Periodicals The Peachite Vol. II, No. 2, Folk Festival Number, March 1944
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OFFICIAL ORGAN OF STUDENT EXPRESSION
Published Quarterly by the Students of The Fort Valley State College, Fort Valley, Georgia
Starr Hilda Jordan
Frances N. Martin
Fozzie M. Rumph
Marion J. Kirkley
Bertha W. Strother
Gladys M. Lowman
Alma R. Hill
Lloyd E. Jones
Erma V. Lucas
Minnie H. Pierce
Riley J. Harris
Therman B. O'Daniel
Esther N. Lewis
Mabel B. Douglas
Lessie R. Horne
(This issue of The Peachite is edited by a special faculty committee in cooperation with the Peachite Staff. The Children's Folk Games appearing on page 14 were collected by students under the direction of Miss Hermese Johnson. Mr. Therman B. O'Daniel assisted with making layouts and other details of format, and Dr. Horace Mann Bond assisted with various editorial responsibilities. Dean W. W. E. Blanchet, and Willis Lawrence James of Spelman College, sometime Festival Director, assembled the material printed here about our Folk performers. We are very grateful to Life Magazine for permission to print here for the first time, and without any reproduction fee, nine wonderful photographs taken during the 1943 Folk Festival by Life's photographer, Edward Clark. With Mr. William S. Howland, Director of the Atlanta Bureau of Life and Time Magazines, Mr. Clark spent a day made happy for us by his pleasant, patient and unerring skill in making good pictures. His photographs of the Fort Valley Ham and Egg Show appeared in Life for March 22, 1943. Unused prints appear here for the first time.
Mr. Clark's—and Life's —pictures include: Cover, Pearly Brown; page 4, Bus Ezell with other folk performers; page 6, Folk Jam Session; page 7. Bus Ezell, guitarist, and Buster Brown, mouth-organist; page 7, inset, Sanders and Duffy; page 9, Fort Valley State College Chorus singing “The Saint Louis Blues”; page 12, Children in folk dance, “He-y, Mr. Dan-d-y!”; back cover page, Folk Pageant, “The Hen, Hog, and Mule Speak.”
THANK YOU, MR. CLARK! THANK YOU, LIFE MAGAZINE!
II FOLK FESTIVAL NUMBER, MARCH, 1944 NUMBER 2
Published three times yearly. Prices: Annual subscription, $1.00; per copy, 35¢ this Festival Issue, $1.00
Pearly Brown ( cover ), blind guitarist, improvises songs of peculiar interest. He uses a six-string guitar of the modern variety. His accompaniment is more personal than traditional. The History of the Fort Valley Folk Festival is on page one. Bettina Steinke's portrait of William C. Handy, Father of the Blues, and a perennial judge at the Fort Valley Festivals, covers page two, with a statement from Mr. Handy on page three. Bus Ezell is in the foreground of an admiring cluster of guitarists on page four. Bus is a rare musical talent, and the most consistent prize winner of all. Says Mr. Buster Ezell, “I done some o' everything; saw mill, road gangs, played in circuses, hoochie coochie shows . . . I use to be world's champeen, 'cause I'm 'bout dat now when de boys pushes me. I has to be to win.” He is always making new songs; and several of his recordings are in the Library of Congress Folk Music Archives. His Ballad, “Roosevelt and Hitler; Buster Ezell's War-time Song, or, Strange Things Are Happenin' in the Land,” appears on page five.
On page six, the dark troubadours get together after the contest for the oldest of all “jam sessions.” The center figure is Bus Ezell. On page seven is another study of Bus Ezell; the harmonica player is Buster Brown, a wizard of a “mouth-organ playah,” who performs the incredible feat of playing and singing at the same time. Says Buster Brown, “When I starts to playin' sho' 'nough, I'm scairt to trust myself; I can't tell my own strenth.” (He was not “scairt” to trust his white duck suit to the cold March wind, during the entire Festival.) He has several records in the Library of Congress Archives.
The two boys on page eight are typical of the real “folk” musicians who come to the Festival. These two boys have improvised musical instruments from a plank, two bricks, a length of haywire, and a soft drink bottle. Sanders and Duffy (inset, page eight ), two very consistent minstrels in the Festival, are peach orchard workers. The audience loves them because of their talent and their intensely interesting personalities; they achieve a personal, natural, human balance which is above mere comedy and which might well be the ambition of more famous artists.
Sanders and Duffy never fail to “set-off” an unrestrained current of response from the audience when they sing—
“Yuh cause me to worry,
Yuh cause me to moan,
Yuh cause me to leave
My happy home. . . .”