Saturday, October 3, 2009

For Dock Boggs

SOLD! T. Renner, "For Dock Boggs," acrylic on paper, 2008, 6" x 4". SOLD!

Dock Boggs was one rough customer (from Wikipedia):
In the mid-1920s, various record companies sent representatives to Southern Appalachia to hold auditions in hopes of finding new sources of talent. Around late 1926 or early 1927, Dock tried out at one such audition held by Brunswick Records at the Norton Hotel. Although he played on a banjo borrowed from a local music store and needed whiskey to calm his nerves, he played well enough to gain a contract to record several sides in New York later that year. He recorded only eight sides for Brunswick, however, as he deemed their payment sufficient for only that number.

Dock's records sold moderately well, and Dock returned to the mining areas of Southwestern Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, where he began to play at parties, gatherings, and mining camps. Around this time, Dock's brother-in-law, Lee Hansucker, who was a Holiness preacher and singer, began teaching Dock religious songs from the Holiness and Baptist traditions. Dock also learned a large number of songs from listening to Hansucker's vast record collection. By 1928, Dock was making enough money to quit working in coal mines and focus exclusively on music. He bought a new banjo and formed a band known as "Dock Boggs and His Cumberland Mountain Entertainers". At one point, he was earning three to four hundred dollars a week.

While Dock was experiencing a moderate amount of success, the life of a traveling musician often left him at odds with his religious neighbors, who considered such a life sinful. His wife, Sara, whom he had married in 1918, despised secular music and was opposed to Dock earning a living by playing music. The constantly moving mining camps were wrought with excess and violence, and Dock was consistently engaging in drunken brawls that often left him or an opponent badly injured.

No comments: