More 'Arkansas Folksongs' 

click to enlarge ARCHIVIST: Mary Parker.
  • ARCHIVIST: Mary Parker.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second part of a column on the “Anthology of Arkansas Folksongs” and discusses the second of the two-disc set. The set is $25 and may be ordered from the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies. Call 479-575-7708 for information. The “Anthology of Arkansas Folksongs” is an annotated two-CD set packed with dozens of artists and songs — but it still represents less than 1.5 percent of the collection from which it’s drawn. The anthology, released by the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies, features part of the approximately 4,000 performances found in the Mary C. Parler Archive of Arkansas Folk Music, which is housed in the Special Collections Division of the University of Arkansas Library in Fayetteville. The box set was edited by Alan Spurgeon, Rachel Reynolds and Bob Cochran. From 1949 through 1965, Professor Mary Celestia Parler and her assistants recorded hundreds of Arkansas instrumentalists and singers. Cochran admits the focus on the Ozark recordings from the Parler Archive for the box set “may exceed that of the whole archive.” In fact, two songs from rural Missouri even show on disc two. But, Cochran said, “it is an enormous collection, still underutilized.” “My Home in Arkansas,” also known as “My Happy Little Home in Arkansas,” was recorded 1950 in Farmington (Washington County) with performer Doney Hammontree: “Come and see me neighbor, come along/I’ll be there to greet you one and all/ ’Tis the finest country found/And I’ll show you all around/At my happy little home in Arkansas; “We’ll go out on the mountain and we’ll see the mineral springs/Go and see the big plantation down below/Show you cotton, show you cane, show you every kind of grain/At my happy little home in Arkansas.” Hammontree, born in 1876, contributed an impressive 73 songs to the Parler Archive. There are moments from other parts of the state as well. Disc two of the set opens with “The Brinkley Storm,” by Zula Crymes of DeValls Bluff, identified as “Mrs. Jim Crymes.” The song recounts an actual East Arkansas cyclone of March 8, 1909, that killed 35 people in Brinkley alone. Crymes sang the song from a ballad book that belonged to her uncle, Dalton Williams of Des Arc. Reportedly, Parler would turn off her tape recorder when performers would attempt to play what she termed “hillbilly junk.” But the Parler Archive of Arkansas Folk Music itself is still fairly inclusive. There are Baptist hymns sung in Cherokee as well as songs that had been commercial hits, including by such well-known “hillbillies” as the Carter Family. “Steamboat Bill,” performed by a student in Mary Parler’s class, was a hit in 1910, although student Warren Walker’s performance of “Steamboat Bill” came from 1960 in Fayetteville. In another recording, a student of Parler’s was on the other side of the microphone. John Logan of Burdette in Mississippi County recorded A.D. Robinson in Burdette performing “Cotton Picking Blues.” Further displaying the Parler Archive’s eclecticism, the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies also has released a gospel-themed album from the archive, titled “While I Run This Race.” But even with the gospel disc and the “Anthology of Arkansas Folksongs” set, there is still much from the Parler Archive the public has yet to hear. listening • “Steamboat Bill,” Warren Walker • “Cotton Picking Blues,” A.D. Robinson • “The Brinkley Storm,” Zula Crymes • “My Home in Arkansas,” Doney Hammontree



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Entergy explodes the old Lynch plant

    Entergy Arkansas demolished by explosion a portion of the defunct Lynch Plant generating station in North Little Rock this afternoon. The remaining units will come down mechanically.
    • Oct 28, 2016
  • Supreme Court to take up Virginia bathroom case

    The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up a Virginia case in which a school district wants to prevent a transgender student from using a boys restroom
    • Oct 28, 2016
  • The marijuana feud: the Bencas explain their challenge of Issue 7

    Patrick and Karen Benca have been the target of harsh criticism for their lawsuit that got the marijuana initiated act. Mara Leveritt posts an explanation and defense from Patrick Benca, who favors full legalization.
    • Oct 28, 2016
  • More »

More by Stephen Koch

  • A new era for Riverfest

    In its 38th year, Little Rock's annual summer music festival reinvents itself.
    • Jun 2, 2016
  • Live Review: Shuggie Otis at Stickyz

    Shuggie Otis and his three-piece band drew a near-full house at Stickyz Wednesday night — a mixed crowd of those who could recall when Otis was being heralded as America’s next top guitarist and those who likely heard him first through his being sampled by the likes of Beyonce and J Dilla.
    • Jul 16, 2015
  • Big Ideas for Arkansas 2014

    Readers and experts suggest ways to change Arkansas for the better.
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Hutchinson administration resists accountability in child rape case

    After a nightmarish revelation about serial rapes by a state-approved foster parent, the Hutchinson administration, from the governor on down, resist talking about how it happened.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Latest in Arkansongs

  • Floyd Cramer's country keys

    Floyd Cramer, who grew up in Huttig, became one of the most important piano players in the development of country music.
    • May 3, 2007
  • Dorough finds his voice

    From his beginnings in Cherry Hill, Bob Dorough knew music was his thing.
    • Mar 15, 2007
  • ‘Sunday Afternoon’

    Soundtrack album forges on without film.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

Jodi Morris's lifelong ties to the National Park Service

"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Witchhunt

    The Rep turns up the heat with Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible.'
  • George Takei to UCA

    Also, 'The Halloween Tree' at Ron Robinson, Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, Fourche Creek Discovery Day, Halloween on the River, Chanticleer at Christ Episcopal Church and Andrew W.K. at Revolution.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Good Weather

    • Congratulations Tara, beautifully written!

    • on October 27, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation