Eric & Suzy Thompson | Dream Shadows

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Folk: Folk Blues Folk: Appalachian Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Dream Shadows

by Eric & Suzy Thompson

Southern music from the 20s and 30s at the intersection of country blues, old time string band music, and Louisiana Cajun songs
Genre: Folk: Folk Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Little Bitty Mama
3:43 $0.99
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2. Beaver Slide Rag
3:06 $0.99
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3. Midnight/K.C. Railroad Blues
4:48 $0.99
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4. Last Kind Word
3:21 $0.99
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5. Gasport Two-step
2:27 $0.99
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6. Dream Shadows
3:18 $0.99
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7. Lloyd Bateman
5:01 $0.99
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8. Yearlings in the Canebrake/Burt Anderson
2:50 $0.99
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9. Valse de Vieux Temps
2:43 $0.99
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10. Motherless Child
4:00 $0.99
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11. Old Greasy Coat
2:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Eric & Suzy Thompson continue their long-standing love affair with Southern music of the 1920's and 30's, at the intersection of country blues, old-time string band music, and Cajun songs. "Dream Shadows" takes a stripped down approach to production – no big name special guests, no fancy arrangements, just old time music the way Eric & Suzy play and sing it whether at home or on stage, using guitars, fiddle, Cajun accordion, banjo, mandolin, etc. This is roots music from an era when record companies were still willing to record quirky, intensely personal and exotic sounds and had not yet adopted the "one size fits all" philosophy.

"In the hands of these two master musicians, the songs pull us back into the past and, in doing so, bring us right square into the here and now! " Laurie Lewis

"For nearly 35 years Eric and Suzy Thompson have been joyfully mining and authentically sharing precious gems of all America's vernacular music. On Dream Shadows, it is clear that Eric and Suzy are themselves the treasure." Alan Senauke


From the liner notes: Geeshie Wiley sings "What you do to me baby, it never gets outa me", and that's how we feel about the material on "Dream Shadows." There's something about this between-the-wars music from the American South that still feels current to us in the early twenty-first century; perhaps the "roaring 20s" remind us of the 1960s and 70s, and music from the 1930s depression feels all too right for today!

Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley, mystery women of the country blues, are the source for Little Bitty Mama, Motherless Child, and Last Kind Word. They journeyed to Wisconsin (possibly from Mississippi) to record four sides in 1930, returned to do 2 more the following year, and then disappeared, never to be heard from again.

An 1881 newspaper report described "the soul-harrowing music of the string band" in Atlanta's Beaver Slide neighborhood, which was demolished in the 30s in the name of redevelopment. In 1927, Eddie Anthony recorded the Beaver Slide Rag with Peg Leg Howell and His Gang. It seemed natural for Eric to reinvent it as a bluegrass guitar tune, especially since Atlanta was also the place where Bill Monroe put together the original Bluegrass Boys.

Valse de Vieux Temps clearly was already old when the Breaux Brothers recorded it in 1934 and it hasn't gotten any newer since then. Gasport Two-Step is from Anatole Credeur, who recorded four sides in 1929; there is no Gasport in Louisiana, it's probably really supposed to be Gaspard. We sure miss playing with Danny Poullard and dedicate these two Cajun songs to his memory.
Texas seems to be a good place for waltzes. The lovely Dream Shadows is from the East Texas Serenaders, one of our favorite of all the "Golden Age" string bands; many thanks to Dave Murray, Dan Kluger, Dan Warrick and Ben Sigelman for helping us learn this one. One of Benny Thomasson's earliest memories was of his father, Luke, working out Midnight On the Water. K.C. Railroad Blues was recorded in 1927 by Jim and Andrew Baxter, and covered a few years later by the Memphis Jug Band (as the K.C. Moan.)

In 1975, Suzy first heard a British version of Lord Bateman (Child ballad #53) sung by Frankie Armstrong and has ever since been fascinated by the unnamed Turkish Lady (the actual hero of the story) who holds the rich, restless and insincere Lord Bateman to his promise. In our American version, from Mary Sullivan, the Lord has become a Lloyd, and we were delighted to learn that the name of the Turkish Lady is Susan!

In 1925, Civil War veteran Captain Moses J. Bonner ("The Texas Fiddler") recorded Yearlings in the Canebrake. Burt Anderson comes from the great (and still actively playing as of this writing) fiddler Clyde Davenport, born and raised in south-central Kentucky, not far from the Tennessee line.

We end with a live recording of Edn Hammons' Old Greasy Coat, joined by our neighbors Brendan Doyle, Maxine Gerber, and Larry Hanks. We thank them for many happy hours of tunes and companionship!

There's a link to the complete liner notes (with photos and lots more info about the songs) over on the left, in the "Links" section.

About Eric & Suzy:
These virtuoso players of America's traditional music have recorded with the Bluegrass Intentions (traditional bluegrass band with banjo ace Bill Evans), the California Cajun Orchestra (INDIE award winners), the Todalo Shakers (jug band and string band blues), Blue Flame String Band (with Kate Brislin & Alan Senauke) and other roots music aggregations, and have each recorded solo albums. Eric and Suzy have worked as side musicians with Maria Muldaur, Laurie Lewis, Dave Alvin, Beausoleil, David Nelson, Darol Anger, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, Geoff Muldaur, Savoy Doucet Cajun Band, etc. Eric's music roots extend back to the pre-Grateful Dead era when he played in bluegrass bands with Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, David Nelson, etc. Suzy was a founding member of the influential all-woman Any Old Time String Band.

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