This is a guest post by recent AFC intern, Riley Calcagno, who spent the month of January 2018 working on recordings by Robert Winslow Gordon that date back to the mid-1920s.
Index item from AFC 1928/003 â North Carolina Manuscripts collection. Photo by Riley Calcagno.
In the fall of 1925, Robert Winslow Gordon set up a tent in the mountains outside Asheville, North Carolina. Determined to document the music of the region, he used a wax cylinder recorder stored in the back of his Ford Sedan. He would go on to record 298 songs & fiddle tunes in the region. Gordon gained entrance to the white Appalachian music community of the Asheville area by seeking out & meeting the well-known singer Bascom Lunsford, whom he accompanied into the surrounding counties to meet & record people like Ada Moss, Samantha Bumgarner, W.E. Bird, G.S. Robinson, and many others. Some of these artists were recorded again, but for other people their appearance in this collection is their only moment of documentation.
This past January I will am Â spent good parts of my days transcribing notes from the recordings of the Gordon cylinders, keying in bits of phrases of the songs, & turning the volume up on the…