Sounds of the Ozark Folk

Volume III: John Quincy Wolf - Revision

     This third presentation of recordings from the John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection differs from our earlier offerings in that these songs have been taken from the collection and re-recorded by members of the Lyon College community. The nineteen songs on this compact disc once again represent a broad range of genres including Ozark Folk songs (some of which were also commercial successes), Sacred Harp singing and Delta Blues.  The performers attempted to give slightly more polished, contemporary renditions of the tunes while maintaining a "front porch" feel. Liner notes feature a brief history of the Wolf Collection written by Gene Hyde, and information about the recording of the project provided by one of the performers, Kenton Adler.
     Quincy Wolf, along with wife Bess, traveled the back roads of the hills and hollows of north central Arkansas for more than a decade beginning in the early 1950s in search of singers and musicians willing to sing and play their songs as Wolf saved them for posterity on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. When arthritis limited Quincy Wolf’s mobility in the 1960s, the couple increasingly turned their attention to musicians and genres found closer to their Memphis home, and one song in this collection reflects that change in geographical focus.
     Bess Wolf donated the collection to Arkansas (now Lyon) College in 1981. An English professor by trade and self-taught folklorist, Wolf, unlike many of his contemporaries and predecessors, did not limit his recordings to songs and tunes that fit the academic definition of “genuine” folk music. He recorded whatever his hosts felt like playing, including hymns, Jimmie Rodgers songs, and popular, traditional-sounding Tin Pan Alley numbers. Many of the songs in the Wolf collection would not have met the “authenticity” standards of the professional folklorists, but Wolf’s populist approach revealed the willingness of many in the hills of Arkansas and elsewhere to embrace the products of the American folk and popular traditions and the creations of local lore as willingly as they did the Child ballads and other British songs long sought and cherished by collectors. What follows is just a sampling of Wolf’s wonderful collection of American and regional songs and ballads, performed in parlors and on front porches across the Ozarks and the wider American countryside as re-envisioned by a talented group of performers.
     This CD is an extension of the Wolf philosophy, and it is hoped that the modernization will help to make these American treasures attractive to a contemporary audience.   All proceeds from CD sales support the John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection and the Lyon College Regional Studies Center.


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