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Considerable Grace Vol. II - Feel the Presence: Traditional African American Music in South Carolina

The music on "Feel the Presence" is not exclusively African American. Instead, these forms illustrate the profound influence of African American musicians on the larger music community. This music provides a powerful connection to our past - a stew pot of shared traditions and intertwined styles and sensibilities.

Black folks played mouth harp with white folks, the Grand Ol’ Opry and regional radio filled the airwaves throughout the state, shape-note traditions crossed the racial divide. From Blind Boy Fuller to Chris Bouchillon, bluesmen sang what they lived. Many of these artists are pioneers in their genre and influenced not only a regional and national audience, but an international one as well. From emotional spirituals performed for a congregation of fellow believers to a blues tune picked on a Spartanburg street, the music is passionately intimate.

This is not music to be romanticized - some of the blues musicians on this recording died broken men - penniless. Much of the sacred music is born of heartache - from the indiginities of slavery to the struggles of both white and black sharecroppers on hardscrabble farms. That’s not to say the music can’t be fun. Freddie Vanderford slathers on double entendres like butter on cornbread and Pink Anderson’s music is full of medicine show antics. But above all, the music is powerful and emotional, whether singing in praise or pickin’ in hard luck. There are certainly traditions missing that should be included: banjo, fiddle, jazz, rock & roll, funk, and the list could go on. Several of these talented South Carolinians have passed on. Others continue to perform and provide valuable insight to musical traditions that have long fallen out of popular culture’s collective memory. Not intended to be a polished studio recording, most of this music was recorded where it is normally performed - family rooms, sanctuaries, backyards, and street corners across South Carolina.

Audio   (View Transcript)

bullet icon One More River To Cross (00:35)

Ann Caldwell

bullet icon Cool Down Yonder (00:36)

All Male Chorus of Blacksburg

bullet icon Trucking Them Blues Away (00:34)

Baby Tate

bullet icon De Ack (00:31)

Marquetta Goodwine

bullet icon Listen to the Lamb (00:36)

The Jackson Brothers

bullet icon I Shall Not Be Moved (00:34)

James Bing Note Singers

bullet icon St. James Infirmary (00:34)

Little Pink Anderson

bullet icon Amazing Grace (00:36)

The Jarvis Brothers

bullet icon You Can't Hide (00:37)

St. Paul's Baptist Choir

bullet icon Waterboy (00:28)

Henry Smith

bullet icon Physical Attraction (00:35)

Drink Small

bullet icon Reunion (00:34)

Pelham Myers and the Five Singing Stars

bullet icon I'm a Poor Boy (00:34)

Willie "Big Boy" Tennant

bullet icon Tell Jesus Not to Forget (00:35)

The Malloy Family Singers

bullet icon Get Me Back to the Country (00:35)

Mac Arnold

bullet icon Greasy Greens/Crazy with a Frying Pan (00:34)

Freddie Vanderford & Brandon Turner

bullet icon Uhaul (00:33)

Cootie Stark