Thursday, March 13, 2014

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Dillard Chandler

Artist:Dillard Chandler
Song:Rain and Snow
Album:Classic Mountain Songs From Smithsonian Folkways

Dillard Chandler can best be described as a pioneer of folk music. But he never entered a recording studio and rarely performed on stage. Usually musicologists went into remote areas and recorded singers like Chandler in the field. The 60s folk boom generated new interest in those kind of singers. Chandler was born Apr. 16, 1907. He grew up in a log cabin in the mountains near Sodom, NC. A lot of singers came from this area but Chandler is considered to be one of the best of them. He was illiterate and worked in the logging industry. He sang for his own enjoyment. Chandler seemed to specialize in dark songs about murder and other things. During the folk music boom of the early 60s, John Cohen of The New Lost City Ramblers went into the mountains of Western North Carolina to record some of these mountain singers. He found through his research that though Chandler was one of the most popular singers in the area, he had never been recorded. These kind of recordings were usually sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute and they released them on Folkways Records. Cohen recorded Chandler and other singers and they were released on the 1964 album Old Love Songs & Ballads from the Big Laurel, North Carolina. You can get Rain and Snow on this Smithsonian Folkways various artists CD. Cohen also made a short documentary about Chandler called The End of an Old Song detailing his life. Bob Dylan told Cohen that he had that 1964 album and liked Chandler. So he was an influence. His songs have been covered by Uncle Tupelo and Tim O'Brien. Apparently Chandler was very mysterious even to his neighbours. He could have taken advantage of the 60s folk boom and become a celebrity. But he was shy and didn't like performing in front of crowds. His only folk festival appearance was in Chicago in 1967. Other appearances were scheduled but he would never show up. Dillard Chandler died Jan. 1992 at age 84. He was an enigma but a very powerful singer. Here's a video for Rain and Snow by Dillard Chandler.

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