An interview with the founder of Arhoolie Records, Chris Strachwitz: "But I talked to him, and I really wanted to record him for a historic perspective. I was curious because he knew quite a bit of the traditional material. So he made a few records and recordings, but he was like Lightnin’—he wanted one hundred dollars a side, and I couldn’t afford that."
Darby spent six years composing the songs that made it onto this album. They were difficult years. She spoke to me about these hard times, as well as about her creative process from her home in Nashville.
A lot of people are completely clueless to my solo career thus far. At this point, people only know my work with the Chocolate Drops. Even though I founded the group, there was always more of a focus on the old-time music of North Carolina than on the music I was really passionate about. When I play as the American Songster, I have a completely separate repertoire. I know that the Chocolate Drops sound I helped create will come through on my new album, but I also feel that people will hear a little something different in my music, just because I am doing it my way.
For the past four decades, Williams has been best known as Swamp Dogg, the gonzo Southern soul singer-songwriter who, at his best, approaches the wild-eyed visionary showmanship of Sly Stone, Bootsy Collins, and Frank Zappa, while also summoning the down-to-earth class-consciousness of country music.