Folksinger and banjoist Peter Seeger
has made other recordings, including as a member of the Almanac Singers
in 1941-1942, but Darling Corey
is his first solo album. He devotes it to traditional folk songs, some of which were introduced to him by folklorist Alan Lomax
, who employed him at the Archive of American Folk Song, part of the Library of Congress, in 1939-1940, and who penned the annotations for this collection. There are songs about long-lost loves who come back to their beloveds ("John Riley") and about "no good" wives who get their heads cut off by their husbands ("I Had a Wife"). The title song is about a moonshiner and his woman, and "East Virginia Blues," which begins, "I was born and raised in East Virginia," is a romantic lament. Lomax
acknowledges in his notes that Seeger
himself was born in New York City, the son of a musicologist and a "longhair" violinist, and attended Harvard. It is not surprising that he makes no attempt to affect the kind of rural accent that might be expected in these songs. Instead, he picks his banjo steadily and renders the songs in a clear, direct manner, as if in the aural version of a musicologist's transcription. In so doing, he preserves some valuable musical folklore.