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Down the Road BRMT | Ep. 35: Clarence Ashley Rediscovered in Folk Revival

Man standing and playing banjo while singing

Clarence “Tom” Ashley, a banjo player and guitarist from Mountain City, Tennessee, got his start in the medicine show circuit in the late 20s and 30s, but was “rediscovered”  in the Folk Revival of the 1960s. Ashley’s  famous solo recordings are probably “Dark Holler Blues” and its flip-side, “The Coo-Coo Bird,” both eerie clawhammer banjo performances recorded in late October of 1929. In the 1960s Ashley and his friends began to record with the addition of Doc Watson, then at the beginning of his career. Their record on the Folkways label, Old-Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s, remains a classic of early revival-era old-time music.