If You Ain't Got the Do-Re-Mi

If You Ain't Got the Do-Re-Mi


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Released by Smithsonian Folkways in collaboration with the Museum of American Finance in New York, If You Ain't Got the Do-Re-Mi is a fascinating collection of folk and blues songs about money and its powerful, dangerous allure drawn from the vast Smithsonian Folkways catalog. Full of vernacular tunes chronicling fortunes made, lost or not sought at all, these selections, although many of them date from the Great Depression, have a timeless applicability given that cries of hope and frustration and grand wishes for financial solvency will undoubtedly never cease to be contemporary concerns. Among the gems here are a pair of Woody Guthrie songs, "Do-Re-Mi" from his Dust Bowl cycle, and his classic Oklahoma-outlaw-turned-Robin Hood ballad "Pretty Boy Floyd," Josh White's haunting "One Meat Ball" from 1944, Pete Seeger's stark, banjo-led lesson in international economics titled "Business," and Derek Lamb's 1962 version of "The Money Rolls In," an ode to counterfeiting set to the melody of the old British music hall standard "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." Autoharpist Kilby Snow's sparkling instrumental take on "Greenback Dollar," which is structurally based on "East Virginia Blues" and not on the Hoyt Axton song called "Greenback Dollar" from the '60s folk revival, is a sonic delight. Then there's "Ida Mae," done here in a version by Joe Glazer. Ida Mae was Ida Mae Fuller of Vermont, who in 1940 was the first person to ever receive a Social Security check (the Social Security Act had been passed in 1935 -- her first check totalled $22.54). Born in 1874, Ida Mae was over a hundred years old when she died in 1975, having drawn checks from the government for some 35 years amounting to some $20,000 in benefits (not a bad return, since she had only paid in $24.75 before she retired in 1939), making her a folk hero of sorts. Glazer also performs a rendition here of what is perhaps the most famous song to come out of the Great Depression, Jay Gorney and Yip Harburg's "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," which was written in 1932. That Harburg also had a hand in writing "Over the Rainbow" shows how much hope and yearning are actually at the heart of most of these old songs, which tend to harbor wishes and dreams more than they do declarations of solvency. Money may not actually make the world go 'round (gravity and physics have a much bigger hand in that), but the lack of money sure makes the world a tough place to hang around in, as these apt and durable old songs clearly show while demonstrating an uncommon grace, sense of humor and dogged determination.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/13/2007
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074019528
catalogNumber: 40195
Rank: 203917

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lead Belly   Guitar,Vocals
Woody Guthrie   Guitar,Vocals
Mike Seeger   Fiddle
Pete Seeger   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
Kilby Snow   Autoharp
Josh White   Guitar,Vocals
Speckled Red   Piano,Vocals
Ann Charters   Piano
Tom Paley   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
Rolf Cahn   Guitar,Vocals
Eric Von Schmidt   Guitar
Ernest V. Stoneman   Guitar,Vocals
E.G. Huntington   Guitar,Vocals
June Lazare   Guitar,Vocals
Derek Lamb   Guitar,Vocals
Joe Glazer   Guitar,Vocals
Brownie McGhee   Guitar,Vocals
John Cohen   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
Sonny Terry   Harmonica,Vocals
Bascom Lamar Lunsford   Banjo,Vocals
Hattie Stoneman   Fiddle
Gregory Felix   Clarinet
Felix & His Internationals   Accompaniment
Horton Barker   Vocals
Mike Hudek   Autoharp
Patrick McDonald Macbeth   cuatro

Technical Credits

Woody Guthrie   Composer
Pete Seeger   Composer
Scott Joplin   Composer
Alan Lomax   Arranger,Adaptation
Joe Glazer   Composer
James Cox   Composer
Jim Garland   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Lee Hays   Composer
Huddie Ledbetter   Arranger,Adaptation
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Jeff Place   Annotation
John Read   Composer
Sonny Terry   Composer
Hy Zaret   Composer
Walter Brown McGhee   Composer
Jay Gorney   Composer
Will Mahoney   Composer
Rice   Composer
Louis Singer   Composer
Rupert Grant   Composer
John E. Herzog   Liner Notes

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