Don’t hang down your head, Dr. Dooley

“It began to appear on the charts in late September [1958], and before Christmas [the Kingston Trio’s recording of ‘Tom Dooley’] hit No. 1.

“The public erroneously connected ‘Tom Dooley’ with Thomas A. Dooley, the Navy doctor recently in the news for his missionary and medical roles in Vietnam and Laos following the French defeat in 1954 [rather than with Tom Dula, the Wilkes County man hanged in 1868 for murdering his pregnant girlfriend].

“Dr. Dooley had published his story ‘Deliver Us from Evil,’  in 1956, helping fan the flames of Catholic anticommunism. Thus accidentally the trio reaped the fruits of anticommunism while drawing inspiration and songs from the [leftist] Weavers and Gateway Singers.”

— From  “Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society, 1940-1970” [2002]  by Ronald D. Cohen