List of Songs
Samples of DeFord's Music
of DeFord's Music
possibly the oldest piece on "The Legendary DeFord
Bailey" album, showcases DeFord's banjo playing and singing.
This tune also represents an example of the black hillbilly music
tradition that DeFord learned from his grandfather and uncles.
Marie is an old waltz that DeFord's grandfather Lewis played
in contests around middle Tennessee.
Cow Blues was a tune that DeFord learned from a black piano
player at Nashville's Bijou Theater. He later recorded it as "Davidson
Alcoholic Blues was derived from a 1919 anti-Prohibition song recorded
by vaudeville and radio singers such as Billy Murray.
Chase was one of DeFord's most popular songs.
DeFord was forced to play this song almost every time he appeared.
who saw him play it live were always amazed. DeFord actually placed
the harp several inches from the mouth while playing and kept the
chase going without a break.
roots for this song were much deeper than DeFord knew. One scholar
said the performing style was "pure wordless reminiscence
African ancestry," and seems to have been
a part of black folk music as far back as the 1870's.
American Blues and "Dixie Flyer Blues" were the
two train songs and probably his most famous pieces. Each song duplicates
the sound of high-speed locomotive and follows the steam engine
as it starts off sluggishly, quickly picks up speed, highballs down
the track, and finally becomes lost in the distance, its whistle
echoing away. The pieces were not mere imitations of steam engine
trains; DeFord's genius lay in his ability to arrange these sounds
into a complex musical form, integrating them with melody and harmony.
|"I worked on that train for years, getting that train
down right. I caught that train down just like I wanted in
a matter of time. I got the engine part. Then I had to make
the whistle. It was about, I expect, seventeen years to get
that whistle. It takes time to get this stuff I'm talking about,
original. You don't get any original stuff like this in a day
or two. It takes years to get it down piece by piece."
You need the free Real Audio
player to listen to audio files.
for the material in this section, including excerpts:
David C. Morton with Charles K. Wolfe, DeFord Bailey: A Black Star
in Early Country Music (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee
Courtesy of The Legendary DeFord Bailey and Tennessee
of The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
| PLAYING STYLE | SONGS