Monday, April 09, 2018

What The Internet Does Well - Make Things Available Like Old 78 RPM Recordings - Listen to Josh White, House Of The Rising Sun

From Archive.org
"78 RPMs and Cylinder Recordings
The Great 78 Project! Listen to this collection of 78rpm records and cylinder recordings released in the early 20th century. These recordings were contributed to the Archive by users through the Open Source Audio collection. Also the Internet Archive has digitized many.
Artists available here include Ada Jones, Caruso, Eddie Cantor, Edison Concert Band, Harry MacDonough, Len Spencer, Paul Whiteman, and many others.
Josh White, 1942 recording of House of the Rising Sun.


  1. Your post got me looking into something that's bothered me for decades: why the gender changes in the song's lyrics given a particular artist?

    To me as a gay man of a certain age, knowing this was a song about booze and a place of sex commerce, why would the lyrics be about a 'poor boy' at all, in any version, unless...

    Digging about into musicology and historian research, I find references to what I know it must be, but I'm still left with the trace whisper of something else -- that something being the gender-shifts employed by artists over the years -- and what that may mean to me as a not so not long ago, 'pervert'.

    Steve, this is what it's like to be suggested, but not named, as LGBT growing up as I did in the 50s and 60s in the USA. The American South was ripe with allusion and metaphor when it came to 'matters of the flesh'. So very often, our songs, our words, our very lives were hidden away from an easy read, of any certainty in print.

    We led lives unseen for everyday people and our memories were inhabited upon the fringe. This song became one of these totems, these possible links to dimmed light thrown on a subject that could have, should have, included us.

    But then, maybe not. And that's why we have LGBT history month. Because even when we thought we might have suspected our past, we couldn't know for certain because the links were severed.

    1. I never listened to it that carefully, but I think I assumed the young boy had somehow been ruined by visiting a brothel - money, booze, std's.
      I didn't put the link in the post directly to the Rising Sun because I thought the whole collection was more important. But the Rising Sun page had a (bad) link to a history of the song. I found the right link. It talks a little about what it might mean, and gender, but basically says we probably will never know.
      Your comment offers an interesting insight into your search for . . .what? Role models? Others? Contact? Confirmation? And I can see how this song played a role in that. Thanks. It's an insightful glimpse of what things were like. And probably recognizable to anyone who was different from the norm.
      I found with my parents that getting a whole coherent story of their lives was impossible. But some event or music of smell would spark a memory that told an important story. Then it was my job to store away that story and eventually figure out where it fit with all the other pieces of their lives that were so randomly revealed.


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