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Ledford, Lily Maylocked

(17 March 1917–14 July 1985)
  • Stephen M. Fry

Extract

Ledford, Lily May (17 March 1917–14 July 1985), folk music singer and musician, was born in the Red River Gorge, Powell County, Kentucky, the daughter of Daw White Ledford, a sharecropper tenant farmer, and Stella May Tackett. The Ledfords had fourteen children, of whom ten survived childhood. The family moved several times to farms within a few miles in the gorge and then around 1920 moved to a farm owned by Daw’s uncle in Chimney Top. Lily and her siblings, who sometimes made their own instruments, learned to sing hymns from their mother and to sing and play folk tunes on the fiddle, banjo, and guitar from their father, an accomplished amateur musician. Lily May seemed passionate about music and often stole away from her chores to practice. She attended a single-room schoolhouse a few miles from their home but dropped out in the eighth grade....

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