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Elizabeth Cotten|Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes

Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes

Elizabeth Cotten

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The story of Elizabeth Cotten is a strange one. Her first album was released in 1957 at the age of 62. She was therefore born in 1895. At the age of 8, she learnt to play the banjo. She then picked up a right-handed guitar which she played left-handed but with the strings in reverse, like Jimi Hendrix but not quite so loud. This guitar was soon put to the side as she became a housemaid at the age of 12, a mother at the age of 15, and then was employed to work in-house as a nanny at the residence of musicologist Charles Seeger (the father of Pete, Mike and Puffy, great names in folk). It was Charles Seeger who helped Elizabeth release her first album on the label Folkways, which she had mostly recorded quietly at home. And against all expectations, the record became a classic, most notably for its track Freight Train and its folk-blues chorus which became a huge hit in England and cemented its position in history. Until 1970, Elizabeth Cotten continued to work, performing concerts and releasing records. As a self-taught guitarist she developed a picking style that was both virtuoso and soft, melodic and liberated, and serves as an example to learners of folk guitar today. Whether instrumental or sang in her wavering voice, her peaceful music reminds one of Mississippi John Hurt: the crème de la crème of  folk-blues. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz

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Freight Train and Other North Carolina Folk Songs and Tunes

Elizabeth Cotten

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1
Wilson rag
00:01:40

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

2
Freight train
00:02:46

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

3
Going down the road feeling bad
00:02:12

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

4
I don't love nobody
00:01:14

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

5
Ain't got no honey baby now
00:00:57

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

6
Graduation march
00:02:33

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

7
Honey baby your papa cares for you
00:02:15

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

8
Vastopol
00:02:10

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

9
Here old rattler here / Sent for my fiddle sent for my bow (Sent for my fiddle sent for my son) / Georgia Buck
00:03:48

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

10
Run...run / Mama your son done gone
00:02:19

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

11
Sweet bye and bye / What a friend we have in Jesus
00:03:02

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

12
Oh babe it ain't no lie
00:04:43

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

13
Spanish Flang Dang
00:02:51

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

14
When I get home
00:02:23

Elizabeth Cotten, MainArtist

(C) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (P) 1989 Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Album Description

The story of Elizabeth Cotten is a strange one. Her first album was released in 1957 at the age of 62. She was therefore born in 1895. At the age of 8, she learnt to play the banjo. She then picked up a right-handed guitar which she played left-handed but with the strings in reverse, like Jimi Hendrix but not quite so loud. This guitar was soon put to the side as she became a housemaid at the age of 12, a mother at the age of 15, and then was employed to work in-house as a nanny at the residence of musicologist Charles Seeger (the father of Pete, Mike and Puffy, great names in folk). It was Charles Seeger who helped Elizabeth release her first album on the label Folkways, which she had mostly recorded quietly at home. And against all expectations, the record became a classic, most notably for its track Freight Train and its folk-blues chorus which became a huge hit in England and cemented its position in history. Until 1970, Elizabeth Cotten continued to work, performing concerts and releasing records. As a self-taught guitarist she developed a picking style that was both virtuoso and soft, melodic and liberated, and serves as an example to learners of folk guitar today. Whether instrumental or sang in her wavering voice, her peaceful music reminds one of Mississippi John Hurt: the crème de la crème of  folk-blues. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz

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