Across The Blue Ridge - Episode 6 (Black History Month: African-American Historical Links to Iconic Songs of the American South)

Across The Blue Ridge - Episode 6 (Black History Month: African-American Historical Links to Iconic Songs of the American South)

4:59pm Feb 05, 2016
Tennessee musicians Sparky & Rhonda Rucker’s research uncovers African-American elements in the stories and melodies of many traditional Southern songs. They talk about that and more with host Paul Brown on this week’s Across the Blue Ridge.
Pam Zappardino

Tennessee native Sparky Rucker has traveled a long road as a rock, gospel, and folk musician, protest singer, civil rights advocate, and teacher.  His wife Rhonda blows a soulful harmonica and, like her husband, delves into the history and context of the songs they perform.  As we begin Black History Month, the Ruckers talk with host Paul Brown about some surprising connections between black and white culture in southern mountain traditional songs.  Of course, we hear plenty of music too.  Finally, music historian Hank Sapoznik shares some of the earliest recordings of the old time and bluegrass standard “Reuben,” which the Ruckers say has an interesting connection to African-American life and the history of segregation.

Episode 6 Playlist

1.         On The Move – Jason Carter
            Album – On the Move

2.         Shakin’ Down the Acorns – Red Squirrel Chasers
            Album – Shakin’ Down the Acorns

3.         Lowe Bonnie – Craver, Hicks, Watson & Newberry
            Album – You’ve Been A Friend To Me

4.         Free Wheelin’  -- Appalachian Trail
            Album –  Appalachian Trail

5.         Go On Lovin’  -- Dori Freeman
            Album –  Dori Freeman

6.         Old Jabo – Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee
            Album – Classic Blues from Smithsonian Folkways

BREAK 1

7.         Welcome Table – Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
            Source – Live performance recording

8.         We Shall Not Be Moved – Guy Carawan
            Album – We Shall Overcome: Songs of Freedom Riders & Sit-ins

9.         Camp A Little While in the Wilderness – Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
            Album – The Mountains Above and the Valleys Below

10.       Reuben’s Train – Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
            Album – The Mountains Above and the Valleys Below

BREAK 2

11.       Reuben – Earl Scruggs
           Album – Foggy Mountain Banjo

12.       Train 45 – Grayson & Whitter
            Source:  78 RPM recording

13.       Reuben, Oh Reuben – Emry Arthur
            Source:  78 RPM recording

14.       Riding on that Train 45 – Wade Mainer, Steve Ledford, Zeke Morris
            Source:  78 RPM recording

15.       Reuben – Fred Cockerham
            Album – Clawhammer Banjo Volume 1