Mountain music man shattered expectations

“[Bascom Lamar Lunsford] turned out to be just the opposite of what I expected. He sings like an old mountain reprobate, full of glee and friendliness. He turned out to be a reactionary aristocrat. The first question he asked us was ‘Are you Communists?’ He claims that hundreds of Communists have been going around the country with tape recorders and collecting songs and using them for progressive causes.

“Telling him we were friends of Pete [Seeger] and Woody [Guthrie] and from New York didn’t help….”

— Folk singer Guy Carawan, recalling a 1953 visit to Asheville (as quoted in “Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940-1970” [2002]  by Ronald D. Cohen).