Jack Hudson – vo/gtr
Fort Valley, GA – ca. summer 1973
Hudson was one of the many musicians who played at the then-Fort Valley Normal School (an African American teachers college) “Ham & Egg” Festivals of the forties and early fifties. He was one who may have attended every annual show – his name crops up in what paper-work has survived at the school. No longer playing in 1973, Bastin and I were able to interview and photograph him at his home – he was certainly a very photogenic individual!
The festival itself started out as an agricultural show in the late thirties; folk music was added a bit later and it became very popular with the locals, even resulting in a mid-’40s spread in LIFE magazine! It focused on chickens and pigs and how they were easy to raise, being good and inexpensive sources of protein for poor folks in rural Georgia. The music was an added fillip with a number of contests held each year: Saturday for secular performers, Sunday for sacred ones. The winners may have been recorded each year – there are surviving discs in the Library of Congress, and in the college’s music department. It all devolved in the mid-to-late fifties as the newer (often politically oriented) college students were embarrassed by the “old time” music and musicians. Basically, they had it stopped. Sad, but true.**
** LOWRY, Pete: “Fort Valley Blues” – Blues Unlimited No 111, p. 11 (1975) Sussex, UK.
BASTIN, Bruce: Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast; University of Illinois Press (1986) Urbana & Chicago.