Frank Proffitt

Decades Active: 1960s 2000s


Frank Noah Proffitt, 1913, Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, USA, d. 24 November 1965. Proffitt was a tobacco farmer, part-time carpenter, singer, guitarist, banjo player, dulcimer player and song collector. He is mainly remembered for ‘Tom Dooley’ made popular by the Kingston Trio and Frank Warner. This song appears onFrank Proffitt Of Reese, North Carolina, and was ‘collected’ by Frank Warner from Proffitt in 1938. It was only one of over a hundred songs that the Warners collected from Proffitt. During lean times on the farm, he worked in a spark plug factory, in Toledo, Ohio, and even on road construction. He also made and sold mountain dulcimers and fretless banjos. Proffitt’s acknowledged importance lies in his collection of the traditional material of America, in particular North Carolina. Many of the songs were picked up from his father, Wiley Proffitt, and his aunt Nancy Prather. Many were sung while working in the fields, and Frank...

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