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Eric H. Davidson audio recordings

Collector:
Davidson, Eric H., 1937-  Search this
Musician:
Galyean, Cullen  Search this
Harrison, Bobby  Search this
Jarrell, Tommy, 1901-1985  Search this
Joines, Polly  Search this
Neaves, Glen  Search this
Smith, Glen (Banjo player)  Search this
Spencer, Ed  Search this
Ward, Wade  Search this
Extent:
73 sound tape reels
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Sound tape reels
Audiotapes
Date:
1958-1984
Summary:
This collection contains 73 open reel tapes, made by Eric H. Davidson between 1958-1984, featuring the traditional music of Southern Appalachia.
Scope and Contents:
The Eric H. Davidson audio recordings consists of 73 open reel tapes dating from 1958-1984, featuring field recordings made by Davidson and his colleagues (including Caleb Ellicott Finch, Paul Newman, Lyn Davidson, and Jane Rigg) featuring the traditional music of Southern Appalachia. The recordings were collected primarily in Grayson and Carroll counties in Southwestern Virginia, and adjacent counties in North Carolina.
Arrangement:
The Eric H. Davidson audio recordings are arranged in chronological order. Each open reel tape was assigned a unique number by Eric Davidson.
Biographical / Historical:
Eric H. Davidson was born in 1937, in New York City. He was primarily known as a pioneering developmental biologist, who revolutionized the research of and theoretical framework behind "the gene regulatory networks that perform complex biological processes, such as the transformation of a single-celled egg into a complex organism. His work helped to reveal how the DNA sequences inherited in the genome are used to initiate and drive forward the sequence of steps that result in development." (1)

Davidson's work in biology began at the age of 16, when he began conducting research with cell physiologist L. V. Heilbrunn, a family friend, at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He began as a dish washer at the MBL, but was informed by Heilbrunn that he was also expected to have a research project. This project resulted in a published abstract in the Biological Bulletin on clotting in sand dollars.

Davidson earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1958 and his doctorate from Rockefeller University in 1963. After working as a postdoctoral researcher and faculty member at Rockefeller, he moved to Caltech, where he would spend the rest of his career, beginning as a visiting assistant professor. He was named Norman Chandler Professor of Cell Biology in 1982 and remained there until his death.

His interest in old time music arose at nearly the same time as his interest in biology. His father, a well-known abstract painter, and mother were connected to several people who were hired to do research for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the late 1930's and 40's. At 14, he began to play the 5-string banjo after being introduced to the instrument through his exposure to recordings of Southern Appalachian music recorded as a part of the WPA, held at the Library of Congress.

In college, he played music in cafes. He also got a hold of the log of WPA recordings that were so influential to him. He began to stick pins in maps wherever the recordings were made, and began to notice that most of the pins were clustered in two counties in Southwestern Virginia--Grayson and Carroll counties--and adjacent counties in North Carolina.

In 1956, he began to take trips down to these areas during breaks from school to record musicians that had learned songs and skills through oral tradition, as opposed to the radio or records. He continued to go every year for many years, until the last person he knew had learned by oral tradition passed away. He formed close relationships with many notable musicians during these trips, including Wade Ward (from whom he learned the clawhammer banjo playing technique), Tommy Jarrell, Paul Joines, Glen Neaves, Vester Jones, Ed Spencer, Glen Smith, Cullen Galyean, and Bobby Harrison. He often recorded with his longtime collaborators Caleb Ellicott Finch, Paul Newman, Lyn Davidson, and Jane Rigg. Many of these recordings were released by Moses Asch as Folkways Records albums, produced by Davidson and his collaborators between 1962-1986.

Davidson was interested in the personal, musical, structural, traditional, and historical aspects of Southern Appalachian music. His fieldwork style was to continue to record a musician until they got tired or he'd run out of tape. Then he'd come back the next day, and the next year, and the year after that, until he had recorded everything that musician knew. This gave his work the characteristic of what he described as, borrowing from his scientific background, a longitudinal study. He was able to observe changes in the musical tradition of the region: the transition of traditional ballad singing from a cappella to string band accompaniment, the incorporation of the guitar into the string band ensemble, and the shift from clawhammer to three-finger banjo picking. In an oral history interview with Davidson conducted by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife and Collections in 2015, Davidson said that in his research, he could see how "ballads combine and recombine like genetic organisms in biology."

Davidson was also an accomplished banjo musician in his own right. He formed the Iron Mountain String Band together with Caleb Finch (fiddle), and Peggy Haine (guitar), releasing an album (FA 2473) on Folkways Records in 1973 consisting of songs and tunes learned from his many recording trips into Grayson and Carroll counties.

Eric Davidson died on September 1, 2015 at the age of 78.

1. "Developmental Biologist Eric H. Davidson Passes Away," Caltech News, September 4, 2015, accessed January 5, 2016, http://www.caltech.edu/news/developmental-biologist-eric-h-davidson-passes-away-47772.
Disclaimer:
Please note that some language in this collection is culturally insensitive or offensive to viewers. It is presented as it exists in the original material for the benefit of research and the historical record. The material reflects the culture and context in which it was created and not the views of the Smithsonian Institution.
Related Materials:
An oral history with Eric H. Davidson was conducted by the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections on April 26, 2015. Both the video and transcript is available for researchers. Contact archives staff for information.
Provenance:
Donated by Eric H. Davidson.
Restrictions:
Access by appointment only. Contact the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections at rinzlerarchives@si.edu or (202) 633-7322 for additional information.
Rights:
Copyright restrictions apply. Contact archives staff for information.
Topic:
Fiddle tunes -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Folk music -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Banjo music -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Music -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Old-time music -- Appalachian Region, Southern  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiotapes
Citation:
Eric H. Davidson audio recordings, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Eric H. Davidson audio recordings, 1958-1985. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
CFCH.DAVID
See more items in:
Eric H. Davidson audio recordings
Archival Repository:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-cfch-david

Buell H. Kazee sings and plays [sound recording] / recorded by G. Bluestein

Commentator:
Kazee, Buell 1900-1976  Search this
Bluestein, Gene 1928-2002  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Anglo-American  Search this
Americans  Search this
Type:
Phonograph records
Songs and music
Place:
Appalachian Region
United States
Kentucky
Date:
1958
Topic:
Folk music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Ballads, English  Search this
Railroads  Search this
Children's songs  Search this
Hymns  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Local number:
FW03810
Folkways 3810
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_231943
Additional Online Media:

Mountain music of Kentucky [sound recording] / recorded, edited and annotated by John Cohen

Producer:
Cohen, John 1932-  Search this
Performer:
Cornett, Bill  Search this
Chapman, Willie  Search this
Crase, James  Search this
Holcomb, Roscoe  Search this
Young, Martin  Search this
Grigsby, Corbett  Search this
Sams, John  Search this
Sams, John Mrs  Search this
Bowlin, Granville  Search this
Hall, Martha  Search this
Cornett, J.D.  Search this
Sexton, Lee  Search this
Sumner, Marion  Search this
Davis, George 1906-1992  Search this
Old Baptist Church  Search this
Holiness Church  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Anglo-American  Search this
Americans  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
Kentucky
United States
Date:
1960
Topic:
Ballads, English  Search this
Folk music  Search this
Spirituals (Songs)  Search this
Hymns  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Folk songs  Search this
Ballads  Search this
Love songs  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Blues (Music)  Search this
Drinking songs  Search this
Political ballads and songs  Search this
Working class  Search this
Topical songs  Search this
Fiddle tunes  Search this
Instrumental music  Search this
Social dancing  Search this
Opera  Search this
Courtship  Search this
Animals  Search this
Music  Search this
Wit and humor  Search this
Sentimental  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Guitar  Search this
Mandolin  Search this
Violin  Search this
Spoons (Musical instrument)  Search this
Religion  Search this
Christianity  Search this
Baptists  Search this
Local number:
FLP 2317
Folkways 2317
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access
See more items in:
Folkways Records Collection 1948-1986
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_246639

Clark Kessinger Live at Union Grove [sound recording]

Performer:
Kessinger, Clark  Search this
Recorder:
Faurot, Charles  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FW-ASCH-7RR-3913
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, 1939-1986 228428
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_336770

Pretty Polly/Danville Girl [sound recording]

Performer:
Boggs, Dock 1898-1971  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 78 rpm ; 10 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Virginia
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FW-ASCH-78-2495
Brunswick 132
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, 1939-1986 228428
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_323229

It Still Lives [sound recording]

Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Georgia
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Local number:
FP-RINZ-LP-0502
XXXFoxfire 001
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audiorecordings, 1950-1994 292071
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_330667

Plains. Georgia Rock [sound recording]

Creator:
Patterson, Uncle John  Search this
Producer:
Mitchell, George  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
Appalachian Region, Southern
Georgia
United States
Date:
1977
Topic:
Folk music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Local number:
FP-ARH-LP-5018
Arhoolie 5018
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_334281

Wade Ward [sound recording]

Performer:
Ward, Wade  Search this
Recorder:
Davidson, Eric H. 1937-2015  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FW-ASCH-7RR-4008
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, 1939-1986 228428
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_336865

Rinzler Fieldwork: Harvey Phelps- Banjo Player [sound recording]

Performer:
Phelps, Harvey L  Search this
Field worker:
Rinzler, Ralph  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Ohio
West Virginia
Topic:
Banjo music  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-RINZ-7RR-0427
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audiorecordings, 1950-1994 292071
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_340476

Black Banjo Fieldwork: Josh Thomas [sound recording]

Artist:
Thomas, Josh  Search this
Recorder:
Endres, Clifford 1941-  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound cassette : digital
Culture:
African American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Virginia
Topic:
Banjo music  Search this
Folk music  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
2009-0524
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Listening only; No duplication allowed
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_355539

Radio Merseyside Radio Program: Merle Watson Tribute:"Meeting Along the Southern River: The Sounds of Merle [sound recording]

Performer:
Watson, Merle  Search this
Creator:
BBC Radio  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound cassette : analog
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
North Carolina
Date:
1985
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Documentary  Search this
Guitar  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-1990-CT-0002
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_313332

Sound roll- BBC film "Omnibus"- Doc Watson- Radio show andother sound [sound recording]

Performer:
Watson, Doc  Search this
Recorder:
Roberts, Bob  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
North Carolina
Topic:
Oral history  Search this
Documentary  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Bluegrass music  Search this
Guitar  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-1989-RR-0001
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. BBC Permission
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_314379

Shootin' Creek/Ramblin' Blues [sound recording]

Artist:
Poole, Charlie 1892-1931  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 78 rpm ; 10 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
North Carolina
Topic:
String band  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FW-ASCH-78-1423
Columbia 15286-D
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, 1939-1986 228428
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_321577

Rinzler Fieldwork: Tom "Clarence" Ashley [sound recording]

Performer:
Ashley, Clarence 1895-1967  Search this
Field worker:
Rinzler, Ralph  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Tennessee
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-RINZ-7RR-0166
FLP 52788
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audiorecordings, 1950-1994 292071
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_324620

Uncle Dave Macon Dubs [sound recording]

Performer:
Macon, Uncle Dave 1870-1952  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound cassette : analog
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
Tennessee
United States
Murfreesboro (Tenn.)
Date:
1990
Topic:
String band  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-1994-CT-0537
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_327419

Banjo Fieldwork: Interview with Marvin Gaster [sound recording]

Field worker:
Winans, Robert  Search this
Performer:
Gaster, Marvin 1934-  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
North Carolina
United States
Carthage (N.C.)
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
String band  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Local number:
FP-1981-7RR-0366
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_327814

America at Play [sound recording]

Artist:
Seeger, Peggy 1935-  Search this
Carawan, Guy  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 33 1/3 rpm ; 12 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Folk songs  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Guitar  Search this
Local number:
FP-RINZ-LP-0318
EMI 1174
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audiorecordings, 1950-1994 292071
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_330599

Hold That Wood Pile Down/Carve That Possum [sound recording]

Performer:
Macon, Uncle Dave 1870-1952  Search this
Physical description:
1 phonograph record : analog, 78 rpm ; 10 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
Tennessee
Topic:
String band  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-RINZ-78-1448
Vocalion 5151
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Ralph Rinzler papers and audiorecordings, 1950-1994 292071
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_331492

Banjo Meltdown Concert: Victor Wooten; Bill Keith, Alan O'Bryant, Butch Robbins [sound recording]

Creator:
Tennessee Banjo Institute 1990  Search this
Artist:
O'Bryant, Alan  Search this
Keith, Bill 1939-2015  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 10 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
Tennessee
United States
Murfreesboro (Tenn.)
Topic:
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FP-1992-10RR-0110
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_331788

Lord Bateman [sound recording]

Performer:
Ritchie, Jean  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound-tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Americans  Search this
Anglo-American  Search this
Type:
Musical sound recordings
Place:
United States
New York
Kentucky
Viper (Ky.)
Topic:
Folk songs  Search this
Appalachian Region, Southern--Songs and music  Search this
Banjo  Search this
Local number:
FW-ASCH-7RR-1986
Restrictions & Rights:
Restrictions on access. No duplication allowed listening and viewing for research purposes only
See more items in:
Moses and Frances Asch Collection, 1939-1986 228428
Data Source:
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_337143

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