• VENTNOR – The Planning Board will need more time to decide what type of commercial uses and ancillary uses, including live music, are allowed in the Dorset Avenue Commercial Zone.

    At a lengthy board meeting April 10 about zoning concerns in the city, planners heard complaints from area residents about the noise coming from Ventnor Coffee, which recently held daylong band competitions. Officials said Ventnor Coffee will need a use variance to continue to provide live music at the shop.

  • VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners took no action following a lengthy executive session on Thursday, April 10.

    Mayor Michael Bagnell and city attorney Amy R. Weintraub were excused from the meeting, which was called to hear a report from an independent attorney who investigated the city’s involvement in a Latin music festival that was cancelled at the 11th hour at the end of last summer.

    “Amy and I recused ourselves from the discussion because it involves us,” Bagnell said as he left the auditorium at the Ventnor Educational Community Complex where public meetings are being held while the municipal building undergoes extensive HVAC renovations.

  • LONGPORT – Following a 30-minute executive session Tuesday, April 8, the Board of Commissioners agreed to revise commissioner appointments and duties.

    Mayor Nicholas Russo gave a brief statement following three unanimous votes to approve the new assignments and realigned duties.

  • Cookie Till plants primroses in the flower garden. PLEASANTVILLE – More than 15 volunteers showed up Friday, April 11 to ensure several local residents eat well, get fresh air and socialize with neighbors.

    Volunteers from Jewish Family Service of Atlantic and Cape May counties and representatives of Growing Green AtlantiCare, built raised garden beds and helped JFS consumers plant early spring vegetables they can harvest by June.

    The JFS garden program is in its second three-year cycle, which includes building the gardens, planting, growing, weeding and harvesting over a three-year period.

    The first garden project was completed in Hammonton, but this project was completed at a house owned by the Pleasantville Housing Authority and occupied by three tenants who need the ongoing assistance that JFS offers.

  • WASHINGTON – A group of New Jersey members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Michael Boots, acting chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality requesting that they attend a New Jersey congressional delegation meeting to hear out questions and concerns about why the process for helping homeowners recovering from Hurricane Sandy is taking so long.

    The lawmakers want to discuss what can be done to assist 4,000 homeowners who still are not in their homes nearly a year and half after the October 2012 storm, and what might be done to properly modify any other procedures that may be delaying reconstruction.

  • VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners is considering naming the city an area in need of rehabilitation, which would provide homeowners with tax incentives to improve their homes.

    “This is a way to stimulate growth in the city,” Mayor Michael Bagnell said.

  • MAYS LANDING – A Ventnor woman was indicted Tuesday, April 8 on a charge of murdering her husband, whose remains were found in her closet after a six-year missing person investigation, acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said.

    Loretta Doyle Burroughs, 62, was indicted for murder and hindering her own apprehension in connection with stabbing death of her husband, Daniel Burroughs, 66, when both lived on Leipzig Avenue in Hamilton Township.

  • VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners has scheduled a special executive session after its 4 p.m. workshop meeting Thursday, April 10 to review a report by an independent investigator regarding a two-day Latin festival that never happened.

    Frank L. Corrado of Barry Corrado & Grassi, PC of Wildwood was hired to investigate the cancellation of Sandstock, a two-day music festival that was to be held at a vacant lot on Wellington Avenue Sept. 21-22, 2013. He was to be paid $135 an hour and recently submitted a bill for $13,783.50, according to city attorney Amy R. Weintraub.

Albertson tells Jersey history through song and story

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Jim Albertson sings during the 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival Saturday, Aug. 17 in Upper Salford Township, Pa. Jim Albertson sings during the 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival Saturday, Aug. 17 in Upper Salford Township, Pa.

UPPER SALFORD TOWNSHIP, PA – One of the skills that comes naturally to legendary South Jersey performer Jim Albertson is improvisation. That tool came in handy and he used it effortlessly Saturday, Aug. 17 during Alberson’s first set during the 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.

He said he expected more kids in attendance for his noon set sandwiched between two puppet shows on the kids’ stage in the shady Dulcimer Grove. It would be the first of two performances by Albertson that weekend.

Seeing mostly adults in the crowd he gave a disclaimer about the racial and sexist stereotypes that were commonplace nearly 100 years ago and then sang, “On the Boardwalk (in Atlantic City).”

Albertson, 70, of Millville has been the voice of the “Down Jersey” radio program for many years and he can be heard weekly at 9 p.m. on WVLT-FM 92.1. He began telling tall tales and singing the folksongs in 1965 on Steel Pier in Atlantic City when he began broadcasting “Jersey Folkline.”

Since then, Albertson has continued the tradition of telling New Jersey’s history through story, song and lecture as an active folk performer, teacher and festival coordinator throughout his home state.

“Some songs are just good songs,” Albertson said. “Adults or kids can enjoy them.”

When Albertson performs, he weaves his best stories in with a variety of songs that catch the attention of anyone within earshot.

Born and raised in Atlantic City, it is no surprise that Albertson didn’t have any trouble breaking into song about visiting Steel Pier or singing a portion of the Miss America theme by Bernie Wayne.

Albertson said although those aren’t necessarily folk songs in the traditional sense of the form, they do meet some of the criteria that many academics consider.

He said a folk song tells a story using a traditional rhythms and are passed on through oral tradition while the original author is largely unknown. They typically commemorate historical events, nature or people and are memorable.

“’This Land is Your Land’ is a good example,” Albertson said. “Your average Boy Scout doesn’t know Woody Gutherie.”

While Gutherie sang about America, Albertson is focused in carrying on the New Jersey folk life tradition. Albertson sang, “I’m looking for the pineys; oh where are the pineys.”

After hearing the crowd’s delight, Albertson spoke about the history of the A.J. Meerwald, the Delaware Bay oyster schooner designated as New Jersey’s official tall ship and sang, “We’re on our way, to the Delaware Bay.”

While he was on the subject of water, Albertson told his own version of the classic tale of Jonah and the whale except this time he was swallowed by a shark off the coast of New Jersey.

Albertson said his favorite local folk song is “Mount Holly Jail,” which he called the first folk song of New Jersey. It’s about how the food isn’t great and the conditions are worse.

He said it was a good song because kids like all the descriptions of how bad the food is, which one youngster in the crowd equated to his school cafeteria food, and there’s plenty for adults to enjoy too.

Albertson sang, “There’s one other fellow I’d like you to know/ Every Sunday morning we get Preacher Joe/ It’s hard times in the Mount Holly Jail/ It’s hard times in the Mount Holly Jail/ He’ll stand up real straight and the truth he will tell/ To save all the prisoners from going to… Atlantic City… Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.”

Part of the folk tradition is adding to it. Albertson has performed in the bluegrass band, the Bottle Hill Boys and his recording “Down Jersey,” released in 1985, is on the Smithsonian Institution’s Folkways Records. He has served as the president of the New Jersey Folklore Society and has received the New Jersey Folk Festival’s award for distinguished contribution to folk music in the state. And he is still contributing.

While singing “Good Fish Chowder,” Albertson added the lyrics about how Mike Trout, the greatest baseball player who has ever lived, came into Jim’s Lunch in Millville and ordered up six cheeseburgers and washed them down with some good clam chowder.

Archives of Down Jersey can be found at www.wvlt.com/downjersey.html

Jim Albertson sings during the 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival Saturday, Aug. 17 in Upper Salford Township, Pa. Jim Albertson sings during the 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival Saturday, Aug. 17 in Upper Salford Township, Pa.


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