“Root Hog Or Die,” a 6-LP box-set of 100 songs that I compiled to commemorate Alan Lomax’s centennial year, is now, finally, available through Mississippi Records. The title, I swear, was their idea and not mine, although none other that any of us could devise quite got to the experience of reckoning with the fruits of Lomax’s 7-decade recording career, to say nothing of the tireless persistence of his epic enterprise. That the record pressing plant finally got the job finished in Spring 2016 and not, as planned, in late 2015, is luckily if unintentionally vindicated by the fact that there are actually 101 songs on the set. It’s safe to say too that we could add a new one from Lomax’s collections every year for the next hundred or more and not begin to diminish the quality of the compilation.
I’ll post my introduction to the set here soon, but I’m rushing to use this space first to apologize and make up for an oversight on my part that is very out of character, and over which I’ll admit I’ve lost some sleep. I am a rabid and anxious proofreader, perennially reluctant to let projects out of my hands until I’m reasonably confident they are totally error free, or, rather, that whatever errors I didn’t catch would likely only be catchable by someone similarly obsessive. This time, however, I neglected to note the omission of a detailed track list for the set; one that I had compiled but, after being edited down to only artists and titles for inclusion on the back cover of the box, I completely failed to have reinserted. A recording timeline in the back of the set’s booklet can be used to locate and date all 101 tracks but the personnel information, as well as specific recording dates and sites, are lacking, and I’m abashed. Here’s that list now, with the hopes that a second pressing of the set will include it, and that folks who have noted its absence will find their way to it here. If I could kick you some change to cover your printing and collating of it, I would do. I hope you enjoy Root Hog Or Die.
Lomax, vocal and guitar. 1959.
Williamson, vocal and harmonica; Slim, piano; Broonzy, bass. Decca Studios, New York City. March 2, 1947.
Adams, vocal and banjo. Burton Cove, Sodom Laurel, Madison Co., North Carolina. September 6 or 7, 1982.
Morton, vocal and piano. Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, Washington D.C. May 23, 1938.
Corinth Baptist Church, Fyffe, Alabama. September 12, 1959.
Juhani, vocal and accordion. Calumet, Michigan. September 27, 1938.
Hill, vocal and guitar. Como, Mississippi, September 25, 1959.
Probably London, England. Circa 1951.
Picou, clarinet; Dominguez, guitar. At the home of Alphonse Picou, New Orleans, Louisiana. April 3, 1949.
Morris, vocal and guitar. Timbo, Arkansas. October 6, 1959.
Members unidentified. Valencia City, Spain. August 7, 1952.
Unidentified vocals, guitar, and hand-clapping. Mohead Plantation, Moon Lake, near Lula, Mississippi. July 1941.
McGee, vocal and fiddle. Eunice, Louisiana, August 9, 1983.
Barry, vocal and banjo. At a song swap in Lomax’s flat, Camden Town, London. November 1, 1953.
Dick, lead vocal, with mixed group, vocals and hand-clapping. La Resource, Carriacou, Grenada. August 2, 1962.
Scollo, vocal; Guarrasi, cane flute; unidentified guitar, snare drum, and tamborine. Modica, Sicily. July 12, 1954.
Smith, piano. At the home of Preston Smith, Bluefield, Virginia. August 24, 1959.
Cameron, vocal. Glasgow, Scotland. August 1951.
James, vocal and guitar. Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. July 21-24, 1966.
House, vocal and guitar. Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. July 21-24, 1966.
Unidentified bigaro (conch) and drums. Zaragoza, Aragón, October 13 or 14, 1952.
Steven, lead vocal with Jimmy MacBeath, John Strachan, and others unidentified, vocals. The Commercial Hotel, Turriff, Scotland. July 17, 1951.
Unidentified vaksin-s (single-note trumpet); tchatcha (rattle); graj (scraper); sifle (whistle). Pont Beudet, Haiti. January 1937.
Wade, banjo. Galax, Virginia, August 31, 1959.
Barton, fiddle. Quebec, Vermont. November 1937.
Hemphill, Hemphill, and Rice, vocals. Senatobia, Mississippi. September 26, 1959.
Riddle, vocal. Greers Ferry, Arkansas. October 6 or 7, 1959.
Breen, whistle; Gorman, fiddle. Camden Town, London. 1952.
Peebles, vocal and guitar; Jones, vocal. New York City. November 11, 1961.
Porter, vocal. Salyersville, Kentucky. October 23, 1937.
Fontenot, vocal and fiddle; Freeman Fontenot, accordion; Ardoin, triangle. Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. July 21-24, 1966.
Broonzy, vocal and guitar. Paris, France. March 13, 1952.
MacBeath, vocal. At the Edinburgh People’s Festival Ceilidh, Edinburgh, Scotland. August 30, 1951.
Barnett, vocal and percussion. Weems, Virginia, May 5, 1960.
Marandella, vocal. Positano, Campania, Italy. December 1954.
Davis, lead vocal, with Mable Hillery, Bessie Jones, and Emma Lee Ramsey, vocals. Central Park, New York City. August 1965.
Unidentified, vocal and trumpet. Dragus, Brasov, Southern Transylvania. August 1964.
Women’s League of the South Hill Methodist Church, South Hill Village, Anguilla. July 4, 1962.
Behan, vocal. Possibly at Radio Eireann, Dublin. Circa 1951.
Gerald “Big Chief Jake” Millon, lead vocal, with unidentified Pretty White Eagles, vocals and percussion. Darryl’s (perhaps Darrell’s) Lounge, 7th Ward, New Orleans, Louisiana. May 1982.
7. Emma Hammond: Laura Lee*
Hammond, vocal and banjo. Lexington, Alabama. November 9-11, 1959.
Stamps, lead vocal, with unidentified congregants, vocals. Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Greenville, Mississippi. February 7, 1948.
McDowell, vocal and guitar. Como, Mississippi. September 25, 1959.
Hall, vocal. At Alan Lomax’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York City. May 23, 1948.
Martin, vocal and washboard; Willie Brown, guitar; Leroy Williams, harmonica. At Clack’s store, Lake Cormorant, Mississippi. August 24-31, 1941.
Cox, vocal. At Alan Lomax’s flat, London, December 2, 1953.
Collins, vocal and banjo. Likely at Alan Lomax’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York City. Likely Summer 1959.
Henson, vocal and guitar. Botto on Billy’s Branch, near Manchester, Clay Co., Kentucky. October 11, 1937.
Colaire with Ursula Landa, Ruthrie Phelbert, Bertina Vigilant, and Boniface Vigilant, vocals. La Plaine, Dominica, June 25, 1962.
Unidentified among the following: Jack Mearns, Kathleen Mearns, Pat Cushnie, Jennifer Cushnie, Jim Hunter, Willie Hunter, Norma Watt, Tom Watt, Arthur Ronald, Christopher Ronald, and/or Gwen Ronald, vocals. At the home of John Mearns, 5 Cedar Place, Aberdeen, Scotland. July 15, 1951.
Gibbs, lead vocal and (presumably) guitar, with unidentified chorus vocals. Sint Eustatius. 1967.
Dunford, vocal and fiddle, with Uncle Charlie Higgins, fiddle. At the Seventh Annual Old Fiddler’s Convention, Felts Park, Galax, Virginia. July or August 1941.
Duke of Iron (Cecil Anderson), vocal and cuatro, with Gerald Clark and His Invaders: Clark, leader and guitar; Victor Pacheco, fiddle; Gregory Felix, clarinet; Albert Morris, piano; “Hi” Clark, double bass; Simeon or DeLeon (full names unknown), percussion. “Calypso At Midnight” concert at Town Hall, New York City. December 21, 1946.
Mrs. Peter MacCormick, Archie MacDonald, Fanny MacIsaac, Mrs. A.J. MacLellan, Catriona A. MacMillan, Effie Monk, Penny Morrison, and Kate Nicholson, vocals. At the Benbecula airport, Balivanich, Benbecula, Scotland. June 24, 1951.
Frazier, vocal and guitar; Pittman, guitar. Detroit, Michigan. October 15, 1938.
Unidentified vocal, snare drum, side drum, percussion, and jews harp. On the beach at Positano, Campania, Italy. December 1954.
Robertson, vocal. At a song swap in Lomax’s flat, Camden Town, London. November 1, 1953.
Jones, vocal. At Lomax’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York City. October 6, 1961.
Hemphill, vocal and fiddle; Lucius Smith, banjo; Alec Askew, guitar; Will Head, bass drum. At a picnic at the Funky Fives (a.k.a. Po’ Whore’s Kingdom), near Sledge, Mississippi. August 15, 1942.
Gladden, vocal. At the home of Preston Smith, Bluefield, Virginia. August 25, 1959.
Dylan, vocal and guitar. At Lomax’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York City. January 1963.
Hicks, vocal and harmonica. Banner Elk, Beech Mountain, North Carolina. September 8 or 9, 1982.
Stewart, vocal and accordion. At Lomax’s flat, Camden Town, London. December 1957.
White, vocal and guitar; Howlin’ Wolf, vocal asides. Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island. July 21-24, 1966.
Mackenze, vocal. Long Cay, South Andros Island, Bahamas. October 30, 1979.
Unidentified man, vocal. At the San Agustín market, Grenada, Andalucía, Spain. September 8, 1952.
McQueen, lead vocal, with mixed group, vocals. La Fortune, Grenada. August 5, 1962.
Jack Brown, lead vocal, with unidentified congregants, vocals. At Mount Olivet Old Regular Baptist Church, Blackey, Kentucky. September 5, 1959.
Edwards, lead vocal, with David John Goodridge, David Harris Jones, Harry Price, Thomas John Price, and William Thomas, vocals. Treorchy, Wales. December 8, 1953.
Augusta, vocal and guitar. Memphis, Tennessee. September 30, 1959.
Tahar ben Larbi, lead vocal, with Abdelkader ben Abderrahmane, Mohamed ben Abderrahmane, Mohamed ben Lakhalifa, and Ahmed Benjilali, bendir, darbaka, nay, and hand-clapping (precise roles unspecified). At a wedding in Erfoud, Errachidia, Meknès-Tafilalet, Morocco. September 17, 1967.
Dominican Republic. 1967.
Hurtault, lead vocal, with unidentified men, vocals. La Plaine, Dominica. June 25, 1962.
Camp B, Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary), Mississippi. November or December 1947.
Cowan with John D. Smith (Priest), Medford Joshua (Priest), Bennette Baptist (Sexton), Percival Joshua (Treasurer), Florence Cowan (Mother Superior), Mary McSween (Mother Healer), Adris Matisse (Mother Assistant), Emelda Smith (Mother Assistant), Elena Paul (Nurse), and Sister Jacob (Nurse), vocals and hand-clapping. At the home of Louise St. Hill, Syne Village, Trinidad. May 1, 1962.
Ritchie, vocal. At Alan Lomax’s apartment, Greenwich Village, New York City. May 5, 1949.
Palma Folk Festival, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. June 23, 1952.
McGee, fiddle. Eunice, Louisiana. August 9, 1983.
Sutherland, vocal and guitar. At the home of Clyde Maxwell, near Canton, Madison Co., Mississippi. September 3, 1978.
Middleton-In-Teesdale, Durham, England. April 20, 1951.
Unidentified, vocal. Aguelmouss, Ouarzazate, Souss-Massa-Drâa, Morocco. September 1967.
Ed Young, vocal and fife; Lonnie Young, Sr., snare drum; G.D. Young or Lonnie Young, Jr., bass drum. Central Park, New York City. August 1965.
Francilia (surname unknown), vocal. At the Möses compound, Carrefour Dufort, Haiti. April 7-12, 1937.
Gallagher, vocal. Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland. February 5, 1951.
Fred, vocal and guitar; Annie Mae, vocal. Como, Mississippi. September 25, 1959.
Aggie Whyte, fiddle; Bridie Whyte, fiddle; John Dervan, fiddle; Thomas Rourke, accordion; Martin Grace, accordion; Eddie Moloney, flute; Jack Coughlan, flute. At the railroad hotel, Galway City, Co. Galway, Ireland. February 1, 1951.
Lunsford, vocal and banjo. At the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Asheville, North Carolina. July or August 1941.
Strachan, vocal. At the Edinburgh People’s Festival Ceilidh, Edinburgh, Scotland. August 30, 1951.
Shedrick Cain, James Campbell, Arnold Fisher, and Lawrence Hodge, vocals; Robert Beane, guitar. Weems or White Stone, Virginia. April 6, 1960.
Geijo, vocal. Val de San Lorenzo, León, Spain. November 3, 1952.
Unidentified, vocal. Andros Island, Bahamas. August 1935.