White country blues artist Doc Boggs was born in 1898 in Norton, Virginia, where he learned to play the banjo at age 12 and worked in the nearby mines from his teenage years on. Heavily influenced by black musicians and the vaudeville tradition, his banjo picking style was unusual in those days and among the many old-time recordings during the 1920s maybe the most unique. In 1927, he auditioned for Brunswick to make it as a recording artist.
Reportedly, he drank one bottle of whiskey to calm himself down because he was so nervous to play in front of the label managers. However, he received a contract and recorded eight tunes in New York City that year, including "Danville Girl", "Down South Blues" or the melancholic "New Prisoner's Song". He kept on playing on a regional basis and cut some tunes for the tiny Lonesome Ace label owned by Harry Meyer. Recording sessions with OKeh and Victor somehow never happened. In the 1940s and 1950s, Boggs returned to a regular day job and went out of the music business. Due to the folk revival in the 1960s, he was rediscovered by musician Mike Seeger and returned to the stage, appearing on several folk festivals and recording new material for Folkways. Dock Boggs died in 1971 in hsi hometown Norton.
Here are three tunes by Boggs:
1. Country Blues
2. Down South Blues
3. Pretty Polly