In 1954, the CBS news magazine show, “The Search,” came to the University of Arkansas to meet with English professor and musicologist, Mary Celestia Parler. She was the Ozarks’ own Alan Lomax, wandering around in the backwoods and barbershops with a tape recorder, collecting long lost folk songs, much like her contemporary, Batesville native John Quincy Wolf.
Narrator Charles Romine gives it a bit of a “Twilight Zone” vibe and, really, it was a twilight zone — a place where centuries’ old songs were kept alive by the aging rural Ozark folks of Arkansas. Shown singing here is Mary Brisco of Berryville. The introduction in this short video, sadly, doesn’t take us far into the journey.