Southern Journey 1: Georgia Sea Islands, Volume 1 (Prestige International, 1961)

August 24, 2012

Download Southern Journey 1: Georgia Sea Islands, Volume 1

UPDATE: A lot of the songs from this record are available elsewhere either digitally or on vinyl. I would highly recommend checking out Georgia Sea Island Singers’ Join The Band on Mississippi Records (MRP-003) for a new pressing with some of these songs. This Southern Journey record is still unavailable as is, so I’ll leave it here for now. See Nathan’s (from Cultural Equality) comment for more details.

This is one of my favorite Lomax collections. Stripped down blues, only two tracks that have any instruments (Hobart Smith on banjo, and a couple dudes playing drums & fife), the rest are pure vocals, hand clapping, and foot stomping. It’s raw and powerful, especially Bessie Jones’ take on “O Death.” There’s some wonderful chatter in between a couple of the songs, like when Peter Davis talks about how he learned “Row The Boat, Child” from his old blind grandfather who would sing it while making rowing motions in his armchair.

One of the really interesting things, and maybe if there’s a Moby expert out there you can help me out on this, is a lot of the songs on this record sound like the vocals used in Moby’s Play. I don’t think he actually sampled from this but it sounds like he heard this record and was like, “I need to recreate this.” Granted, I haven’t listened to Play in 5 or 10 years, but I have some of those tracks ingrained in my memory, and Georgia Sea Islands lines up almost perfectly. Weird.

Either way, this album is incredible, and isn’t already up in the Lomax Archive, so have at it. And be on the lookout for more Lomax collections here in the future, I got about 6 or 7 more that are from other countries and also aren’t in the Archive, so get excited.

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4 comments on “Southern Journey 1: Georgia Sea Islands, Volume 1 (Prestige International, 1961)

  1. According to Wiki…

    “The album was particularly notable for its extensive use of samples from the field recordings as they were collected by Alan Lomax on the 1993 Sounds of the South: A Musical Journey from the Georgia Sea Islands to the Mississippi Delta. Most of the samples were short and constantly repeated throughout the songs. For example, “Honey” used a sample from Bessie Jones that consisted of a conjunction of four verses that was repeated over twenty times. In the liner notes for the album, Moby gave “special thanks to the Lomaxes and all of the archivists and music historians whose field recordings made this record possible.”

  2. antigravitybunny Aug 24, 2012

    Thanks for helping a lazy brother out Jon! Looks like my hunch was right. :)

  3. Thank you for this wonderful album. I hope your recovery is going smoothly.

  4. This record was expanded and reissued in one of Rounder’s “Southern Journey” CD volumes in their Alan Lomax Collection (1997), and is now only available as a download. But if you’d like to support the Lomax Archive, a new release of some of these recordings plus some previously unissued material is available as “Georgia Sea Island Singers: Join the Band” through LP on Mississippi and download through the Archive’s Global Jukebox imprint:

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