The Story
The Performers
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This page is a work in progress so please check back. Little is know about some of the performers, so anyone with information about those mentioned below is encouraged to contact the site developer.

Jack Bailey The collector noted that Jack Bailey began is Saturday night spree about 3 p.m. and had passed out in a cordner when I came in to set up the machine. He awoke later and consented to record. He sang on and on, his enunciation none too clear; but it is a lovely long, Robertson Cowell said of the tune, My Parents Loved me Tenderly.

Mr. Barker Mr. Barker picked Sour Mountain and Cripple Creek on the five-string banjo.

Leizime Brusoe Leizime Brusoe recorded eleven French-Canadian fiddle tunes. [ More information to come. ]

Bud Faulkner Bud Faulkner, the barkeeper at Robbin's Bar in Crandon, recorded six tunes during the summer of 1937, including a temperance song that condemned those who gave them their drinks. He accompanied himself on the banjo.

Warde H. Ford Warde Ford was member of the Ford-Walker family of singers. In the liner notes to Wolf River Songs [Folkways 1956], Sidney Robertson Cowell estimated the family's repertory included about 140 titles, "some comparatively rare Childs ballads, lumber camp ballads and songs of the sea, along with many love songs, (most of them not long from Ireland ), ditties made up to suit special occasions, and stage and minstrel songs.

Ford began recording for the government in 1937 while working in the northwoods of Wisconsin . He had moved to Crandon from New York State and spent until his 30s as a woodsman. He had a keen memory and could sometimes recite a song after hearing it only once. Robertson's 1937 recordings of Ford would mark the beginning of a fifteen-year folksong relationship that would go on at intervals in Wisconsin , California , and in Berlin , Germany . Robertson estimates that she recorded around 200 songs from Ford, at least two-thirds of them long ballads about historical events.

In the late 1930s he moved to California with his family to work on the Shasta Dam, and in the mid-1940s he joined the Army. In Wolf River Songs , Cowell writes that Ford has occasionally sung popular songs with a crowd or with a guitar-playing friend, but when he sings the family songs, he sings alone and unaccompanied. This is a wholly vocal tradition, not an instrumental one.

Additional recordings and at least one photograph of Ford can be found through the The WPA California Folk Music Project created by the Library of Congress.

A.J. Ford Arthur J. Ford of Laona , Wis. , was Warde Ford's brother and recorded also on Wolf River Songs .

Charles Spencer Charles Spencer moved his family from Kentucky to Wisconsin to follow the lumber industry. At the time of the recordings, Spencer was 64 years old, the father of Clyde Spencer, dairyman of Crandon. Charles Spencer had taught singing school for many years in the Kentucky mountains.

Clyde Spencer Son of Charles Spencer, Clyde was a dairyman. He sang "Jack and Joe," about a woman named Nell who was with Jack, and "The Boys in Blue," a tune about soldiers going off to war, among other tunes.

Rosa Spencer She sang "The was a Rich Man" and "Parting Song" with her husband, Charles Spencer.

Robert Walker Born in 1883, Walker worked in the woods every winter of his life until he retired in 1955.