Dock Boggs, His Folkways Years, 1963-1968

Ed Ward

By Ed Ward

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Dock Boggs, bootlegger, farmer and banjo player, recorded during the '20s, a perfect example of how clueless the record companies were: his records barely sold, but Boggs was a great artist whose haunted, lonely, blues-inflected playing was unique in its era. After Mike Seeger rediscovered him in 1963, Boggs played the folk circuit to much acclaim and recorded a couple of albums for Folkways that showed he was still at the top of his game. He re-recorded some of his old tunes — "Country Blues" and "Pretty Polly," for instance — and he also cut the definitive version of "Oh, Death," which he hadn't recorded back then. Again, this is not easy listening, but it sure is riveting.