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12/10/2008

How can a poor man stand such times and live?

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

Blind Alfred Reed recorded this in New York City, just weeks after the 1929 stock market crash. His recording career began two years earlier in Bristol Tennessee, discovered in the same series of sessions that produced the first recordings by Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Reed was 47 at the time of the sessions.

While Reed’s anthem captures the zeitgeist of the dawn of the Great Depression, his career couldn’t survive the subsequent collapse of the record industry in the early 1930s. This was to be his last session. He lived out the rest of his life in Tennessee and West Virginia, and died in 1956.

Reed sings and provides his own fiddle accompaniment.

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Courtesy of archive.org