On August 18, I attended Miccosukee Church of God of Prophecy to present the church with copies of Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977–1980. I introduced myself to the entire Sunday School class once the lesson was over. Almost immediately, several women knew exactly what I was talking about when I said the Folklife Program had recorded there more than 32 years ago. They were not in attendance that day in 1980 but have heard all about our visit. Even better, they semi-regularly visit Florida Memory, listen to the recordings, and view photos of family members they have found there, which they share among the church community. That speaks to the value of having these materials available and online.
Once these two women, Ruth Reynolds (nee Forbes) and Odessa Forbes Johnson, began to look through the book, they began to identify nearly everyone in the photographs. The young man holding the guitar on page 166 is their brother, Garry Forbes. Two other siblings are pictured on page 167, Amelia and Darryl Forbes. In fact, even Odessa recognized herself on page 167. They recognized other people as well.
Their father, Deacon Forbes, is featured on the Miccosukee track (#15). We chose to exclude the above photograph from the reissue as it is out of focus. Both women have seen it online at Florida Memory. That’s their father holding the washboard.
– Blaine Waide, compiler and co-producer of Drop on Down in Florida: Field Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1977–1980.