Guide to the Moran Lee Dock Boggs Concert Transcript, November 17, 1977

Summary Information

Title: Moran Lee Dock Boggs Concert Transcript, November 17, 1977
Collection: AC.616
Extent: 0.01 linear feet (1 folder)

This collection consists of the transcription of the spoken part of a Live Concert of Dock Boggs at Appalachian State University on November 17, 1977. The originial recording is not a part of this collection.

Creator: Boggs, Dock, 1898-1971

Biographical/Historical Note

Moran Lee Dock Boggs (February 7, 1898 – February 7, 1971) was an influential old-time singer, songwriter and banjo player. His style of banjo playing, as well as his singing, is considered a unique combination of Appalachian folk music and African-American blues. Contemporary folk musicians and performers consider him a seminal figure, at least in part because of the appearance of two of his recordings from the 1920s, Sugar Baby and Country Blues, on Harry Smith's 1951 Anthology of American Folk Music collection. Boggs was initially recorded in 1927 and again in 1929, although he worked primarily as a coal miner for most of his life. He was rediscovered during the folk music revival of the 1960s, and spent much of his later life playing at various folk music festivals and recording for Folkways Records.

Boggs was born in West Norton, Virginia in 1898, the youngest of ten children. In the late 1890s, the arrival of railroads in Central Appalachia brought large-scale coal mining to the region, and by the time Dock was born, the Boggs family had transitioned from a susbsistence farming family to a wage-earning family living in mining towns. Dock's father, who worked as a carpenter and blacksmith, loved singing and could read sheet music. He taught his children to sing, and several of Dock's siblings had learned to play banjo.

Around the time he began working in coal mines, Dock began playing music more often and more seriously. He learned much of his technique during this period from his brother Roscoe and an itinerant musician named Homer Crawford, both of whom shared Dock's preference for picking. Crawford taught Dock Hustlin' Gambler, which was the basis for Dock's Country Blues. Dock also picked up several songs (such as Turkey in the Straw) from a local African-American musician named Jim White. Dock probably began playing at parties around 1918.

By 1928, Dock was making enough money to quit working in coal mines and focus exclusively on music. He bought a new banjo and formed a band known as Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountain Entertainers. At one point, he was earning three to four hundred dollars a week.

Scope and Contents

This transcription is the spoken part of a live concert at Appalachian State University on November 17, 1977. Speaking are Dock Boggs, his guitarist, Kate and Cratis D. Williams, who was the Dean of the Appalachian State Graduate School.


This is a single-item collection.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for use in the Dougherty Reading Room. An appointment for research is recommended. The Dougherty Reading Room is located on the 4th floor of Belk Library in Special Collections.

Acquisitions Information

This collection came from Wilson Roberts, who transcribed the tape in 2003. Accession number AC.2003.034

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Elliott, March 2013. This collection was processed as part of a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The grant funded extensive processing of the backlog within the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection between 2012 and 2014.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AC.616: Moran Lee "Dock" Boggs Concert Transcription, W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA.

Container List

Concert transcript, November 17, 1977 ACSC_Box 19, Folder 1