Buell Kazee


29 August 1900, Burton Fork, Magoffin County, Kentucky, USA, d. 31 August 1976. Kazee, a banjo-playing minister, has been described as ‘the greatest white male folk singer in the United States’. Charles Wolfe considered him the ‘epitome of the Kentucky mountain songster... a high, tight, ‘lonesome’ voice, accompanied only by a banjo ‘geared’ to unusual tunings’. Kazee started learning songs from his parents and first played banjo at the age of five. During his time at Georgetown College, where he studied for a ministerial career, he developed a keen interest in old English ballads. He also took lessons from a professional tenor and on graduating in 1925, he gave concerts of folk music. Accompanied by a pianist, and dressed in tie and tails, he played banjo and guitar, sang songs and lectured on music at important venues. In 1927, he went to Brunswick Records’ New York studio where, in his trained tenor style, he first...

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