Ella Jenkins…

ella1999 CD release |
Smithsonian-Folkways Records
Recorded at CRC Studios, Chicago

Bucky joins the legendary Ella Jenkins for a recording of union songs geared toward kids!

A Grammy Finalist-Nominee for Best Children’s Recording in 1999.

I’d met Ella a few times, but I was surprised to get a call from her asking if I’d be interested in doing something on a CD of labor music for kids she was thinking of recording. Well, of course, I was interested. She’s a legend! Several weeks later she called me to set up the session. We did one very informal rehearsal at her home. I played a couple songs with her and that was it.

I’m always one for adventures and what an adventure that session turned out to be. A wild wonderful ride and surreal blast! We did the entire CD in a single day and I’m still not sure how we managed. Kids runnin’ around, musicians rehearsing, hangers on, and people comin’ and goin.’ Nothin’ was arranged. We’d run through the song a bit and let the tape roll. Crazy, nuts, fun.
Ella had me play guitar and sing background on most of the songs, including ones I’d never heard before that day. I sang lead and played guitar on old labor favorites, including “The Farmer Feeds Us All,” “Hallelujah I’m a Bum,” and “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad.”

She called me a few weeks later to tell me that Pete Seeger had added a song to the project, and also Josh White, Jr. Hey, what could I say? I’m on a record with Pete Seeger, Josh White, Jr., Ella Jenkins, and a batch of cute kids. Then it made it to the Grammy finals for Best Children’s Record. Got beat out by Elmo in Grouchland. But, I’m tellin’ youz guyz to buy Ella’s CD instead. It’s the only pro-worker record for kids on the market, it’s good, and I’m on it. And stupid me. I got an invitation to the Grammy Awards in Hollywood as a V.I.P. and I didn’t go ‘cause I was broke. What was I thinking?

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