Ashley Clarence

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  • Ashley Clarence - Country Music Pioneer 4 CD Boxset (CD)


    This box set documents the work of a master performer, who travelled widely and obsessively collected material wherever he could. It’s an essential record of a culture so changed as to be almost unrecognisable.

    Clarence Ashley initially recorded in the 1920s. His last pre-war recordings were made in the early 1930s and would not record again until the folk revival of the 1960s. As the 1930s wore on, he continued  in music, playing medicine shows, sometimes in the company of Roy Acuff.  He also worked with the likes of Charlie Monroe and the Stanley Brothers.  

    His background was in medicine shows. By the age of sixteen he had joined one, mainly as a musician but also as a ‘warm-up’ comedian.

    All his life he collected numerous songs which eventually comprised a vast repertoire. Two songs often associated with him are The Coo Coo Bird and The House Carpenter.  There are many recordings of Coo Coo, but somehow Clarence Ashley’s performance is seen as definitive. The House Carpenter has English origins, but many of his famous performances, like Rising Sun Blues are out-and-out American. Another of his collected songs, Old John Hardy, he learned from a Mrs. Ellie Johnson in 1916. John Hardy was executed in January 1894 for killing a man in a crap game for twenty-five cents.  

    In total, this is a selection of some of the finest examples of old time music cut in the genre’s golden era. 

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