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[Music clip: From Haydn's Derbyshire Marches, organ version.]
01 — Intro. Sorry about that, listeners. I truncated our intro music there just to signify that this is a highly truncated edition of Radio Derb.
Yes, this is your nomadically genial host John Derbyshire; but I am podcasting today from the very lovely Montgomery Bell State Park in central Tennessee. American Renaissance is holding its annual conference here this weekend. I shall post a podcast on Monday, all about the conference.
In the meantime, however, I am on record as saying, in last week's podcast, that, quote, "there will certainly be a podcast of some description by Friday midnight," end quote. Here therefore is a brief placeholder edition of Radio Derb pending Monday's fuller version.
[Added later: Alas, when I got back home to Long Island on Monday, after driving the 960 miles from Tennessee, I was too pooped to put a podcast together. Some relevant remarks will be included in the May 27th podcast.]
Let me see if I can get some voices from the conference for you.
02 — Some words from Jared Taylor. Here's one voice: the moving spirit of the conference: Jared Taylor.
I first heard of Jared when I read Peter Brimelow's review of Jared's 1992 book Paved With Good Intentions. That review appeared in a prominent conservative magazine whose name escapes me for the moment.
I bought the book, took out a subscription to the American Renaissance monthly newsletter, and have been following Jared's career with growing admiration ever since.
This weekend's conference is the biggest for many years and Jared's been kept busy this evening, Friday, greeting arrivals and setting up for tomorrow's presentations. I managed to waylay him for a brief interview in the middle of all this. The interview was conducted in the reception area of our conference facility, with a great many people milling around, so the sound quality is poor — my apologies for that.
[Clip: Derb: Jared, I'd like to congratulate you. This looks like a really good turnout — much more so than in previous years, is that right?
03 — RamZPaul meets Radio Derb. The high point of the conference entertainment-wise is the banquet on Saturday night. There is a bar of course, and some excellent food; and we get an address from Alt-Right vlogger RamZPaul.
I ran into RamZ at the Friday night reception. This was in the main hall, which was crowded, so sound quality is even worse here. Double apologies.
[Clip: RamZPaul: This is the first time I'll be doing a speech sober, so we'll have to see how that works out.
04 — The food and drink segment. An American Renaissance conference isn't all earnest discussions of political science. At the opening reception, and in between the formal presentations, you meet interesting people from all walks of life, and learn a lot.
Just for a flavor of that: I still had my sound recorder on after talking to RamZPaul, and I got into conversation with a charming lady who knows a staggering amount about bourbon whiskey, my own liquor of choice nowadays. Just a brief random snippet:
[Clip: She: If you are going through bourbon country you have to stop in Harrodsburg and stay at the Beaumont Inn. It's been owned by the same family for five generations. It's currently owned by Dixon Dedman — I think his mother is probably a co-owner. He and his sister are wonderful people, they know the bourbon business inside and out. They won the James Beard's Award, actually, I think last year, which is like the Oscars of food and hospitality … and it's a wonderful, wonderful place. It used to be a women's college, back in the 1800s. Then it became an inn after that. They have world-famous food and before Prohibition his great-great-grandfather had a whiskey called Wise Owl. And …
05 — Signoff. That's it for now, listeners. Thank you for listening, and please tune in on Monday for further Radio Derb commentary.
Signout music for this fragment comes with a story. It comes, in fact, with three stories. Here they are in chronological order.
First story: Back in 1884 in eastern Tennessee, a man named Willie Maberry killed his brother-in-law with a shotgun because of some offense the brother-in-law had given him.
Everyone knew Willie was the murderer. He went on the lam, and was not seen in Tennessee for 25 years. In 1909 he showed up to claim an inheritance. The sheriff arrested him, and Willie Maberry went to prison for life.
Second story: Forward 57 years to 1966 and across the ocean to England, where there was a flurry of interest in folk music going on. I was part of the flurry, attended several concerts. One that especially got my attention was given by Sandy and Jeanie Darlington, a folk duo from the United States. I liked their performance so much I bought their record, a vinyl LP of course. I played that LP till it was worn right through. I can still sing most of the songs.
Third story: Forward fifty more years to this morning. For logistical and financial reasons I drove to Tennessee from Long Island. It's fifteen hours on the road, if you feel like trying it.
You can imagine I was pretty happy to see that Welcome to Tennessee sign. I came in from the east on Interstate 81, which becomes Interstate 40.
So there I was rolling out of Knoxville on the Interstate, trying to bat away fantasies of warm beds and soft pillows, when what should I see but a little sign marking a county border: Roane County.
A whole long chain of neurons fired off, and when the last synapse had popped Sandy and Jeanie started up playing in my head: a lovely old bluegrass number titled "In the Hills of Roane County," supposedly written by Willie Maberry as he worked out his life sentence.
I can't find Sandy and Jeanie's version on YouTube, but I did find several others, from recordings going back to the 1940s. They're all pretty good — it's a hard song to spoil. More or less at random, I'm posting Tony Rice's version. If you've never made the acquaintance of bluegrass music, this is an exceptionally fine specimen.
More from Radio Derb on Monday.
[Music clip: Tony Rice, "In the Hills of Roane County."]