Coworker in the Kingdom of Culture
This chapter focuses on the song “Rock Island Lime”, which was performed by Robert Kelly Pace, a twenty-one-year-old convict, along with a group of inmates at Cummins Camp One, a unit of the Arkansas penal system. Their performance involved a closely patterned call-and-response, their voices dispersed in three- and sometimes four-part harmony. Between the choruses one of them imitated a train whistle. “Rock Island Line” began its journey in Little Rock, Arkansas, at the repair shops of the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. Based on a traditional form and arising within a commercial setting, the song soon moved beyond this work site making new stops, shifting its contents, and streamlining its load. It migrated from a gospel quartet that the Arkansas prisoners performed to a rhythmic fable that Huddie Ledbetter created as he traveled with John Lomax as chauffeur, auto mechanic, and musical demonstrator. Eventually the song reached an incalculable number of players, singers, and listeners via skiffle, rock and roll, country, pop, and the folksong revival.
Illinois Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.