Small Demon
Oct 242010
 

Another saint in my pantheon drawn from the NY Times obituary pages, Elizabeth L. Sturz. Interestingly, I ran across a reference to her just last week when reading Ted Anthony’s Chasing the Rising Sun, an account of the origins and development of the old song “The House of the Rising Sun.” Elizabeth Sturz, born Elizabeth Harold, was married to the folklorist Alan Lomax and accompanied him on his earliest trips into Appalachia to collect songs. It was on one of these trips that they recorded a teenaged girl named Georgia Turner singing “Rising Sun” without accompaniment. The obit in the Times transformed Elizabeth Sturz for me from a footnote to someone of note; it also demonstrates that we are not our beginnings. Or our endings, either. Whatever else we are, we are the transformations we work in our lifetimes and the energy we send forward beyond them. That Georgia Turner version of “The House of the Rising Sun” is worth seeking out on Amazon — you can get it for under a dollar as an MP3, though I believe it is listed under Alan Lomax’s name. Such are the indignities of fate, not that they matter in the long run.

 Posted by at 3:52 pm  Tagged with:

  3 Responses to “Another Saint”

  1. Enjoyed the post, and I had not seen that she died. So thank you for the reference. Cheers.

  2. Welcome, Ted Anthony! You’ve written a terrific book that has sent me on a fascinating musical journey. I’m going to use Chasing the Rising Sun in my course on the Literature of American Popular Music at Clarkson next term. In the past, I have used “John Henry” and “Stagolee” as examples of the American ballad tradition & I’m going to add “Rising Sun” this time around. It’s particularly useful because it is (often) presented from a female point of view, which makes it a useful counterpoint to the competing versions of masculinity we hear in the other two ballads.

  3. That’s very flattering to hear. Let me know if I can help in any way.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.