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Interview with Vera Hall about playing church and singing

@ University of Mississippi Libraries


As a child Hall and her friends would play at being in church. She explains that it was during this game that she really began singing. This session is comprised of tapes recorded at 15 IPS, probably used as working sequences for a possible LP. Alan Lomax used an Echo box to produce the effect heard on Vera Hall's voice. These recordings have been compiled into an individual session because they were not recorded as candid interviews, but as conscious attempts at professional recording for commercial release. T819.07, 08, and 09 are fragments of Henry Wallace campaign songs sung by Woody Guthrie and an unidentified man, with fiddle and guitar. -- Editor's Note These recordings of oral history, play songs, blues, spirituals, and stories were made in 1948 when Alan Lomax invited Vera Hall to come from her home in Livingston, Alabama, to New York City for a concert. Vera Hall's mother had been a slave, and Vera's date of birth was not recorded. Her artistry and repertoire were brought to John A. Lomax's attention by Ruby Pickens Tartt, a painter and folklorist from Livingston who introduced Vera and her cousin, Dock Reed, to him in 1937. The elder Lomax recorded her again in 1940, describing her as having "the loveliest voice I had ever recorded." Alan Lomax used the oral histories of Vera Hall and Dock Reed as the basis of The Rainbow Sign (New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1959), a study of African-American spirituality. After her death...
09:03 Minutes
Created Date:
23 May 1948
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