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Collection Number: 04756

Collection Title: Red Clay Ramblers Papers, 1970s-1990s

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size About 225 items (1.0 linear feet).
Abstract The Red Clay Ramblers began in 1972 as a trio of musicians who had been playing in and around Chapel Hill, N.C. Personnel has included Tommy Thompson, banjo, guitar, vocals (1972-1994); Jim Watson, mandolin, guitar, vocals (1972-1986); Bill Hicks, fiddle, vocals (1972-1981); Clay Buckner, fiddle, vocals (1980- ); Mike Craver, piano, vocals (1973-1986); Bland Simpson, piano, vocals (1986- ); Jack Herrick, bass, horns, vocals (1976- ); and Chris Frank, piano, guitar, accordion, horns, vocals (1987- ). Over the years, they have released numerous albums, gone on U.S. State Department-sponsored tours, collaborated with Sam Shepard on plays and films, and had several successful off-Broadway runs. The collection contains materials, 1970s-1990s, chiefly relating to the Red Clay Ramblers' musical performances and theatrical presentations. Included are programs, newspaper reviews, and publicity posters from Hot Grog: A Tuneful Pirate Saga; Life on the Mississippi; The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas; A Lie of the Mind; Far North; Sam Shepard's Silent Tongue; Fool Moon; and Kudzu: A Southern Musical. Also included are drafts of the musical Diamond Studs: The Life of Jesse James by Jim Wann and Bland Simpson, along with materials relating to its performances; a manuscript and call sheet for Silent Tongue; a scrapbook with materials relating to Bland Simpson's Southern States Fidelity Choir, Diamond Studs, and other works; a radio script for The Last Song of John Proffit, an historical play by Tommy Thompson based upon the life Dan Emmett and his interactions with the Snowdens, an African-American family from Ohio, which touches on the development of the banjo, the culture surrounding minstrel shows, and the interaction between Anglo-American and African-American musicians; photographs documenting Ramblers' musical and theatrical activities; biographies and venue lists created for promotional purposes; and correspondence, primarily between Bland Simpson and theater companies about performances.
Creator Red Clay Ramblers.
Language English.
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Restrictions to Access
This collection contains additional materials that are not processed and are currently not available to researchers. For information about access to these materials, contact Research and Instructional Services staff. Please be advised that preparing unprocessed materials for access can be a lengthy process.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Provenance
Received from Bland Simpson of Chapel Hill, N.C., in May 1995 (Acc. 95065), October 1998 (Acc. 98211), August 1999 (Acc. 98424), and September 1999 (Acc. 98447).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

The Red Clay Ramblers began in 1972 as a trio of musicians who had been playing in and around Chapel Hill, N.C. Personnel has included Tommy Thompson, banjo, guitar, vocals (1972-1994); Jim Watson, mandolin, guitar, vocals (1972-1986); Bill Hicks, fiddle, vocals (1972-1981); Clay Buckner, fiddle, vocals (1980- ); Mike Craver, piano, vocals (1973-1986); Bland Simpson, piano, vocals (1986- ); Jack Herrick, bass, horns, vocals (1976- ); and Chris Frank, piano, guitar, accordion, horns, vocals (1987- ).

In 1973, the Ramblers released their first album and joined forces with a band known as the Southern States Fidelity Choir to create the musical Diamond Studs: The Life of Jesse James, which, after a successful run in Chapel Hill, moved off-Broadway the following year. The Ramblers collaborated with the Southern States Fidelity Choir again in 1982 when they provided the music for Tommy Thompson and Choir member Bland Simpson's dramatization of Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi.

The Ramblers returned to off-Broadway in 1985 when they provided the music for Sam Shepard's play A Lie of the Mind. The Ramblers collaborated two more times with Shepard, providing the score for his 1988 film, Far North, and playing a medicine show band in his 1993 film, Silent Tongue. When the Ramblers celebrated their 20th anniversary in 1992, they had released twelve albums, gone on three United States State Department-sponsored tours, and performed with critically-acclaimed artists Shawn Colvin and Michelle Shocked.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

Materials, 1970s-1990s, chiefly relating to the Red Clay Ramblers' musical performances and theatrical presentations. Included are programs, newspaper reviews, and publicity posters from Hot Grog: A Tuneful Pirate Saga; Life on the Mississippi; The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas; A Lie of the Mind; Far North; Sam Shepard's Silent Tongue; Fool Moon; and Kudzu: A Southern Musical. Also included are drafts of the musical Diamond Studs: The Life of Jesse James by Jim Wann and Bland Simpson, along with promotional materials and newspaper clippings relating to its performances; a manuscript and call sheet for Silent Tongue; a scrapbook with materials relating to Bland Simpson's Southern States Fidelity Choir, Diamond Studs, and other works; a radio script for The Last Song of John Proffit, an historical play by Tommy Thompson based upon the life Dan Emmett and his interactions with the Snowdens, an African-American family from Ohio, which touches on the development of the banjo, the culture surrounding minstrel shows, and the interaction between Anglo-American musicians and African-American musicians; photographs documenting Ramblers' musical and theatrical activities; biographies and venue lists created for promotional purposes; and correspondence, primarily between Bland Simpson and theater companies about performances.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Papers, 1970s-1990s.

About 175 items.

Materials chiefly relating to the Red Clay Ramblers' musical performances and theatrical presentations. Included are programs, newspaper reviews, and publicity posters from Hot Grog: A Tuneful Pirate Saga; Life on the Mississippi; The Merry Wives of Windsor, Texas; A Lie of the Mind; Far North; Sam Shepard's Silent Tongue; Fool Moon; and Kudzu: A Southern Musical. Also included are drafts of the musical Diamond Studs: The Life of Jesse James by Jim Wann and Bland Simpson, along with promotional materials and newspaper clippings relating to its performances; a manuscript and call sheet for Silent Tongue; a scrapbook with materials relating to Bland Simpson's Southern States Fidelity Choir, Diamond Studs, and other works; a radio script for The Last Song of John Proffit, an historical play by Tommy Thompson based upon the life Dan Emmett and his interactions with the Snowdens, an African-American family from Ohio, which touches on the development of the banjo, the culture surrounding minstrel shows, and the interaction between Anglo-American musicians and African-American musicians; photographs documenting Ramblers' musical and theatrical activities; biographies and venue lists created for promotional purposes; and correspondence, primarily between Bland Simpson and theater companies about performances.

Folder 1

Biographical and performance information #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 1

Folder 2

Correspondence, 1978-1981 #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 2

Folder 3

Diamond Studs: Manuscript, 1975 #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 3

Folder 4

Diamond Studs: Manuscript, August 1986 #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 4

Folder 5-6

Folder 5

Folder 6

Diamond Studs: Manuscripts, undated #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 5-6

Folder 7

Diamond Studs: Newspaper clippings. #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 7

Folder 8

Diamond Studs: Promotional materials (see also V-4756/S-1) #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 8

Folder 9

The Last Song of John Proffit, ca. 1995 #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 9

Folder 10-12

Folder 10

Folder 11

Folder 12

Newspaper clippings #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 10-12

Folder 13-16

Folder 13

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Promotional materials #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 13-16

Folder 17

V-4756/S-1: Scrapbook containing flyers from performances of the Southern States Fidelity Choir with newspaper articles and Diamond Studs publicity posters #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 17

Folder 18

Silent Tongue: Manuscript and call sheet, 1992 #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 18

Folder 19

Miscellaneous #04756, Series: "1. Papers, 1970s-1990s. " Folder 19

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Pictures, ca. 1975-1988.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Items Separated

Items separated include oversize papers (OP-4756), a scrapbook (V-4756/S-1), and photographs (P-4756).

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