Friday, July 1, 2016

Front Page News! Reedys Recognized Then & Now

Mid-year is an auspicious time to share some Reedy news, both old and new, and to acknowledge the various audiences who continue to appreciate Frances and John's music. Some discoveries are old news in new formats, some provide exact dates for documents we already had, one is a new mystery to solve, and one is a new acknowledgement of our ongoing work on the documentary project. 

We previously mentioned an article about them in the Corbin Times-Tribune, which was among the many artifacts and mementos that Frances collected that we digitally scanned and archived. We knew the article was written around 1975 when John's song, "Somebody Touched Me" was included on the Early Days of Bluegrass, Vol. 1 compilation album (Rounder Records 1013). However, we recently discovered that this article was actually front page news on June 30, 1975!
Historic newspapers are increasingly being digitized and made available online through projects like the Library of Congress Chronicling America Project, which provides free access to papers published from 1896-1922. However, some more recent newspapers are currently only available through paid subscriptions services like, so we can only post a low-resolution screenshot of the full front page where the Reedy article appeared 41 years ago. 

Even without full access, is still a valuable resource for dating and contextualizing loose news clippings. For example, another search resulted in both the particular newspaper (Middlesboro Daily News) and the date of publication (May 21, 1949) for a WCPM radio show schedule that fellow grassroots music researcher Matt Baker shared with us several years ago.

We recently posted a couple of postings related to copyright entries for songs written by Frances and John. We almost overlooked an entry for an unrecorded and otherwise undocumented song that was right under our noses in the January-June 1962 Catalog of Copyright Entries for Music. The entry (p. 324) credits "John Reedy & Francis Reedy" for writing the words and music to a song entitled, "Miracle of Modern Ages," which Timi had never heard of before!
We currently have no other reference to this song, and there is no other documentation of it that we are aware of. So we will plan to check in with some folks about whether there might be at least a copy of the lyrics if not a recording for the song. We will post any new findings as we follow this unexpected lead...
In more recent news, we learned that our blog is featured among the sample projects created by Kentucky Community Scholars on the newly updated website for the Kentucky Arts Council (KAC), which is now the primary center for the program. Last August, we had the pleasure of seeing Mark Brown, the KAC Folk and Traditional Arts Director who now coordinates the Community Scholars Program, at the It's Good to Be Young in the Mountains (IG2BYITM) conference in Harlan. Tammy participated in the IG2BYITM workshop offered by Mark and Sarah Schmitt, the KAC Community Arts and Access Program Director, and they emphasized that the point of community scholar projects is to “make it do something.” We are grateful to be part of the network of more than 200 Community Scholars in Kentucky and are honored that our documentary project is included on the new KAC webpage.

Reedy Readers Around the U.S.
We would like to close with a shout out to all of the people who have searched for and/or visited our blog since we created it almost seven years ago. In the past, we have posted on what we have learned about our audience through various website analytics tools. Since we began tracking website traffic on February 1, 2010, we have documented visitors from the District of Columbia and all 50 States as well as 106 other countries around the world! Almost 27% of these are returning visitors, and based on keywords and search terms that people use to find our blog, it serves as a reference resource for people who are interested in the Reedys as well as their contemporaries. Thanks to everyone who continues to visit the site. We'd love to hear from you!

Reedy Readers Around the World!