Music lovers will soon be able to own rare audio history, thanks to a partnership between the Southern Folklife Collection (SFC) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Yep Roc Records, based in Hillsborough.
The SFC, part of the Wilson Special Collections Library, will create digital masters of rare archival recordings from its collections, which Yep Roc Records will produce, package and distribute.
The Southern Folklife Collection is one of the nation’s foremost archival resources for the study of American folk music and popular culture. SFC holdings extensively document all forms of southern musical and oral traditions across the entire spectrum of individual and community expressive arts, as well as mainstream media production. Centered around the John Edwards Memorial Collection, the SFC is especially rich in materials documenting the emergence of old-time, country-western, hillbilly, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel, rock and roll, Cajun and zydeco musics.
“Music lovers and researchers have long come to Chapel Hill to hear the unique recordings that are in the Southern Folklife Collection. Through this partnership, we are able to bring historic roots music to audiences around the world,” said Steve Weiss, director of the SFC.
The inaugural release— Dolly Parton’s first single, “Puppy Love”—is a 45-RPM with a B-side of “Girl Left Alone.” The limited edition run will be available exclusively in participating stores on April 22, Record Store Day. Subsequent releases will be available on compact disc, vinyl and from digital providers.
“Like a first love, a first record for a singer will always be remembered above all others,” said Parton. “Hopefully I’ve improved since I recorded ‘Puppy Love,’ so don’t laugh…just enjoy.”
The first three releases from the SFC/Yep Roc partnership include:
Dolly Parton: “Puppy Love” and “Girl Left Alone” (April 22)
Dolly Parton recorded “Puppy Love” for Goldband Records in 1959, when she was just 13. This edition is re-mastered from the original mono master tape. Packaging will include reproductions of the original Goldband record labels, housed in a picture sleeve featuring an early promotional photograph of Parton.
“Swampland Jewels” (Sept. 22)
A compilation of classic Cajun music from Goldband Records,“Swampland Jewels” features recordings by Jo-El Sonnier, Boozoo Chavis, Iry LeJune Jr. and Cleveland Crochet. Packaging features the original album art of a bikini-clad girl riding a giant crawfish, and includes the booklet “From the Bayou,” a history of Goldband Records by music writer Mike Leadbitter and Goldband Records founder Eddie Shuler.
Doc Watson: “Live at the Club 47” (Date TBA)
A newly discovered performance by Doc Watson, “Live at the Club 47” was recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963. This recording features unreleased songs from Watson’s early repertoire.
“This is an amazing opportunity for Yep Roc to work with Steve Weiss and the Southern Folklife Collection to help bring some incredible music to a worldwide audience of music fans,” said Glenn Dicker, co-owner and A&R for Yep Roc Records. “Walking through the vast archives for the first time to see, touch and, of course, hear what kinds of treasures are in the collection was a mind-blowing experience. Steve is doing a terrific job curating the collection and we’re honored to be part of the team.”