This week i post a lp by the great traditionnal singer, Almeda Riddle. Born in Arkansas in 1898, Almeda was considered a national treasure by american folklorists. She knew hundreds and hundreds of old ballads and songs and was a very important figure of the folk revival. Many came back to the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing after they heard her performed at a folk festival in the sixties. Unfortunately, there's not many records available today of her, apart for a few tracks on the "Southern Journey" collection by Alan Lomax. But there's a website dedicated to the collection of John Quincy Wolf, the folklorist who discovered her, that features more than 80 recordings of Mrs Riddle along with many other perfomers from the Ozarks. Check it out, it's a great resource for those interested in american traditionnal traditions.
The lp "How Firm a Foundation" was the last she recorded before her death and features only the religious material from her repertoire. Almeda's singing here is as strong and intense as ever and the songs were an important part of her life, and you can feel how deep her spiritual life was listening to this recordings.
-Here, you'll read her biography and on the "Folkstreams" website (An important collection of movies concerning folklore and many marvelous ones about music) there's a documentary about her.