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Dock Reed & Vera Hall Ward

Compared favorably to much more famous musicians like Leadbelly and Jelly Roll Morton, Vera Ward Hall was a talented Piedmont blues performer whose recorded output was largely preserved via field recordings made by the Lomax father and son team. Ten of those recordings appear on the Lomax collection Alabama: From Lullabies to Blues, including six secular songs and four gospel songs, including three duets with her cousin, Dock Reed, and one song with both him and his brother, Henry. Like many other artists in the Piedmont blues tradition, Hall performed songs from a variety of sources, yet her songs have a stripped-down, pained quality that identifies all of them strongly with the blues. Hall's song, "Trouble So Hard," which appears on the collection, was resurrected in the late '90s when it was sampled on electronic music artist Moby's album, Play, for his song, "Natural Blues." That album, which used field recordings from a variety of sources, was an international hit largely because of the unforgettable quality of Hall's haunting voice. ~ Stacia Proefrock, Rovi
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