Thursday, November 6, 2008

People Take Warning! pt. 2: Man V Nature

The second disc from the labour of love that is the People Take Warning! box set - for the first one, see my post below - is called ´Man V Nature´ and deals with natural disasters. Floods. Fires. Epidemics. Hurricanes and cyclones. Earthquakes. And dude, lets not forget that nasty boll weavil. 

From the foreword by Tom Waits: " These are emotional obits and cautionary tales by brave and sobered survivors. The scratches on the 78´s sound like the ocean in a shell and the songs are riding inside across time..." Here are some highlights. Take warning, people.

"The water´s gonna come and I´ll have no place to stay..." Decades before Led Zep, Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie performed their When The Levee Breaks, a fantastic song about the mighty Mississippi flood of 1927. That great lead guitar is played by Minnie btw, a real blues pioneer. Go gal, go!

"The boll weevil said to the doctor: you can put out your little pills...
But when I get through with the farmer, he can´t pay no doctor bills..."
The boll weevil sure was no joke back in the day. It had migrated into the US from Mexico in the late 19th century and by the 1920s had infested all American cotton-growing areas, devastating the industry. Fiddlin´ John Carson´s song about that ole boll weevil is very funny though. Especially when he replaces the expected rhyme of ´hell´ with ´Griffin, Georgia´ at the end of the song.
"The boll weevil says to the farmer: I certainly wish you well,
the farmer says to the boll weevil: I wish you was in... Griffin, Georgia."

"The wind was like like a demon that tore across the land..." On a ´warm September night´ in 1928, the hurricane San Felipe hit Puerto Rico. Carson Robinson released his song about the disaster - that left more than forty people dead and the whole island in disarray - exactly two weeks after the event. Pretty fast, no? "And we should all remember each one must meet his fate, and get right with our maker before it is too late."

Next up: People Take Warning! pt 3. Murder ballads galore! Watch this space...

Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie - When The Levee Breaks MP3
Fiddlin´ John Carson - Dixie Boll Weevil MP3
Carson Robinson Trio - The Porto Rico Storm MP3

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