Het verhaal van de State song van de Amerikaanse staat Virginia – dat begon in het vorige deel van deze serie – was nog niet afgelopen. Bill’s verhaal gaat gewoon verder in dit deel. Ik had nog niet eerder van de Hawking Brothers gehoord, maar ‘k ben er vrij zeker van dat de afbeelding van de LP-hoes overeenkomt met de LP uit Bill’s verhaal. Veel plezier met ’t lezen en luisteren…

‘Longing for Old Virginia’, Part two


So, there’s still no state song. But I have still have hopes for it. I have heard all the songs now. Some disc jockey in Northern Virginia called me up and wanted to do an interview on ‘Longing for Old Virginia’. Why I thought it would be a good state song, and this kind of thing. Which I did with him and he sent me the copy of his radio program where he played all the other seven entries.

Oh, I thought all 348… No, just the seven others that were finalists. And then what each of the writers had to say about their song. So I have that at home and I already listened to it once. But it was very interesting to hear how the songwriters approached it and how Jimmy, Jimmy wrote it with his wife actually (she was part of the song writing team). And his song was beautiful but I still think The Carter Family should be honored.

That’s why you put it as the first song on your new CD? Yeah. Nobody has recorded that song, to my knowledge, since 1961 when the Hawking Brothers recorded it in Australia. Not for Decca or for EMI or for Victor but for W&G Records. Well now, W&G Records, for all I know, don’t exist anymore. They did a wonderful pressing; they had a really superb pressing of the Hawking Brothers doing not only that but ‘Amber Tresses’, and a lot of… I don’t know how many Carter Family songs. There must have been at least four of them. Out of twelve songs at least four or five of them were Carter Family songs. They did a beautiful job on it. And that’s the only other recording that exists, to my knowledge, of ‘Longing for Old Virginia’. And that’s forty years ago, forty three years ago.

Because when I saw the CD, I saw it Tuesday you know, I saw it even before you did. You told me this story in 2001 and I thought that maybe you had a reason for it to put this song on number 1. Well, that’s right. I want people to listen to it and, if there are any disc jockeys out there, to play it. And they always play the first track, if they haven’t listened to it at all. They always start with the first track. They figure: it’s probably one of the better ones, anyhow. And so I did want that one to be track number one. And I mention in my notes, there, that it could be a state song, and I hope it will be.

Well, you can imagine that song with a brass band; it would be a good song for a brass band. Yeah, it will be. I mean, as far as high school bands or people like that, you know anybody can play that and turn it into something that’s fun. The man who did that recording, the studio where I worked, plays the trombone. Actually, I’m a great fan of the trombone. I don’t like all brass instruments but I like Dixieland jazz, traditional Dixieland jazz I like a lot. They’re all acoustic and they’re all horns and reed instrument, but I like it. And the trombone is my favorite of all instruments. And I said to George, who owns that studio and who is the engineer, I said: ‘George, maybe you ought to get your trombone for this one’. He was all ready to go but then I said: ‘No, I’m just kidding’. But I do think that it would be interesting for you to listen to it and see whether you think if it could be one that you could do on the trombone. And he said: ‘Oh yeah, I can do that’. And he said: ‘I’m working with a band here in Front Royal, Virginia in a couple of weeks’ time. We can do that song.” And I said: ‘Well, do it!’ I don’t know whether he did or not but he said that its absolutely one that he could do and that it would make a great song for any kind of music, anybody could do it. So, I think it’s a … and when I sent…you had to send a recording in to the committee, to listen to. I did not send The Carter Family recording. I sent The Hawking Brothers from Australia. Because they were in the studio in 1961 which was a lot better than the Carters were in 1934. And not only that: people in Richmond: ‘Oh, listen to those voices, bunch of hillbillies’, you know. ‘No, were not going to do that’. But if they listen to the Hawking Brothers they wouldn’t be able to detect any accent. The Hawkings didn’t sing even with an Aussie accent. You can sort of hear, if you know, you can sort of hear they’re not Americans but to the unpracticed ear and if nobody told you that you wouldn’t recognize in any way. And I thought: ‘it would be better for them to hear the Hawking Brothers’. And Rita Forrester, who is Janet’s daughter, asked me. She said: ‘Now you didn’t send grandpa’s recording of that’. And I said: ‘No I didn’t, Rita’. And I told her the same story and I said: ‘I know the people in Richmond. I lived in Richmond and I know a lot of those people who are bankers and lawyers and people that work for the government there and they are a little bit like this you know’. (Nose in the air). From around Southwest Virginia, you know a bunch of coal-miners, hillbillies and those kinds of things. And I didn’t want to have them, in any way, be put off with the song, to be distracted by the sound of the voices or the way some word was pronounced. So they wouldn’t say: ‘Oh, bunch of hillbillies!’ you know, or whatever. She accepted that.

Naschrift Harry Vogel: Onlangs vond ik ze weer terug, de concertopnamen van Bill Clifton in de Van Bommelhoeve in Vlagtwedde op 29 oktober in 2004. Volgens mij was dit optreden daags voorafgaand aan het interview waar we nu al zo lang mee in de weer zijn. En weet u wat het aardige is? Het laatste nummer op de eerste CD van deze opnamen is Bill Blifton’s versie van ‘Longing for old Virginia’. Ondanks het feit dat deze post gisteren is gepubliceerd kan ik het niet nalaten om deze opname nog aan het stukje toe te voegen. Het past er immers zo mooi bij…

Ik kan me bovendien voorstellen dat u zich af zit te vragen hoe de Hawking Brothers klinken. Dat gevoel had ik ook. Ik vind hun uitvoering van deze song erg mooi…

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