Dock Boggs

Dock Boggs ( born February 7, 1898 in Norton, Virginia; ibid † February 7, 1971, the original name of Moran Lee Boggs ) was an American Old-time musician who has experienced his greatest success in the 1920s.

  • 2.1 Singles
  • 2.2 albums


Boggs learned the banjo playing at the age of twelve years. At the same time he was already working in mines to feed his family with. His first banjo he built from an old rifle, which he had exchanged for a clock. In 1927 he got the chance to audition at the Brunswick Records, whose talent scouts just in Bristol, Tennessee, were. To calm his nerves, he drank almost an entire bottle of whiskey before, which did not seem to affect his power of song, apparently, because he was one of those who got a record deal. On this day also were later stars such as Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family and discovered Blind Alfred Reed.


He signed for eight songs, which he should take. His first record was released with the titles of Country Blues and Sugar Baby. His records sold well, so his recording contract was extended. One of his most famous title, Traditional Danville Girl dates from this period. The items are mainly characterized by its rough and unpolished vocals; a method that has been applied by the labels on Old-time musicians often to get the " rural " flavor. After this was but then expired, he returned to Norton, where he founded the band Dock Boggs and his Cumberland Mountain Entertainers, with whom he has seen further success in 1928.

With his wife Sahra he moved to Mayking, Kentucky, where he remained until 1933. During this time, he took on various boards for Harry 's label Lonesome Ace Records, but all had only moderate success. Then he sang at Okeh Records in Atlanta, Georgia, before, where you refused him. RCA offered to Boggs to audition, but he could not raise the necessary funds for a trip to Louisville. Because of its declining success Boggs decided to give up the music. He again worked in mining. After it had declared for this profession as unable to work his doctor, he was initially a truck driver and then a salesman in a store the mining company in which he had previously worked. 1953 the company got into financial difficulties and went bankrupt. Well Boggs was unemployed.

In the booklet for the first album recorded for the label Folkways Records Boggs in 1963, Mike Seeger describes the rediscovery of the musician. On a trip Seeger met on June 12, 1963 Dock Boggs in his home town and asked him to record some songs. That evening Boggs took on eight songs, mainly newer material, as well as an interview. In this interview, that has also been published on a Folkways album, he described his earlier years and expressed the desire to act again and take pictures.

These recordings then led to the fact that Boggs already 14 days later at the American Folk Festival in Asheville, North Carolina, occurred. It was followed by other performances, such as Club 47 in Boston and at the Newport Folk Festival. Two more albums for Folkways Recordings and one for Ash followed.

Dock Boggs died at his 73rd birthday in his hometown of Norton.

In 1998, the label Revenant Records released an album of early recordings and other outtakes from this period. The folkway recordings from the 1960s were also in 1998 by Smithsonian Folkways under the title His Folkways Years 1963 - re-released in 1968.