Roscoe Holcomb

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Roscoe Holcomb: Roscoe probably represents the best known performer in our collection, thanks to the energetic advocacy of John Cohen.  I first met Roscoe when he came to Cambridge, Massachusetts for a concert with John and he stayed at my apartment.  Later Bill Nowlin and I visited Roscoe at home in Daisy, Kentucky.  Although he sometimes appears dour and forbidding in his published presentations, in person he was always jovial, blessed with a prototypically droll Kentucky sense of humor.  When he stayed with me, he wandered into Cambridge’s Central Square and purchased a pair of the loudest hippy era pants.  Down in Daisy, the topic came up again, prompting me to politely ask why he had chosen them.  ‘Oh, it's just that when I'm tired and don't feel like going to meeting,’ he replied, ‘I say to my wife, “I think I'll wear those fine Boston pants of mine” and she lets me stay home.’

We recorded the Cambridge performance on Rounder's big Revox and Cohen has extracted a number of selections from these tapes for one of Roscoe's several important CDs for Smithsonian-Folkways (SF 40144; in addition, the concert-derived The Old Village Churchyard appears on SF 40104).  I was surprised to learn that Roscoe hadn't been more extensively recorded than seems to have been the case.  In any event, more unissued selections from the Cambridge concert appear in this collection, and several more can be found on Rdr 0394.

Part of the booklet notes, written by Mark Wilson, to the Musical Traditions Records 4-CD set Meeting's a Pleasure (MTCD341-4)