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

Date: May 29, 1993

Source: S1576 , Container 30 , C93-7

Type: Sound

Full Recording:

Download: mp3 | ogg

Music Tracks

Description

One audio cassette. The full recording is a composite of side A and side B. Mealing and Wright recieved NEA National Heritage Fellowships in 1996. The Gandy Dancers (Vinson, Mealing, Jones, Brown, and Wright) sing while demonstrating track lining and spike driving.
On side A, Wright explains the origins of the term "gandy dancer" and the important role of the "caller" as the coordinator of the railway workers. At 3:45, he describes the different tools and skills needed for railway work, including tamping shovels and picks, spike mauls, track jacks, rail and tie tongs, lining bars, track wrenches, claw bars (spike pullers), and level boards. He explains the need for mathematical knowledge, strength and agility in railway work. At 10:30, he discusses his familial background, as well as the role of his mother in inspiring him to work on the railroad and get an education. At 14:20, he introduces the rest of the Gandy Dancers. He describes the morality of railway workers and their bawdiness in "the cut," as well as the role of the "caller" in keeping the men in line when women or children were around. At 17:06, Mealing introduces "Good Morning Everybody." At 21:20, Wright describes the meals that railway workers ate. At 22:20, he explains the different songs railway gangs sang and their importance to railway work. He also describes the role of the "caller" in organizing the labor. At 27:00, Wright introduces Mealing and his calls about preachers. At 28:20, Wright introduces Brown and his call. At 29:40, Wright answers a question about the pitch of the bars and their role in track lining songs.
On side B, Wright describes the role of the "dead-eye" and the necessary knowledge of metals and chemistry. He explains the expansion and contraction of the track and the elevation of curves. At 4:56, the Gandy Dancers demonstrate the use of tamping shovels. At 6:10, he describes the importance of a human feel in tamping the ballast and tells a story about his father remedying a soft spot in the track. At 13:50, the Gandy Dancers demonstrate track lining songs and the types of songs sung in "the cut." At 16:00, he defines the "cut" as places outside of the residential zones where dirtier language can be used. At 18:05, they demonstrate some of the racier songs, which Mealing leads. At 20:10, he tells a story from 1949 about a caller named Russell having to calm his railroad gang down with a song in the presence of a woman. At 23:20, Mealing introduces "We'll Understand It Better By and By." At 25:30, members of the audience approach and ask the Gandy Dancers questions. At 27:00, Wright describes convict labor in the mines and their adjustment to the light after being underground so long. At 28:30, Wright has a discussion with an audience member about steam engines near White Springs and the advent of new train technologies in Europe and Japan.

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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