Friday, March 02, 2007

Dock Boggs: Country Blues [1927]

The psychic intensity of this recording is insane. From the first second, you're hypnotized. It's eerie. Other highlights include the lyrics, Dock kicking ass on the banjo, and the title. Who says "ooh!" after the line "Sweet heaven when I die"?

Some background on the song, from the liner notes:
"Homer Crawford, the itinerant photographer and musician from Tennessee, taught the song to Dock as Hustling Gamblers, probably around 1914. Dock added verses of his own... Hustling Gamblers and Darling Cory belong to the same lyric and tune family, one that has been around in the Southern mountains for over a century. The family of tunes probably originates late in the 19th century and belongs to the then developing tradition of white blues ballads. Dock's tune differs from the common versions..."

There are some fascinating (and scary) stories about Dock's life on The Celestial Monochord, from which I also nicked this photo of Dock, age 9 (in 1907).

This song is available on the Dock Boggs collection Country Blues as well as the legendary Anthology Of American Folk Music.

recorded in New York City


Mike said...

Very nice Emmett. This is the first I've heard of Dock Boggs. I like the way he stretches out his voice, turning it into a constant, droning instrument.

Thanks too for the Monochord link... I appreciate Greil Marcus' writing more and more lately.


Anonymous said...

By god, but that Doc Boggs could give 50 Cent a run for his money! As ever, an excellent (and wholly unexpected) post.

Anonymous said...

Actually, i used to have sone Doc Boggs back before the Great Hardware Crash of 03, in the days when i used to scoff at back-ups. I've never seen that photograph before, though. It looks like a young Tom Verlaine.

Think of the logical progression of Doc Boggs through to Hasil Adkins and on to Lux Interior. Fucking brilliant !

Anonymous said...

Oh, alright then - Dock Boggs; guilty, on that count.