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The Beautiful Music All Around UsField Recordings and the American Experience$
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Stephen Wade

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036880

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036880.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

Vera Hall

Vera Hall

The Life That We Live

(p.153) 6 Vera Hall
The Beautiful Music All Around Us

Stephen Wade

University of Illinois Press

This chapter describes the recordings of Vera Hall (1902–1964). On October 31, 1940, at the Livingston, Alabama, home of author, painter, and folksong collector Ruby Pickens Tartt, Vera sang “Another Man Done Gone” twice into Lomax's machine. During the first take, the partially filled recording blank ran out of space, abruptly ending the song. The second time, however, Lomax used a fresh side, allowing Vera to include all her verses. Just as she finished, but before he lifted the cutting arm and turned off the microphone, he remarked, “That's perfect.” Lomax's summation saluted more than an unmarred recording. “Another Man Done Gone” became Vera Hall's most celebrated performance. Carl Sandburg recalled listening to it more than a dozen consecutive times during a January 1944 visit to Lomax's Dallas home, later including it in his second folksong anthology and learning it himself. The poet termed it “one of the strikingly original creations of Negro singing art.”

Keywords:   Vera Hall, housemaids, Library of Congress recordings, Another Man Done Gone, Ruby Pickens Tartt

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