Jazz  Blues
Diverse Playing for the Man at the Door - Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick 1958-1971 (4 CD) SFW40260 3 CD
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Format3 Audio CD
Ordering NumberSFW40260
labelSmithsonian Folkways
Release date04/08/2023

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      Description hide

      In the 1950s and 60s, the blues was the dominant form of Black vernacular music throughout Texas and the surrounding areas. In segregated neighborhoods, community members gathered in saloons, dancehalls, and each other’s homes to hear their neighbors sing their stories of sorrow, heartbreak, jubilation, and triumph. Robert “Mack” McCormick, an academically untrained but fanatical devotee of the blues, stepped into this world and became one of its most devout advocates and documentarians. By photographing Black and Latino Texans and their neighborhoods, as well as recording and interviewing musicians—many of whom never stepped foot into a proper recording studio—McCormick endeared and eventually embedded himself into these communities. By the time he died in 2015, McCormick had amassed a collection of 590 reels of sound recordings and 165 boxes of manuscripts, original interviews and research notes, thousands of photographs and negatives, playbills, and posters. Because McCormick never published or released most of these materials, his collection became a thing of legend and intense speculation among scholars, blues aficionados, and musicians alike.

      Playing for the Man at the Door: Field Recordings from the Collection of Mack McCormick, 1958–1971 is the first compilation of music drawn from this fabled collection, which indelibly documents a pivotal moment in African American history. It features never-before-heard performances not only from musicians who became icons in their own right—including Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb—but also, crucially, performers whose names may be unfamiliar to even the most devoted blues fans and scholars. Newly mastered recordings and accompanying photographs bring to life many of these forgotten figures: offering insight into their lives and illuminating in new, enlightening ways their joys and anguish, deep social connections, distinctive voices, and cultural networks. The collection spans gospels, ragtime, country blues dirges, the unclassifiable music of George “Bongo Joe” Coleman, and more, showing that no community, no matter how tight knit, is monolithic.

      Accompanying the music is a 128-page book, which contains breathtaking photographs by McCormick and his associates, as well as contextual essays by producers Jeff Place and John Troutman on McCormick’s life, and by musicians Mark Puryear and Dom Flemons on some of the marginalized communities throughout “Greater Texas” to which McCormick devoted his life’s work. This release is a partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

      Tracklist hide

      hide CD 1
      • 1.Lightnin' HopkinsMojo Hand04:05
      • 2.Mance LipscombGod Moves on the Water02:36
      • 3.Robert ShawThe Clinton02:21
      • 4.Kid WigginsSugar Blues02:48
      • 5.Dudley Alexander and Washboard BandSt. James Infirmary04:19
      • 6.Cedell DavisDarlin' (You Know I Love You)02:55
      • 7.Dennis GainusYou Gonna Look Like a Monkey01:33
      • 8.Grey GhostOne Room Country Shack03:44
      • 9.Edwin "Buster" PickensGroceries on My Shelf (Piggly Wiggly)04:29
      • 10.Hop Wilson3 O'Clock Blues04:56
      • 11.Jealous James StanchellAnything from a Foot Race to a Resting Place03:12
      • 12.James TisdomSalty Dog Rag03:19
      • 13.Gozy KilpatrickGoin' to the River01:38
      • 14.Joe PattersonQuills01:17
      • 15.Lightnin' HopkinsMa Pa Cut the Cake01:45
      • 16.Otis CookCrazy About Oklahoma03:15
      • 17.Grey GhostLittle Red Rooster03:54
      • 18.The Spiritual Light Gospel GroupMy Work Will Be Done03:01
      • 19.James TisdomSteel Guitar Rag01:43
      • 20.Mance LipscombTall Angel at the Bar03:04
      • 21.George "Bongo Joe" ColemanThis Whole World's in a Sad Condition08:59
      • Total:01:08:53
      more CD 2
      • 1.Lightnin' HopkinsWorld's in a Tangle05:54
      • 2.Robert ShawSomeday Baby05:42
      • 3.CeDell DavisIt's Alright03:38
      • 4.R.C. Forest and Gozy KilpatrickCryin' Won't Make Me Stay01:54
      • 5.Allen VanChina Tea02:33
      • 6.George "Bongo Joe" ColemanPut Your Money Where Your Mouth Is03:26
      • 7.Lightnin' HopkinsTom Moore's Farm04:37
      • 8.Mance LipscombTom Moore's Farm04:59
      • 9.Jealous James StanchellDon't Do Me No Small Favors (Help the Bear)01:37
      • 10.Billy BizorFox Chase02:22
      • 11.R.C. ForestBlack Widow Spider Blues02:06
      • 12.Hardy GrayCome and Go with Me to That Land05:30
      • 13.CeDell DavisRollin' and Tumblin'03:21
      • 14.Leroy "Country" Johnson with Edwin "Buster" PickensTrain Roll Up01:47
      • 15.Edwin "Buster" PickensShorty George04:33
      • 16.Joel HopkinsMatchbox Blues01:51
      • 17.Blues WallaceIt's My Life Baby04:19
      • 18.Andrew EverettHello Central, Gimme 20903:11
      • 19.Jim WilkieBad Lee Brown02:36
      • 20.R.C. Forest and Gozy KilpatrickTin Can Alley Blues02:52
      • 21.Murl "Doc" WebsterMedicine Show Pitch01:53
      • Total:01:10:41
      more CD 3
      • 1.Mance LipscombSo Different Blues02:47
      • 2.James TisdomI Feel So Good02:43
      • 3.Lightnin' HopkinsMr. Charlie04:54
      • 4.Edwin "Buster" PickensThe Ma Grinder02:11
      • 5.Paul ElliottDeep Ellum Blues02:40
      • 6.Andrew EverettK.C. Ain't Nothing but a Rag02:00
      • 7.Kid WigginsLonesome Road02:26
      • 8.Dennis GainusOld Judge Blues03:18
      • 9.Melvin "Jack" Jackson and Lightnin' HopkinsThe Slop02:27
      • 10.Lightnin' HopkinsCorrine, Corrina03:22
      • 11.Jimmy WomackTalking Blues01:38
      • 12.Joel HopkinsGood Times Here, Better Times Down the Road03:07
      • 13.Robert ShawPut Me in the Alley02:29
      • 14.Walter BrittenAuctioneer00:36
      • 15.Hardy GrayRunaway03:29
      • 16.Hop WilsonBroke and Hungry04:17
      • 17.Mager JohnsonBig Road Blues03:49
      • 18.Mance LipscombCasey Jones02:31
      • 19.Jimmy WomackAtomic Energy02:15
      • 20.Long Gone Miles with Lightnin' Hopkins and Love CrazyNatural Born Lover04:27
      • 21.E.B. BusbySwanee River Boogie01:47
      • 22.Long Gone MilesRock Me Baby02:57
      • 23.Lightnin' HopkinsBlues Jumped a Rabbit03:55
      • 24.George "Bongo Joe" ColemanGeorge Coleman for President, Nobody for Vice President03:12
      • Total:01:09:17