Hidden Fame and the Genius in the Song: The Ninety Years of Bascom Lamar Lunsford and 'I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground.'

Greil Marcus

Time:6:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Location:Ford Auditorium, Allen Memorial Medical Library - 11000 Euclid Avenue
Registration:Registration is Closed. Click HERE to view the Event Video.

Author, journalist and cultural critic Greil Marcus's talk focuses on Bascom Lamar Lunsford. Unknown to the nation and the world at large, Bascom Lamar Lunsford (1882-1973) of Turkey Creek, North Carolina, was for much of the 20th century a giant in the realm of American folklore. In 1930 he founded the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, which continues to this day; he recorded hundreds of songs for the Library of Congress and performed in the White House for Franklin D. Roosevelt and King George V. And yet his deepest legacy may be a disappearing act: his immersion in a song that he recorded obsessively, over and over again. "I wish I was a mole in the ground," he sang in the 1920s, the '30s, '40s, the '50s, the '60s; his most lasting fame will rest on how completely, as an artist, he realized his desire and passed on a mystery that, today, performers from Marianne Faithfull to Blixa Bargeld to Eliza Carty, to mention only a few of the singers who have recorded the song in recent years, are still trying to solve.

About the speakers

Greil Marcus

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Clark Hall

Baker-Nord Center

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