By Loyal Jones
It truly is stated that Bascom Lamar Lunsford might "cross hell on a rotten rail to get a people song"―his Southern highlands folk-song compilations now represent one of many biggest collections of its sort within the Library of Congress―but he did even more than gather songs. He preserved and promoted the Appalachian mountain culture for generations of individuals, founding in 1928 the Mountain Dance and people pageant in Asheville, North Carolina, an annual occasion that has formed America's competition flow. unswerving Jones pens a full of life biography of a guy thought of to be Appalachian track royalty. He additionally incorporates a "Lunsford Sampler" of ballads, songs, hymns, stories, and anecdotes, plus a discography of his recordings.
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Additional info for Minstrel of the Appalachians: The Story of Bascom Lamar Lunsford
12 Lunsford's recordings were never a commercial success. Perhaps he did not have popular appeal, but he appeared unwilling to sacrifice his basic commitment to traditional music and styles In order to become popular. When record companies sought him out, he would record, but either because he never really had the opportunity or did not choose to, he did not go down the road that many other musicians were to travel, from traditional to topical, popular and sometimes short-lived songs. When fame came, it found him on his own ground.
But just growing up In Madison and Buncombe Counties of Western North Carolina In the last years of the 19th century would have Influenced anyone with a yen for traditional music and related lore, for the woods were full of fine musicians, singers and common folk whose heads held ballads, songs, hymns, tales, rhymes, riddles and square dance figures. The common people around the turn of the century performed freely, as pointed out by Cecil Sharp, in contrast to later years when SOCially aspiring people began to take on what they thought to be more sophisticated ways.
In 1928, Lunsford went to Ashland, Kentucky, to record 12 numbers for the Brunswlck-Balke-Collender Company, In 1930 (see Appendix I for a discography). For Columbia Phonographic Company, he recorded two Items in Atlanta, "Speaking the Truth," an orally transmitted version of William P. Brannan's "Where the Lion Roareth and the Whangdoodle Moumeth,"ll and "A Stump Speech In the Tenth District," a preposterous election bid, centering on Lunsford's own congressional district. In the latter, Gld Tanner's and Clayton McMichen's famous "Skillet Llckers," who happened to be In the studiO, did an Instrumental Introduction and concluding plece.