For the Weekend: Muddy and Willie


“Long Distance Call” also appears, in acoustic form, on his classic 1964 Record Folk Singer. I’ve recently found that Muddy Water’s estate keeps up an informative website honoring this great bluesman from Rolling Fork, Mississippi. The “Mud’s Kitchen” section offers this recipe for the legend’s Salmon Croquettes:

– one can of salmon
– one cup of corn meal
– one cup of flour
– one egg
– one onion, diced
Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Form into a round patty(s). Fry them in a frying pan until done. Season to taste.

While frying these patties up, check out the October 17, 1974, pilot episode of Austin City Limits featuring Willie Nelson. There’s also a good deal of the recent performances available in their entirety on the ACL site.

Ted Kooser and the Wessels Living History Farm

The Wessels Living History Farm of York, Nebraska offers visitors the best of both worlds: a hands-on chance to view an operating farm in the Central Plains as well as the opportunity to then go home and learn a great deal more through their online resources. The Farm’s site presents a decade-by-decade overview of agriculture in the twentieth-century (with Quicktime interviews) and also focuses on many of the cultural events surrounding life on the farm. There’s a great deal of audio and visual presentations here, and, to the Farm’s credit, much of this is geared towards educating younger generations about rural culture. This is a fantastic site with enough to read and watch to keep one busy through a long winter’s afternoon.
The site also features a selection of poems by former Poet Laureate Ted Kooser. A Nebraska native, Kooser has received many accolades for his clear eye and revealing use of detail to evoke a place and a people that is at once local and universal. Aside from his collections of poetry, Kooser also published a well-received memoir about life in Southeastern Nebraska: Local Wonders.
Ted Kooser reads his poem “Tillage Marks,” along with others, from his home in Nebraska’s Bohemian Alps region here. Mr. Kooser also writes The American Life in Poetry column, which is offered each week, free of charge, to newspapers and online publications across the country.


Lance Ledbetter’s record label Dust-To-Digital is one of the finest examples of how younger generations are continuing the mission of John Cohen, Alan Lomax and Harry Smith. Ledbetter, who was recently named by Utne Magazine as one of the “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” first released the lavish and meticulously-documented Goodbye, Babylon box set in 2004. The set was nominated for a Grammy (as with so many of his subsequent releases) and has continued to gather praise from artists as various as Bob Dylan, Brian Eno and Arcade Fire. The five discs of religious music contained in Goodbye, Babylon have their place alongside Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music as one of the finest documents of American music culture–rural or otherwise.
While I hope to feature and discuss many of these releases in greater detail soon, for now I will include below a short two-part piece that was featured on the This is Atlanta PBS Program. It’s an inspiring overview of the record label and is guaranteed to send you to their site to sample this powerful music.