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1989 Hackberry Ramblers
Sun Apr 30 1989
45:33 - Audio Cassette Master; WAV and Mp3 on Server and Cloud
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Archive
00:05 Allison Miner introduces Ben Sandmel and the Hackberry Ramblers 01:08 During Interview, going to look at the history of the Hackberry Ramblers and where they fit into Louisiana music scene; typical of Cajun music and the ways they differ through discussion and music samples; informal and open to questions 01:43 A purpose of the Heritage stage is to give people access to the musicians for more information 02:08 Demonstration: “Hackberry Ramblers Theme song”; how they start all of their dances 03:50 That piece is short to get the people to buy their tickets and then we play them a French Waltz 04:20 Demonstration: “French Waltz” 05:29 Demonstration: Two-step version of the “French Waltz” 06:40 The Hackberry Ramblers have been together since 1933 but you’ve been playing before then; How long have you been playing? 06:59 (Luderin) My mother was interested in me playing the fiddle, which she called the violin. The violin is played with notes and fiddle played by ear; she payed $10 for the fiddle and bought a correspondence course; how he learned to tune the fiddle and then shortly after began playing by ear 07:50 He was playing “commercial” salon music, hillbilly music; he was playing foxtrot type of music 08:32 His dad was transferred to Hackberry where they were testing for oil; Edmond lived across the street; came from a family of accordion music 09:14 Cajun music is associated with accordion; brought in around 1880 from German immigrants to Cajun music; after ww1 there was the string music era when the accordion faded away 10:14 (Edwin) I play both guitar and accordion; switched over to the guitar with the decision to become a professional band 10:45 played Cajun Louisiana music as well as western swing numbers outside of texas; 11:00 1 of the first country songs they ever learned; a Bob Wills song “Beaumont Rag” 11:23 Demonstration: “Beaumont Rag” 13:06 Played less traditional types of music as well like polkas; in 1933 they began recording commercially; Johnny Faulk joins interview (upright bass) 13:38 Founding members Ed and Luderin cut around 378 records from the late 20s through the 40s; Ben is the most recent band member 14:12 At the time they were playing music halls didn’t have electricity; Luderin was one of the first band leaders to implement a sound system; bands were named by the leader of the band; he didn’t feel right doing this so he came up with a name to represent the whole band like contemporary orchestras of the era; chose Hackberry Ramblers 15:56 Began broadcasting from Lake Charles that was broadcasting from Beaumont, TX by remote control KFDM 16:23 Ed says they played dance halls every night and there were no lights; plugged the first sound system into the model A Ford outside; it was very difficult at the height of the Depression to make a living as a musician; used thread instead of strings sometimes on their instruments 18:07 At the beginning it was 3 members; at largest there were 8 members: a fiddle, 2 guitars, a bass fiddle; for the records recorded for RCA in the 30’s there were 4 members; fiddle, 2 guitars, a bass and later on added a drum 19:45 In 1945 or 1946 they added a trumpet, a saxophone, and a piano; making a semi-orchestra and a string band 20:10 Within the structure of the music 80% were popular music, other 20% was Cajun and the trumpet and saxophone would play solos that fit in with the melody 22:06 Demonstration: “Pipeline Blues” 26:05 In 1937 Joe Werner sang with the band a song that he learned from a transient man; after they recorded it with the band Joe had it copyrighted in his name it was so popular 27:10 Demonstration: “I’m Wondering” 29:37 Web Pierce rerecorded the song in 1954 30:15 They play some country music along with Cajun music; wide range of repertoire 31:21 “Cajun Hop” it was a hillbilly number and they converted it to a Cajun song; adaptation from separate styles 31:40 Demonstration: “Cajun Hop” 33:40 In the old days people played open strings on the guitar; juice harp; Demonstration 35:25 When they first started they played what people would dance to French Waltz, etc.; recorded their English records under the name Riverside Ramblers and French records under the Hackberry Ramblers 36:26 In the early sixties the band considered retiring but in 1963 Chris Strachwitz (owner of new recording studio in Berkeley, CA) knocked on their door to see if they would record again 40:00 Most of their music can be traced back to Cajun music; not very interested in modern contemporary music 41:15 Demonstration: Original song of D.L. Menard 43:56 Closing remarks: combine western swing, Cajun, string band, and country music; together continuously since 1933 44:20 Demonstration: “Hackberry Ramblers Theme song”
04/30/89 - Hackberry Ramblers with Ben Sandmel.
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