HE WENT IN THE STUDIO AND DID IT.

>> MASTERS OF WAR ♪ ♪ IF THEY BUILD A BIG GUN ♪

♪ IF THEY BUILD THE BEST PLANES ♪ ♪ IF YOU BUILD THE BIG BOMB ♪

♪ IT WOULD HIDE BEHIND CALLS ♪ ♪ IT WOULD HIDE BEHIND-- ♪

♪ I JUST WANT TO YOU KNOW I CAN SEE THROUGH YOUR MAN ♪ ♪.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

SO HE IS A THIEF.

>> WELL, NO, IT'S REALLY THE WAY PEOPLE WROTE SONGS FOR HUNDREDS OF AREAS.

WOULD YOU HEAR THE SONG,

THAT APPEALED TO YOU.

WOULD TAKE THE MELODY, MAYBE SOME OF THE WORDS AND ADAPT IT WOULD YOU ADAPT IT INTO YOUR OWN SONG.

>> Stephen: HAVE YOU GUYS EVER DONE IT?

>> ADAPTED A SONG.

>> DO WE HAVE TO ADMIT THIS HERE ON TELEVISION.

>> Stephen: YEAH, YOU DO,

ARE YOU ACTUALLY SWORN IN.

EMMYLOU IN PARTICULAR, THEY DID A SONG FOR O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU.

>> I ACTUALLY THOUGHT THAT T BONE PERSON ET AND GILLIAN HAD WRITTEN THIS SONG AND IT

WASN'T UNTIL WE WERE TALKING ABOUT DOING THE SHOW THAT I FOUND OUT THAT IT WAS

ACTUALLY FROM 19 --.

>> IS A RECORDING ALAN DID THERE 1959 AND MISSISSIPPI,

A WOMAN NAMED SYDNEY CARTER AND ALAN RECORDED HER.

AND T BONE HEARD THE SONG AND --

>> WANT TO HEAR A BIT.

>> Stephen: IS THIS WHAT IT ORIGINALLY WAS LIKE.

>> THE ORIGINAL WAS JUST ONE WOMAN SINGING IT, WHAT THEY DID WAS ADAPT IT THEY WROTE

NEW LYRICS AND THEY ALSO DID IT AS A HAR MACHINE.

>> THREE PART HAR MACHINE.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TRY SOMETHING HERE.

♪ WHAT A SLEEPY LITTLE BABY ♪ ♪ GOING TO SLEEP LITTLE BABY ♪

♪ YOUR MAMMA GONE AWAY ♪ ♪ AND YOUR DADDY GOING TO STAY ♪

♪ LEAVE NOBODY BUT THE BABY ♪ ♪ (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WHEN WE COME BACK WE'RE GOING TO I DO A CLASSIC AMERICAN FOLK SONG WITH EL