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Georgia Field Hands: “Mary Don’t You Weep”

This spiritual is one of the great clips on YouTube, for my money. Plucking these five Georgia field hands — almost certainly share croppers or tenant farmers — out of obscurity and immortalizing what otherwise would simply have disappeared is a great thing.

Two interesting points, both from the comments. There is a suggestion that the soloist in the foreground is a young Leadbelly. The conclusion is that he probably is not. He has the same diction, which suggests he comes from Alabama. The other point is that this actually is a sophisticated filming. There are two or three close ups, which means that they actually recorded the song at least twice and edited it together.

Editor’s Note: The Daily Music Break is periodically re-posting some of the posts that appealed earlier in the life of the site. This post — with one of the best videos I’ve found — originally was on the site on March 12, 2012. 

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.