“Been Here and Gone”

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“Been Here and Gone,” by Frederic Ramsey (University of Georgia Press, 1960, 177 pages):

This volume documents Frederic Ramsey Jr.’s journeys through the 1950s South, where he traveled in search of what might still remain of an original, authentic African American musical tradition.

In these photographs, songs, interviews, and narratives, Ramsey portrays farmers, railroad workers, housewives, children, church congregations, and country brass bands from Saratoga, Florida, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Ramsey’s images of a past way of life capture the deceptively poor landscapes and lives that gave birth to and sustained some of our warmest and most deeply felt music.

Ramsey: “All along the Mississippi, I bad been hearing about ‘those little old string bands, used to make pretty good music.’

Once, the string bands were quite numerous little, informal organizations, often made up of amateur musicians, who roamed the streets on holidays and at carnival time.  In some districts, they played for private parties, or got together to serenade a friend.”

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One Response to ““Been Here and Gone””

  1. REED MARTIN Says:

    …….and the invention that was supposed to help us all – television –
    seems to be the beginning of the decline of homemade music. Just turn it on and become an observer, instead of a participant.

    When I was growing up in the 1950s, there was rural music In folks homes in southern Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana was a small town. There were old folks sitting on the town square trading pocket knives and pulling out old instruments to thump on. Then the college grew big, and the old folks just retreated back into their own homes, and the social scene for the older locals at the town square disappeared forever.

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