His Folkway Years 1963-1968 – Dock Boggs

Did someone say a white Robert Johnson? I kid you not this guy is the white Robert Johnson, only Dock played banjo rather than guitar, and the seeds of what most of us know as pop and rock music were sown in the 1920s and 30s by these itinerant journeymen musicians. I have never met another person who actually likes this album, and believe me I have played it to a large number. The overwhelming reaction seems to be ‘get this shite off’.
Dock is an important figure and he has, what they call in Hollywood, a great back story (film script anyone). He played and recorded this curious mix of Appalachian folk and African-American blues in the 1920s and seemed to be moderately successful. However his wife was a deeply religious woman and eventually she made him hang up his banjo. Dock spent the next 45 years working in the coal mines of Virginia. However he was re-discovered in the late 60s by Pete Seeger and it is from those recording sessions that this album comes from.
There is some great stuff on this album, and although it was recorded in the 1960s you have to remember that he was singing these songs in the 1920s, talk about being ahead of the game. Country Blues is a great track concerning his troubles with, gambling, having no money, having no friends, being arrested and drinking (sounds like one of my Sunday afternoons). Bright Sunny South is a great track and you can hear the seeds of its germination, basically the English folk ballad, running right through it. I could go on all day about this album, it is a fascinating document of the birth of this thing we call rock.
Two word review; hillbilly hiphop
Hidden gem; Sugar baby


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