Beech Mountain, NC: Jack Guy Audio Collection

Title

Beech Mountain, NC: Jack Guy Audio Collection

Description

Presented in collaboration with the North Carolina Folklife Institue, the Jack Guy Collection offers rare access -- through audio recordings, photography, and film -- to an extraordinary music community. Guy's collection of audio recordings, digitized here from the original reel-to-reel tapes, includes more than 200 individual performances by Beech Mountain musicians and by occasional visitors to the region.

Jack Dana Guy (1928 – 2008) was an entrepreneur and folklorist from Beech Mountain, North Carolina, a community globally renowned for its deep well of Appalachian traditions. In the 1960s he operated Guy’s Folk Toys, a business that allowed dozens of craftspeople from the North Carolina mountains to earn income by making and selling traditional toys and musical instruments. Operating his shop, Guy’s Trading Post, in a log cabin in Beech Creek, Jack also organized and hosted gatherings in which area artists performed and shared old-time, bluegrass, gospel, and country music, ballads, fiddle tunes, and folktales.

Like the folk hero Jack (star of the "Jack Tales" told for generations on Beech Mountain), Guy was a phenomenally resourceful man. Though he had little formal education, he became a well-known businessman who made both a positive impact on the lives of his neighbors and a crucial contribution to the perpetuation of his community’s traditional heritage. He also became the most prolific documentarian of Beech Mountain folklife: Guy's personal archive of audio recordings, photographs, and film presents the heritage of this small but important Appalachian region from the crucial perspective of a native son.

In 2016, the North Carolina Folklife Institute (NCFI) received a donation of more than 100 reel-to-reel tapes, more than 800 photographs, several films, and many other items that had belonged to Jack Guy. This collection offers a unique and intimate glimpse into early- to mid-20th-century life in a truly special cultural community. The original materials will all return home to Watauga County, North Carolina, to be preserved in the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University. Digitized copies of the music material will be preserved online here, in the Southern Music Research Center's digital archive.

Visitors to this site can select and play individual tracks or enjoy one of our playlists, organized by artist. Brief bios of many of this collection's key artists appear here. If you can help us identify any of the unidentified individuals in these recordings -- or if you have corrections or additions to any of our descriptions -- please contact burgin@southernmusicresearch.org. 

While you listen, be sure also to browse our extensive Jack Guy photo collection and film collection

Collection Items

The Jack Guy Collection contains more than 200 individual audio tracks by Beech Mountain musicians and other visitors to Jack Guy's store, digitized from the original reel-to-reel tapes. Browse or search the collection to hear individual…

Ora Isaacs Watson and Tab Ward perform "Lonesome Road Blues" at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s.

Jack Guy and Tab Ward perform "Tom Dula" / "Tom Dooley" at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s. Introduction by "Daniel Boone" of Boone, North Carolina's outdoor drama,Horn of the West.

Jack Guy demonstrates the limberjack toy while Tab Ward plays "Cripple Creek" on the banjo at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s.

"Daniel Boone" of Boone, North Carolina's Horn of the West outdoor drama introduces Jack Guy and Tab Ward.

Lonnie and Russell Ward perform "Tom Dooley" at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s. Introduction by Jack Guy.

Lonnie and Russell Ward perform "Home Sweet Home" with an unidentified guitarist at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s. Introduction by Jack Guy.

Robert Edwards, Russell Ward, and Charles Moody perform two tunes at the Appalachian Folk Festival, Greensboro, North Carolina, circa 1960s. Introduction by Joyce Elaine McNeil and "Daniel Boone."

Jack Guy interviews husband and wife Edd and Nettie Presnell; Nettie plays a duclimer created by Edd.

Jack Guy interviews husband and wife Edd and Nettie Presnell; Nettie plays a duclimer created by Edd.

Jack Guy interviews husband and wife Edd and Nettie Presnell; Nettie plays a duclimer created by Edd.

Jack Guy interviews husband and wife Edd and Nettie Presnell; Nettie plays a duclimer created by Edd.

Wayne Miller of Rich Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, plays the electric guitar.

Wayne Miller of Rich Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, plays the electric guitar.

Wayne Miller of Rich Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, plays the electric guitar.

Wayne Miller of Rich Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, plays the electric guitar.

Wayne Miller of Rich Mountain, Watauga County, North Carolina, plays the electric guitar.

Tab Ward of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, performs on a handmade banjo.

Tab Ward of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, performs on a handmade banjo.

Tab Ward of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, performs on a handmade banjo.
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