Cover

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Title Page, Frontispiece, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

This is not an “authorized” biography. Bill Clifton neither financed its production nor read it in manuscript. Except for admonitions that I should “tell it like it is,” he has not tried to shape the direction or tone of my remarks. Consequently, there are places where he will disagree with my conclusions...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-6

This journey into the life and music of Bill Clifton began back in the mid-1950s with my search for what I thought was “real” country music. I despaired of the music’s future, and of its gradual loss of identity. These anxieties arose in the wake of rock and roll’s emergence and of the stylistic dilutions...

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1. Discovering Country Music, 1931–1949

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pp. 7-28

William Augustus Marburg, known to the bluegrass music world as Bill Clifton, was born on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1931, in Riderwood, Maryland, an affluent suburb of Baltimore.1 His four older, adoring sisters—Mary Lynn, Frances, Martha, and Ann—probably thought of him as a gift from the...

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2. From the University of Virginia to the Starday Years, 1949–1963

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pp. 29-66

While Bill’s undistinguished academic experience in high school may have jinxed his efforts to get into a prestigious eastern college, he nevertheless succeeded in enrolling at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1949. This choice must have presented a pleasing “compromise” to his...

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3. Taking Old-Time Music to England, 1963–1970

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pp. 67-92

American country music was certainly not unknown in England before Bill Clifton arrived in 1963. A small but knowledgeable and enthusiastic community of fans and musicians were well aware of the music made by American country and bluegrass musicians. Hillbilly records in fact had arrived...

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4. A Renewed Commitment to Full-Time Music, 1970 and After

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pp. 93-126

Bill must have breathed a sigh of relief on his return to England in April 1970. The sojourn in the Philippines had been more frustrating than satisfying. The Peace Corps experience had been disillusioning, and his marriage had begun to disintegrate. Possibly wishing to replicate some of the cherished...

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Notes and Sources

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pp. 127-144

Bill Clifton’s recordings are out of print except for The Early Years, 1957–1958 (Rounder 1021), a compilation of his most important Starday recordings; Bill Clifton and the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band (British Academy of Country Music BACM D418), an album first recorded in...

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Discography

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pp. 145-148

Although Bill Clifton recorded as early as 1952, when he was a student at the University of Virginia, examples of his work did not appear on an album until 1960, when Starday released Mountain Folk Songs. The songs heard on this album were those that had exhibited considerable popularity...

Index

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pp. 149-170