Debbie and Pennie Davis

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Debbie & Pennie Davis: two of the youngest singers that I have recorded, singing (and clearly enjoying) the old ballad of Barbara Allen.  We made the recording in their parents’ caravan, the adults having been pushed outside, because the girls refused to sing in their presence, and I was reminded of something that Zora Neale Hurston had said in her book of Negro folklore, Mules & Men (1935) - ‘Folk-lore is not as easy to collect as it sounds.  The best source is where there are the least outside influences and these people, being usually under-privileged, are the shyest.’

Part of the booklet notes, written by Mike Yates, to the Musical Traditions Records CDs The Birds Upon the Tree (MTCD333)