Chico Schwall opens the 7th season of American Roots with an inquiry into the American poetical voice and its roots in folk song. "This idea first came to me," Chico recalls, "when I picked up an edition of Carl Sandburg's 1927 classic folk song collection American Songbag. It's a 1950 edition (with an introduction by Bing Crosby!) and the cover has a picture of the poet with a bow tie and a guitar. Sandburg was both a literary poet and an amateur collector of folk songs. Swapped manuscripts with John Lomax. I'm thinking about an evening of songs with beautiful poetry ("The Water Is Wide", "Down the Dirt Road Blues", etc.) combined with short readings from Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Lawrence Ferlenghetti, Emily Dickinson, William Stafford, etc., showing the interaction between vernacular song and literary writing. Mark Twain wrote a piece once on how Americans tell a joke very differently from how Europeans do. We have our own literary voice, and as I once told Ginevra, John Hurt is as much an example as Herman Melville. It could be a really fun show,with lots of variety and a focus, like the last one, on cool texts…"
(1927) The American Songbag traditional U. S. (w/m)