Podcasts


13. Doc Watson & Jack Lawrence

Doc Watson & Jack Lawrence

Download: MP3

Recorded on May 25, 1996 by the Florida Folklife Program at the 1996 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida.

(1:12:54; 68MB; D96-33)


Transcript of the introduction

Since the early 1960s Arthel “Doc” Watson of Deep Gap, North Carolina has been a staple at Folk Festivals where his articulate guitar picking, rich baritone voice, craft at storytelling, country humor and humble demeanor has made him a favorite with music audiences from around the world including those of the Florida Folk Festival.

Doc began playing music on a homemade banjo before taking up the guitar in his teens, demonstrating a natural talent for both instruments. In 1960 he was discovered by musicologist Ralph Rinzler during a Folkways recording session for the album Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s. An invitation to play The Newport Folk Festival quickly followed, shortly thereafter he became a regular performer at coffee houses, clubs and college campuses where he was well known by folk music fans.

Never one to limit himself to a single genre, Doc Watson has played folk, country, old time, bluegrass, blues, gospel, rockabilly, hillbilly jazz and swing over nearly seven decades. He has released nearly a hundred albums under his own name and made guest appearances on as many others including the 1972 triple album Will the Circle be Unbroken by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band where he appeared with country legends Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis and Florida’s own Vassar Clements. His musical talent has earned him six Grammy Awards, induction to The Bluegrass Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, and the National Medal of the Arts presented by President Bill Clinton.

This May 25th, 1996 Florida Folk Festival recording features Doc with his long time playing partner Jack Lawrence before an enthusiastic White Springs crowd. Doc & Jack also appear on our fourth Florida Folklife Music collection cd titled “Look A-Yonder Comin.” You can find additional information on this disc and request your own complimentary copy on the audio page featuring this podcast.

Well there’s nothing left to say that the music can’t say better. Prepare yourself for some quality flat picking courtesy of an American treasure, Doc Watson.


12. Interview with Seminole alligator wrestler, Richard Bowers

Interview with Seminole alligator wrestler, Richard Bowers

Download: MP3

Recorded on May 4, 1983 by folklorist Doris Dyen in Hollywood, Florida

(0:56:15; 42MB; C83-109 and C83-110)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida. As summer fast approaches, and many families prepare to make their way South to vacation in Florida, chances are good that many vacationers hope to see a real live Florida alligator, either in the wild or – more likely -- at one the numerous roadside attractions found throughout the state. Therefore for this installment of the podcast series, we decided to feature this interview with Seminole alligator wrestler Richard Bowers, one among the thousands of oral histories found within the vast Florida Folklife Collection.

Recorded onto audio cassette on May 4, 1983, we hear folklorist Doris Dyen speaking to the twenty-eight year old Bowers at the Native Village, located in the Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation in Broward County. In the interview, Bowers discusses the craft of alligator wrestling, its 20th Century origins, and the historic relationship between the Seminole peoples and the infamous Florida alligator. For more information on Bowers, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and the Florida alligator, please visit the Florida Memory web page.

But for now, let’s gas up the family station wagon, load up the kids, and let’s take an audio vacation to sunny Florida, the land of 'gators and the Seminoles…


11. Frank and Ann Thomas and Don Grooms

Frank and Ann Thomas and Don Grooms

Download: MP3

Recorded on May 28, 1995 by the Florida Folklife Program at the 1995 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida

(1:34:24; 88MB; D95-36)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Over the years several Florida artists have enjoyed a sort of de facto master of ceremonies status on the Florida Folk Festival stage. Any of the following names would be quite familiar to any regular attendee of the festival, Cousin Thelma Boltin, Will McLean, Gamble Rogers, Don Grooms, and Dale Crider to mention but a few. Those names and many others resonate throughout the Florida Folklife Collection to such a degree that the songs and stories they have shared nearly comprise an unofficial biography of the performers and the festival itself. Many visitors to White Springs have enthusiastically enjoyed their role in the festivities as well.

In working to digitize and preserve the folk festival recordings I have often been impressed with the easy and comfortable rapport these artists have with their White Springs audience. It is little wonder then that so many of those audience members contact the State Archives for copies of folk festival performances. In some cases these patron requests contribute to the discovery of great moments from the festival stage. Such is the case with our newest podcast featuring Frank and Ann Thomas and a rollicking set from Don Grooms and friends recorded in 1995. Requesting CDs of folklife materials is very easy and we encourage you to contact us for more information or you may utilize the folklife database link on the left side of this screen to search for folk festival reels and access mp3 files that are available for all festival performances up to the 1980 Folk Festival. Additional mp3s will be added as digitization continues. But that’s enough talk for now, we have good music on the way from the Thomas’ and Don Grooms and thanks very much for listening.


10. Florida Mexican American Music Survey Sampler

Florida Mexican American Music Survey Sampler

Download: MP3

The Mexican American Music Survey was undertaken by the Florida Folklife Program to document the musical traditions of Florida’s various Mexican-American communities: Apopka, South Dade County, Immokalee, the St. Johns River Basin, and Central Florida. Funded by a grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Community Folklife Program, the survey was conducted between 1994 and 1996 by folklorist Robert Stone. Among the musical traditions were serenatas, conjunto, Quinceañara ritual music, ranchera, Michoacana, mariachi, norteno, Tejano, and pop music. At the end of the project, a sampler music tape was created by the Florida Folklife Program for distribution to various libraries.

(60:00:15; 68.9 MB; S 2029)


Transcript of the introduction

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, this installment features the recorded product of the Florida Mexican American Music Survey, a field recording project conducted by the Florida Division of Historical Resources from 1994 to 1996. The project sought to illustrate how music provides Florida’s Mexican population with a living bridge to their cultural history and identity.

The resulting sampler tape, featured in this podcast, offered a wide variety of traditional and popular Mexican music all recorded in Florida. It balanced older and contemporary styles with venerable and unusual traditions such as Mother’s Day Serenatas, regional music, and then contemporary Banda & La Macarena style. It also included recordings of community ritual celebrations such as the Quinceañera, from the Apopka and Homestead area. These field recordings provide the unfamiliar listener with a unique opportunity to appreciate some of the ways which Mexicans Americans entwine their musical traditions with their celebrations and daily life here in Florida thus enriching and expanding the musical environment of our state.


9. Bluegrass Duo Jim and Jesse with the Virginia Boys

Bluegrass Duo Jim and Jesse with the Virginia Boys

Download: MP3

In this month’s podcast we feature a live performance by bluegrass pioneers with their own Florida connection. Recorded on May 23, 1998 by the Florida Folklife Program at the 1998 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida

(0:44:54; 31MB; S 1576; tapes C98-107 - C98-108)


Transcript of the introduction

When people think of bluegrass, they may picture the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains or perhaps Virginia, Kentucky or The Carolinas. Few realize that the Sunshine state played a role in the development of bluegrass as well. From Chubby Wise to Vassar Clements to the Orange Blossom Special, Florida has enjoyed top billing in bluegrass music. In this month’s podcast we feature a live performance by bluegrass pioneers with their own Florida connection.

When Jim and Jesse McReynolds played the 1998 Florida Folk Festival, it was something of a homecoming. Jim and Jesse were brothers from Virginia who began performing in 1945 with their band, the Virginia Boys, which included for a while Florida’s famed fiddler Vassar Clements. In the late 1950s, the popular duo starred on the Suwannee River Jamboree, a weekly country music program broadcast from Live Oak on WNER. They left the Jamboree to join the ranks of the Grand Ole Opry where they entertained audiences for three decades.

This podcast features a cassette recording of the duo playing the Florida Folk Festival’s Old Marble Stage on May 28, 1998. By this time, Jim and Jesse had been playing music for over fifty years, but as this intimate recording makes clear, they retained every bit of their energy and enthusiasm.

So kick back and enjoy a Florida bluegrass homecoming with Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys.


8. Recordings of the Stephen Foster Memorial Center Fourth of July Celebration

Recordings of the Stephen Foster Memorial Center Fourth of July Celebration

Download: MP3

For several decades the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs offered an Independence Day Festival that featured live music, dances, games, and food. The festivities took on added significance for the memorial as it was also the birthday of songwriter Stephen Foster, the author Florida’s state song, "Old Folks at Home." Recorded on July 4, 1964 by Foster Barnes at the Stephen Foster Center in White Springs, Florida.

(1:17:31; 70MB; S. 2043)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

For several decades the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs offered an Independence Day Festival that featured live music, dances, games, and food. The festivities took on added significance for the memorial as it was also the birthday of songwriter Stephen Foster, the author Florida’s state song, "Old Folks at Home."

While few recordings of these early celebrations survive, the State Archives of Florida is thrilled to present for your enjoyment the following 4th of July program from 1964. Running a little over an hour, it was captured on reel to reel tape by memorial curator Foster Barnes.

The program offers listeners unique insight into the nature of patriotism in mid-20th century America as well as providing some good, old-fashioned singing and storytelling, free watermelon, home-style fixins and a mess of wholesome fun. Draw yourself a cold glass of sweet tea, and celebrate an old-time Independence Day with Cousin Thelma Boltin and friends way down in White Springs.


7. Recordings of the 1954 Florida Folk Festival

Recordings of the 1954 Florida Folk Festival

Download: MP3

Today we feature the very first recording of the long-running Florida Folk Festival. Recorded on May 6, 1954 by Foster Barnes at the Stephen Foster Center in White Springes, Florida.

(1:05:56; 60MB; S 1576; reel T76-1)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Today we feature the very first recording of the long-running Florida Folk Festival. Recorded on reel to reel tape on Thursday, May 6, 1954, it contains performances by local school children, representatives of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, folk singers, and opening remarks by festival director and renowned folk culture magnate, Sarah Gertrude Knott.

The Florida Folk Festival, which was first presented in 1953 as a four-day concert located at the Stephen Foster Memorial in White Springs, has since grown into one of the nation's oldest annual folk festivals, now covering several stages and featuring hundreds of performers and artists.

This earliest recording captures the simple origins of the folk festival and reveals the festival organizers 1950s viewpoint of folklife and what was then considered important for preservation for future generations.

Fortunately, these performances were preserved, thanks in large part to one man, memorial curator Foster Barnes. After the success of the first festival, Barnes decided to record the event. Each year he became a regular sight at the Festival, as he sat stage side with his recorder, smoking his pipe and taking notes. Following his retirement in 1965, other memorial staff maintained the practice. In 1979, when the Florida Folklife Program assumed control of the festival, they too recorded the performances, followed in 2003 by the Florida Park Service

Today, nearly 3500 of these festival recordings reside at the State Archives of Florida as part of the Florida Folklife Collection where they can still be heard and enjoyed.

Now let's go way down upon the S'wannee River and enjoy the sounds of 1954...


6. James Kelly, Irish Fiddler

James Kelly, Irish Fiddler

Download: MP3

In this podcast we feature Irish fiddler James Kelly originally of Dublin, Ireland, and widely recognized as one of Ireland’s leading traditional fiddle players. Recorded May 22, 1992 by the Florida Folklife Program at the 1992 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs, Florida.

(0:31:48; 20MB; S 1576; reel T92-66 & T92-67)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

Since the early days of European settlement in America, Irish ballads and rhythms have influenced and informed American song.

In this podcast we feature Irish fiddler James Kelly originally of Dublin, Ireland, and widely recognized as one of Ireland's leading traditional fiddle players. He is a recipient of the "Florida Folk Heritage Award" as well as the "Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Folk Arts Award." In addition, James Kelly has shared his remarkable talent with Floridians while serving as a master artist in the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program. This performance was taken from the Old Marble Stage of the 1992 Florida Folk Festival. He is accompanied by George Phillips on guitar.

Please visit us again soon for more music from the Florida Folklife Collection. And now James Kelly and George Phillips. Enjoy.


5. Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Sacred Harp Singers

Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Sacred Harp Singers

Part 1 / 2 Download: MP3

Part 2 / 2 Download: MP3

This segment features the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Sacred Harp Singers of Old Chicora Florida recorded by folklorist Dwight DeVane in 1980.

(S1576; Reels T83-75 and T83-76)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome back to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

In this podcast, we present the second installment in our two-part series dedicated to sacred harp singing.

This segment features the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Sacred Harp Singers of Old Chicora Florida recorded by folklorist Dwight DeVane in 1980. Please return next month for more music from the Folklife collection.


4. Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven Shape-Note Singing Convention

Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven Shape-Note Singing Convention

Part 1 / 2 Download: MP3

Part 2 / 2 Download: MP3

This a capella singing tradition takes its name from the 1844 hymn book, The Sacred Harp and represents the largest surviving branch of traditional American Shape Note Singing.

(S 1576 tapes T81-21, T81-22, T83-82, T83-83, T83-84, T83-85)


Transcript of the introduction

Welcome to the Florida Folklife Collection podcast series from the State Library and Archives of Florida.

America's sacred music has long provided a richly diverse field of study for folklorists. From rustic church hymns, or impassioned gospel to popular songs of faith and praise, sacred music has provided an immense body of song. In this podcast, we present the first of a two-part series on one of those sacred traditions: sacred harp singing.

This a capella singing tradition takes its name from the 1844 hymn book, The Sacred Harp and represents the largest surviving branch of traditional American Shape Note Singing. This style of church music utilized four syllables (fa-sol-la-mi) which were represented by four shapes in later hymnals; the triangle, circle, square and diamond. These shaped notes allowed untrained or illiterate church members to participate in the worship service. Frequently the assembled singers would sing the notes first and then follow with the words as you will hear them do in this podcast. In Sacred Harp singing members sit facing inward in a hollow square. The leader will select the tune and beat time with their hand while standing in the center of the square. Any participant is welcome to lead if they so chose. The tradition proved popular with both Anglo and African American churches, especially in rural areas where it is still practiced.

This month, we feature the Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven Shape-Note Singing Convention held in Crestview, Florida and recorded by folklorists Dwight DeVane and Doris Dyen in 1980. Please return next month as we present more sacred harp music.