Scenes from a Nearly Lost Musical History in Tennessee

by Rachel Baker on September 8, 2014

Here’s an interesting article about how one man has gone about perserving the musical past in the State of tennessee.

In Tennessee, Scenes From A Nearly Lost Musical History.

Archivist Wayne Moore leads the way down into the vault where the State of Tennessee stores its most valuable historical treasures.

“It’s a temperature- and humidity-controlled area where we keep a lot of the recordings,” he explains.

Hundreds of reel-to-reel audio tapes line these floor-to-ceiling shelves. Stacked atop each other, the recordings, photographs and lyric sheets in the collection would reach the height of a 14-story building. They were all assembled under the direction of novice folklorist and state park Ranger Bobby Fulcher.

Today you can find almost any obscure song or historical recording online, but there was a time when this music was nearly impossible to find, and the performers who knew the oldest songs were dying off. So, in 1976, Congress passed the American Folklife Preservation Act — and Bobby Fulcher became one of the first to take up the challenge of preserving these old songs.

Most of his material was collected during visits in the homes of Tennesseans — like Opal Wright, the daughter of late music legend “Fiddlin'” John Sharp.

Previous post:

Next post: