Monday, October 6, 2008

Bela Lam and Family - Poor Little Benny

(video link)

From Times ain't like they used to be: early rural & popular American music, 1928-1935 produced by Sherwin Dunner and Richard Nevins.


Zanddervon Beliah Lamb was born in Page County, Virginia. He as known as “Bealy” or “Belie” (pronounced Bee-Lee), but Okeh Records gave his name as Bela Lam, a surname spelling now in use by his descendents. He married Rose Meadows, also a county native, and they lived in Jollet Hollow on Naked Mountain where they reared a son, Alva. After the mill where Bealy worked closed, the family moved over the Blue Ridge Mountains into neighboring Greene County. It was there, with Rose’s brother Paul, that they would remain, farming and raising livestock. Bealy organized the family into a quartet and eventually the family began playing various public occasions: Sunday schools, church gatherings, revivals and other local events. Around 1925, John Evans of Elkton, Virginia, noticed Bela Lam and his Family. He informed Okeh Records of their unique talent and the company contracted the singers to make six recordings. Okeh brought them up to New York in 1927 and paid all their expenses, plus fifty dollars for each of the six recordings....

a hearty hat tip to Bouphonia

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