Western North Carolina Ballad Collection


Western North Carolina remains a source of traditional ballads that arrived in the Appalachian Mountains with the original European settlers of the region. Many song collectors made their way into the area, searching for these songs in their “purest” form. Cecil Sharp, a noted English collector, worked with Olive Dame Campbell collecting ballads and folk songs. Sharp’s publication of English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians brought about awareness of these traditions and led to great interest in this topic. This document contains sources related to the specific collectors that have come into Western North Carolina, the songs they have collected, and the geographic area in which they collected. Full citations are used to facilitate interlibrary loan and access numbers for World Cat/OCLC are given when possible.

Introductory Text: 

Warner, Anne. Traditional American Folksongs from the Anne and Frank Warner Collection. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1984. ASU APP COLL M 1629.6 .A7 T7 1984

An introduction to ballad collection in Western North Carolina and Virginia Scarborough, Dorothy. A Song Catcher in the Southern Mountains: American Folksongs of British Ancestry.New York: Columbia University Press, 1937. ASU APP COLL M1629.S29 S6

The story of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a native WNC ballad collector, is titled:

Jones, Loyal. Minstrel of the Appalachians: The Story of Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Boone, NC: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1984. ASU APP COLL ML420.L935 J6 1984

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 
  • Ballads
  • Ballads, History and Criticism
  • Ballads, English
  • Ballads, English, History and Criticism
  • Ballads, English, United States
  • Ballads, English, Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Ballads, English, North Carolina
Clipping Files Subject Headings – W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Ballads
  • Musicians-Appalachia
  • Music-Appalachia
  • Lunsford, Bascom L.
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • M1620
  • M1629
  • M1630
  • ML400
  • ML420
  • ML423
  • ML429
  • ML1610
  • ML3545
  • ML3551
  • ML3553
  • F210
  • GR110
  • PR1181

Burton, Thomas G. Some Ballad Folks. Tennessee: ETSU Research Development Committee. 1978. ASU APP COLL ML400 .B89

Campbell, Olive D. Songs and Ballads of the Southern Mountains. 1915. ASU APP COLL OVSZ M1629.C2 S6

White, Newman Ivey, ed. Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore. Durham, NC: Duke University Press,1952-1964. ASU APP COLL GR110.N8 D8 v.1-5

Pepper, Susan G.. “A Whistling Girl and a Crowing Hen Always Come to Some Bad End” the Singing Traditions of Three Western North Carolina Women: Hazel Rhymer, Pearl Hicks and Zora Walker. Thesis: Appalachian State University, 2008. ASU APP COLL 3551.7 .N85 P47 200

Sharp, Cecil. English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. New York: Oxford University Press. 1952. 2 vols. ASU APP COLL M1629.S53 E4 1968b

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Cohen, Norm. American Folk Songs: A Regional Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008. ASU APP COLL ML 3551 .C55. v.1-2


Appalachian Bibliography. Morgantown, W V: West Virginia University Library, 1968, 1972, and 1980. ASU APP COLL Z1251.A7 A6 1968/1972/1980

From Bishop Percy (1765) to John Jacob Niles (1974): 340 Books of Ballads and Songs in the Berea College Collection. Berea, Kentucky: Berea College. 1974. ASU APP COLL Z 1231 .B2 P4

Ross, Charlotte T. Bibliography of Southern Appalachia. Boone, NC: Appalachian
Consortium, 1976. ASU APP COLL Z1251.A7.B5X

Archive of American Folk Song: Check-list of Recorded Songs in the English Language in the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song to July, 1940. New York: Arno Press, 1971. ASU APP COLL ML156.4F6 U5 1971

“Bascom Lamar Lunsford Discography.” John Edwards Memorial Foundation Quarterly. 9(7) Spring 1973. ASU APP COLL ML1. J55 v.9 1973

Tallmadge, William H. A Selected and Annotated Discography of Southern Appalachian Mountain Music. Berea, Kentucky: Berea College Appalachian Center, 1985. ASU APP COLL ML 156.4. F5 T35

Thompson, Jim. Index of Recorded Songs Performed by Northwest North Carolina Musicians. ASU APP COLL ML.1564.F6.T55.1994

Abstracts and Indices: 

World Cat
RILM Abstracts of Musical Literature
MLA Online
Academic OneFile


Appalachian Journal. Boone, NC: 1972-Present. ASU APP COLL F216.2 .A66

Old Time Music. London, England: Tony Russell, ed., 1971-1989. ASU APP COLL OVSZ ML1. 053

Old Time Herald. Durham, NC: The Old-Time Music Group, Inc.1991-Present.

North Carolina Folklore Journal. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Folklore Society.1973-current. ASU APP COLL GR110.N8 N6


Folkstreams: A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures. A website that features full-length films and essays about a variety of American folk arts, including several about Western North Carolina ballad collectors and singers. http://www.folkstreams.net/.

Audio and Video Sources: 

Lunsford, Bascom Lamar. Ballads, Banjo Tunes, and Sacred Songs of Western North Carolina. Smithsonian Folkways 40082. ASU APP COLL CDisc #58

Cohen, John, coll. High Atmosphere: Ballads and Banjo Tunes from Virginia and North Carolina. Rounder 0028. 1968. ASU APP COLL REC ML 3545 .A317 Rec. #287. ASU APP COLL REC ML 3545 .A317 Rec. #287 notes

Moser, Artus. North Carolina Mountain Folksongs and Ballads. Folkways FD 5331. 1974. ASU APP COLL REC ML 3545 .A317 Rec. #127. ASU APP COLL REC ML 3545 .A317 Rec. #127 Notes

The Warner Collection, Vol. 2: Nothing Seems Better To Me. Westchester, PA: Appalseed Recordings, 2000. ASU APP COLL CDisc # 526

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Cassie Robinson, 12 March 2002

Updated by: 

Updated by: Jesse Edgerton, 8 October 2009