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Clayton, Paul


The late singer of traditional folk music was heavily influenced in the pre-Dylan Sixties.

Paul Clayton

From Ed:

Paul Clayton was born Paul Clayton Worthington in 1931 (not 1933)

In 1949, Arthur Kyle Davis, Jr. edited and published Folk-Songs of
Virginia: A Descriptive Index and Classification. Otherwise, Society
activities appear to have been at their lowest ebb during World War II
and for a number of years following. By the mid-1950s, however, Davis,
with the help of students George Walton Williams, Matthew Joseph
Bruccoli and Paul Clayton Worthington, pursued further collecting
possibilities and began efforts to make taped copies of the earlier
aluminum disk recordings. With the assistance of the aforementioned
students, Davis also published More Traditional Ballads of Virginia in

Attending graduate school in business at the University of Virginia,
William Marburg formed a trio called the Dixie Mountain Boys with
folksingers Paul Clayton and Dave Sadler, adopting the stage name Bill
Clifton.  In 1952, the group made their first recordings and enjoyed
some regional success. The trio then added banjoist Johnny Clark and
began playing more traditional bluegrass music. After signing with
Blue Ridge Records, they appeared on the Wheeling Jamboree radio
barn-dance program.

George Foss (1932 - 2002): 
"I was first presented the opportunity to do some first hand
collecting by Roger Abrahams, now professor of folklore and literature
at the University of Texas (now at the University of Pennsylvania),
and the late Paul Clayton Worthington, folk singer, collector, and
recording artist who stayed between engagements in a small rebuilt log
cabin in Brown's Cove. It was in Brown's Cove that I first heard folk
songs, ballads and tales from Marybird McAllister. In company with
Roger and Paul, I would listen far into the night recording what
seemed an endless stream of tunes and stories on a small portable tape
recorder. My trips to Brown's Cove became frequent, whenever time off
from my symphony playing and teaching would permit, and I began to
meet and record others in the area. It was Professor Davis who was
Paul Clayton Worthington's teacher at the University during the 1950's
and inspired Paul's interest in balladry and folksong."

Paul Clayton cabin
Paul Clayton's cabin: VIRGINIA FIELD RECORDINGS IN THE ARCHIVE OF FOLK CULTURE Library of Congress avaialbale on CD-R: AFS 11, 305: One tape including Virginia folksongs recorded by Paul Clayton Worthington ca. 1955. AFS 11,866-11,868: Three 10-inch tapes of Mary Bird McAllister recorded at Brown's Cove by Paul Clayton Worthington and George Foss, 1958-59. (Six hours)

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 1995 13:44:16 GMT From: eddie at (Ed Ricardo) Subject: Re: David Blue (XREF from Folk Music DJ Mailing List)
Ron Mura wrote: : ]From MREGENS at VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA Tue Feb 7 13:04:48 1995 : ]To: FOLKDJ-L at PSUVM.PSU.EDU : ]Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 08:03:34 -0500 : ]From: Mike Regenstreif Ckut Montreal [MREGENS at VAX2.CONCORDIA.CA] : ]Subject: Re: David Blue : ] The Joni Mitchell song "Blue" is written about him and I've seen : ]explanations of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue," that say that : ]that song is also about him.
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue is more commonly assumed to be related to Paul Clayton. You will recall Bob Dylan's guest appearance at a Paul Clayton concert at The Showboat Lounge in Washington on 24 September 1961? Any Washington readers able to trace any newspaper coverage of this event, even an advertisement for it? I would say listening to Paul Clayton is essential for anyone interested in significant influences on Bob Dylan's work. Would EDLIS' Song Influences agent Seth Kulick agree or disagree? Days of Mobey Dick Tradition 1005 Folk Tales & Songs Tradition 1011 Whaling Songs Stinson 69 Home-Made Songs & Ballads Monument 4001 Bloody Ballads Riverside 12-615 Unholy Matrimony Elektra 147 Burns's Merry Muses of Caledonia Elektra 155 2 cuts on Our Singing Heritage Elektra EKL-151 Dulcimer Songs and Solos Folkways FG 3571 Timber-r-r-r. Lumberjack Folksongs and Ballads Riverside 12-648 would get you started. If anyone cares to do a proper full discography of Paul Clayton online EDLIS would happily keep such a file for enquirers. Paul Clayton wrote Gotta Travel On, one of the three top singles of 1959 as recorded by Billy Grammer [not Gammer]. Anyone still living who can recall this from the time? :-) So you have heard a Paul Clayton song on Self Portrait at least. Anyone with even a superficial interest in The Rolling Thunder Revue will recall the song (though anyone restricting themselves to Columbia/Sony legitimate product will have missed it, like so much else...). To get you started listen to Home-Made Songs & Ballads (Monument 4001) and see if you recognise any influences on Bob Dylan: Who's Goin' To Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?
It ain't no use to sit and sigh now, darlin, And it ain't no use to sit and cry now, T'ain't no use to sit and wonder why, darlin, Just wonder who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone. So times on the railroad gettin' hard, babe, I woke up last night and saw it snow, Remember what you said to me last summer When you saw me walkin' down that road. So I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, You're the one that made me travel on, But still-I-can't-help wonderin' on my way, Who's gonna buy you ribbons when I'm gone?
Paul Clayton recorded that in 1960. Bob Dylan wrote Don't Think Twice It's Alright in 1962. You can hear an early version on the Second Gaslight Tape, Gaslight Cafe, New York City, New York, late 1962. [030] This is available on obvious bootleg CDs but also on the Bootleg Series (1991). Now the venue chosen to play this song is interesting. Paul Clayton was banned from the Gaslight! Many have thought this was the Gaslight Cafe in New York City but it turns out it was t he Gaslight in Charlottesville, Virginia. The banning was something to do with pederasty and was taken quite seriously by the proprietor. I think I am correct in saying Paul Clayton died on 30 March 1967? Does anyone have a copy of Gingerbreadd Mindd? And is Clayton Wilbury [aka Jeff Lynne] connected in some way? American Songs of Revolutionary Times: "Paul Clayton was born in the great whaling port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he early became interested in folksongs through those that were traditional in his family. By the time he was 15, he was presenting a series of radio programs on folkmusic, and has since appeared on radio and television programs in England, Canada and Cuba, as well as in the United States. He has made numerous recording trips through the southern mountains, as well as other areas of the United States and Europe. He has made several commercial recordings of folksongs in addition to having recorded for the archives of the Flanders Ballad Collection, Middlebury College, Vermont, the BBC collection, and the Archive of American Folksong at the Library of Congress. At present he is editing a volume of folksongs of Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina, for publication by The Folklore Press in 1957" Paul Clayton discography ( Paul Clayton Discography (

Thanks to Rey Barry for clarification in 2007 about the Gaslight in Charlottesville above.

Paul Clayton (Wikipedia)

COLTMAN, B. (2008). Paul Clayton and the folksong revival. Lanham, Md, Scarecrow Press. (WorldCat)

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Library Archives and Special Collections Paul Clayton (1931-1967) Papers, 1937-1967 Manuscript Collection-MC 4: pdf

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