Interview with Vera Hall about the songs she sings when alone
@ University of Mississippi Libraries
DescriptionAlan Lomax asks Vera Hall what she sings and moans when she is alone. In these interviews and songs, recorded by Alan Lomax at his home in New York City, Vera Hall talks about her life and sings samples of songs. Lomax is joined by his wife Elizabeth, their daughter, and an unidentified couple, who can be heard throughout the session. -- 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 in 1964, Alan Lomax said:"It is from singers like Vera Hall that all of us who love folk music in America have everything to learn. Her performances were all graced with dignity and with love. Her sense of timing and beat were perfection itself." But all this is analysis....
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