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I Don't Want Nothin' 'Bout My Life Wrote Out, Because I Had It Too Rough in Life: Dorsey Dixon's Autobiographical Writings

From: Southern Cultures
Volume 6, Number 2, Summer 2000
pp. 94-100 | 10.1353/scu.2000.0020

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I Don't Want Nothin' 'Bout My Life Wrote Out, Because I Had It Too Rough in Life
Dorsey Dixon's Autobiographical Writings
Patrick Huber

Patrick Huber teaches in the history department at Central Missouri State University and is currently completing his dissertation on hillbilly music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kathleen Drowne

Kathleen Drowne is a fellow at the W E. B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University, where she is finishing her dissertation on American literature of the 1920s.

Where to Find the Music of the Dixons

Various artists, Are You From Dixie? Great Country Brother Teams of the 1930's (RCA 8417-2-R).

A superb anthology of hillbilly brother duets who dominated Great Depression radio, including the Dixon Brothers singing three of their most famous songs, "Weave Room Blues," "The Intoxicated Rat," and "Down with the Old Canoe."

Dorsey Dixon, et al., Babies in the Milk Carolina Traditional, Industrial, Sacred Song (HMG/High-Tone HMG 2502).

This compact disc, a reissue of the 1965 Testament record of the same title (T-3301), features songs recorded by Dorsey Dixon in 1962, including "Wreck on the Highway," as well as two a cappella solos by his sister Nancy Dixon and three duets with his brother Howard reissued from their mid-1930s Bluebird records. Includes the Testament album's original liner notes, but unfortunately, the song notes, by occupational folklorist and hillbilly music-historian Archie Green, were omitted.

Something Got a Hold of Me: A Treasury of Sacred Music (RCA 2100-2-R).

Another fine RCA anthology featuring white country gospel songs recorded between 1927 and 1941. The only Dixon Brothers track included in this collection is their original 1938 Bluebird recording of "I Didn't Hear Nobody Pray."

Where to Read about the Dixons

Archie Green, "Dorsey Dixon: Minstrel of the Mills," Sing Out! 16 (July 1966): 10-12.
Tony Hilfer, "'Wreck on the Highway': Rhetoric and Religion in a Country Song," John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly 21 (Fall/Winter 1985): 116-119.
Douglas DeNatale, "Dorsey Murdock Dixon" and "Howard Dixon" in ed. William S. Powell Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (University of North Carolina Press, 1986), 2: 74-75, 76.
Mike Paris, "The Dixons of South Carolina," Old Time Music 10 (Autumn 1973): 13-16.