We weren't able to tape all the great events of our lives, but we did manage to catch a few of them, presented here as mp3 files.
SALTY DOG (3:01). Mississippi John Hurt and Mabel Hillery, with hand-clapping by Bessie Jones & Georgia Sea Island Singers. Guthrie Theater Folk Music in America concert, Feb. 8, 1964. Mabel Hillery was with the Sea Island Singers, but obviously had a separate repertoire from them. John and Mabel had not performed together before, but Jon Pankake, who MCd the show, heard them doing this song backstage. He convinced them to come out and perform it as a closing number. Some contemporary observers missed the fact that Mississipi John, for all his quietness, was a master at working an audience. The white northerners in the audience knew almost nothing about the blues; they were there mainly because the Guthrie Theater was a new building, and they were curious as to what sorts of programs would be presented. I left all the applause in so you can hear how adept the two of them were at bringing down the house.
ST. LOUIS BLUES (1:29). Rev. Gary Davis, with Elizabeth Cotten humming along.
GREAT BLESSING (5:51). Rev. Davis proposes to give Mrs. Cotten some guitar lessons.
DAVE VAN RONK DISCUSSION (3:23). Willard Johnson and Jon Pankake ask Rev. Davis's opinion of Dave Van Ronk. Meanwhile, there's a chile throwin' a ball around.
MISS LIZZIE (:57). Rev. Davis is getting hungry. Liz is trying to prepare spaghetti in the kitchen, but things are going slowly, what with the crowd underfoot and no significant help.
TUNING UP (2:12). Rev. Davis brings Mrs. Cotten's guitar up to concert pitch and plays a piece on it.
LIBBA'S BLUES (3:51). A newly-composed piece by Mrs. Cotten, but Rev. Davis joins in, anyway.
INSTRUMENTAL (1:54). Mrs. Cotten
convinces Rev. Davis to quiet down so
she can play another of her recent compositions.