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Home » Clarence Ashley: “The Cuckoo”
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Clarence Ashley: “The Cuckoo”

This clip is about half interview and half performance. Check out Ashley’s bio. It’s real Americana, and told by the man who lived it. Ashley began performing in medicine shows in the Appalachians in 1911. He isn’t well known, but had a big influence. Indeed, the Wikipedia profile credits him with the first recorded version of “The House of the Rising Sun.” The profile points out artists upon whom he had impact:

Several notable musicians cite Ashley as an important influence. Roy Acuff once worked medicine shows with Ashley, and Ashley probably taught him “House of the Rising Sun” (which Acuff recorded during 1938) and “Greenback Dollar.”[2] Folk musician Doc Watson began his recording career with Ashley in 1960 and played in Ashley’s band throughout much of the decade. Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia once said in an interview that he learned clawhammer picking from “listening to Clarence Ashley”. Other folk musicians influenced by Ashley include Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and Jean Ritchie.[2](Continue Reading…)

Here are versions of “The Cuckoo” by John Renbourn and Doc Watson. It’s possible that Ashley plays on Watson’s version. The English folk song has quite a history.

Our New Things: Links to Music Sites and Info on Analog Tech and Vinyl

TDMB has focused on music and musicians. We will continue to do that, of course. We're also expanding our coverage to include vinyl and analog equipment.

More specifically, we'll look at this huge and interesting world from the perspective of music lovers who want a better experience, not committed non-audiophiles.

Check out is some of what we've written so far:

-- Assessing the Value of Vinyl Records: An Overview

-- 7 Quick Tips on Optimizing Your Turntable Cartridge

-- Why Vinyl Records Continue to Thrive

-- Finding the Best Amplifier

-- Finding the Best Phono Preamp

-- What Speakers Do I Need for My Turntable?

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The site also is home to The Internet Music Mapping Project, an effort to list and describe as many music-related sites as possible.

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--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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