The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second demonstration)

Date: May 28, 1993

Source: S1576 , Container 30 , C93-5, C93-6

Type: Sound

Full Recording:

Download: mp3 | ogg

Music Tracks

Description

Two audio cassette recordings. Mealing and Wright recieved NEA National Heritage Fellowships in 1996. The Gandy Dancers (Mealing, Vinson, Jones, Brown, and Wright) sing while demonstrating track lining and spike driving.
On C93-5, Wright introduces the Gandy Dancers and gives some background about his education and railway work. He explains the importance of women in supporting railway workers. He discusses the way workers were phased out by modern machinery and described the labor involved in working on the railroads. He introduces "Good Evening Everybody," on which Mealing sings the lead vocal line. Wright explains the origin of the term "gandy dancer" and the importance of the "caller" in motivating the railway workers to stay coordinated. He describes and explains the tools, experience, and agility necessary to work on the railroads. He discussed the nature of the track-lining songs sung by the "caller," and expressed the difference between singing in "the cut" and singing around women and children. Jones led "When I Go and Come Again." Wright explains the meaning of "Kinking the Track" and how workers would express themselves and their situation through the music. Mealing leads "The Preacher Song" and "I Got a Gal in the White Folks' Yard." The Gandy Dancers demonstrate driving a railroad spike. Wright discusses his role as the "lead spiker" on the railroads.
On C93-6, Wright tells a story about mistaken identity due to a handkerchief, as well as other family stories from his youth. He describes the different sounds that the train whistles would make to indicate their cargo. He explains the use of sexual songs to excite the railway workers to work harder and faster, the importance of understanding mathematics, physics and chemistry in railway work, and the three things that hold a train on the track: the gauge, flange of the wheel, and the gravitational pull. He explains the modern express trains and their power, and laments the lack of American involvement in the creation of the new technology. At 14:40, Wright demonstrates track leveling, and explains the importance of the elevation of the track on the curves. At 17:41, the Gandy Dancers demonstrate tamping ballast under the ties. At 19:50, Wright explains that workers have a feel that machines lack. At 20:40, he tells a story from 1949 about a caller having to calm his railroad gang down with a song in the presence of women and church goers. At 24:00, Mealing details his singing background in church and the importance of a closing song.

1993 Florida Folk Festival Program

View the 1993 Program

C93-2The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (First demonstration)
C93-3"Washboard" Bill Cooke interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-5The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second demonstration)
C93-7The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (First demonstration)
C93-8aGlen Simmons interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-8bCornelius Wright, Jr. & "Washboard" Bill Cooke interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-9aCornelius Wright, Jr. interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-9bAllen Jones interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-9cBilly Howell interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-11The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second demonstration)
C93-12bThe Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (First demonstration)
C93-14The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second demonstration)
C93-17"Washboard" Bill Cooke interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-18Billy Howell interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-19Allen Jones interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-20Elder Brown interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-21Charlie Vinson interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-22John Mealing interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-24"Washboard" Bill Cooke interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second interview)
C93-25The Gandy Dancers demonstration at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area (Second demonstration)
C93-27Cornelius Wright, Jr. interview at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Folklife Area
C93-28aKate Taluga & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
C93-28bAnnette Bruce & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
C93-28cChristie Koontz & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
C93-30aImagine That & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
C93-30bJohn Drury & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
C93-31bLinda Spitzer & story swap at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival Storytelling Stage
D93-1Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-2Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-3Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-4Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-5Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 5)
D93-6Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 6)
D93-6Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-7Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-8Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-9Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-10Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 5)
D93-11Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 6)
D93-12Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 7)
D93-13Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-14Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-15Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-16Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-17Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 5)
D93-18Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Main Stage) (Tape 6)
D93-19Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-20Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-21Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-22Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-23Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-24Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-25Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-26Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-27Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 1)
D93-28Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 2)
D93-29Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 3)
D93-30Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 4)
D93-31Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Old Marble Stage) (Tape 5)
D93-32Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 1)
D93-33Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 2)
D93-34Friday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 3)
D93-35Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 1)
D93-36Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 2)
D93-37Saturday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 3)
D93-38Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 1)
D93-39Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 2)
D93-40Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 3)
D93-41Sunday performances at the 1993 Florida Folk Festival (Stage III) (Tape 4)

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