There’s nothing like finding old music in your library and falling in love with a gem that was there all along. Imagine the elation of discovering a long-neglected set of tape reels from nearly 50 years ago only to realize they contain the only record of a performance given by folk singer, guitarist, and banjo player Roscoe Holcomb. Although it sounds too good to be true, it’s a matter of fact that KBOO Community Radio in Portland, Oregon, unearthed Holcomb’s 1972 performance from a pile of 1/4″ reels in the corner of their archives. Today, his concert at The Old Church in Portland provides a rare and unexpected glimpse of a musician heralded by the likes of Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton.
The music on these tapes, capturing a tour date while on the road with Mike Seeger, is far more spirited than the few other documented Holcomb shows, making this newly found collection a window into what could be considered the rural Kentucky musician’s creative peak. Jalopy Records and Mississippi Records have partnered to bring the seven songs from these reels back into circulation, with The Old Church available for streaming and download, as well as on vinyl.