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Sandy Paton Lyr Add: Mary Hamilton (Hally Wood) (23) RE: Hally Wood's 'Mary Hamilton' 28 Feb 04

Guest "WG" mentions that Caroline (she's my wife) sings the version she learned from Hally Wood, which is true. But when we recorded some of Hally's songs and ballads here at Folk-Legacy (she had long been one of our favority singers) she sang the Mary hamilton without those two introductory verses. hally was having a lot of trouble with her voice and her breathing when she visited us, so we failed to get enough material for an album, hard as we tried. Later, when Hally was again living in Texas, she asked for and we gave her all of the tapes that we had made of her singing. She then made an LP of her own, using what we had given her and some additional recordings made at her home. It was at that time that she added the two opening verses to those she had recorded here.
    Hally made two solo LPs (10 inch): one for Stinson Records and one for Elektra (if memory serves). Kytrad will surely remember them -- one was called simply "Texas Folk Songs" and the other had the ominous title: "Oh, Lovely Appearance of Death." She may also be heard doing a couple of songs on the Rounder recording of a musical play that Lomax produced about the Martins and the Coys (again, I'm relying on my less than reliable memory). At the end of the CD, there are a few songs by Lily Mae Ledford and a couple by Hally. Aside from these, the only recording of Hally that I can think of is the "Bad Girl's Lament" (Texas Gladden's version) that was included on the Folkways album "The Unfortunate Rake," a collection of versions of that song, along with a number of parodies of it.
    Hally was active in the early revival of folksong interest in New York -- the days of the Almanac Singers, with whom she also sang. She transcribed the music for some of Alan Lomax's early publications. She was a glorious (!) singer, but the cancer that finally killed her did some destructive things to both her voice and her lungs toward the end of her life. A great loss to all of us who loved her and her music.
    When she left here (Folk-Legacy), she sold a sweet little Martin classical guitar to me for Caroline to use. Rick Fielding has played it and could tell you what a lovely instrument it is. It has lived with us now for over thirty years. Right now, our fifteen year old granddaughter is learning to play it. Life goes on, somehow.

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