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The Blue Sky Boys In Concert 1964

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Editors’ Notes

The high-lonesome hillbilly spirituals waxed in the ‘30s and ‘40s by the North Carolina sibling harmony duo The Blue Sky Boys stand with the early recordings of The Stoneman Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and The Carter Family as foundational documents of American country music. Yet for all of their popularity during their heyday, The Blue Sky Boys didn't make any concert recordings until October 1964, when folklorist Archie Green captured this 22-song performance at the University of Illinois’ Lincoln Hall. The Bolick brothers are in particularly fine form throughout this remarkable set. They offer spine-chillingly crystalline renditions of some of their best-known numbers, as well as interpretations of traditional songs made famous by other artists. Their solemn, near-spectral version of The Carter Family’s “Worried Man Blues” is one of the finest renditions ever performed, while elsewhere listeners will be delighted to hear The Blue Sky Boys tackle secular numbers like the sentimental “After the Ball.”


Formed: 1936 in Hickory, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s

In the '30s, brother duets were common in country music: Among the better known were the Monroes, the Delmores, the Dixons, and the Carlisles. Bill and Earl Bolick, who in 1936 were ready to make their first recording, followed their producer's suggestion that they should be different by avoiding the word "brother." From "Blue Ridge Mountains, Land of the Sky" they took two words and named their act. But the Bolicks would have been different without the new name. Their intricate yet simple harmonies,...
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