Appalachia Music


“Karl [Davis] and Harty [Taylor] recorded the song [“Kentucky”] first in January 1941 for the Columbia label, and the record was especially popular with lonely southern servicemen who found themsleves thousands of miles from the land they loved. But in 1947 the Blue Sky Boys (the Bolick Brothers) recorded the song, and it really became a bestseller, reportedly running up sales of almost half a million copies; it has since been recorded by dozens of country singers, including later Kentucky groups like the Osborne Brothers and the Everly Brothers. On the strength of its beauty, and its popularity, Karl Davis [who wrote the song] was made a Kentucky Colonel in 1970. It was one of the few tokens of recognition he received in later life for his immense contributions to country music.” (Charles Wolfe, Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1982, p. 56)

Pap and Paul have been singing the song Kentucky for many years. Pap says we try to do to many songs-but we all agree there’s just so many songs out there that need doing!

As we add new songs to our repertoire, some of the old standbys inadvertently fall by the wayside. A few weeks ago, Paul and Pap pulled Kentucky out of their hats and dusted it off to see if they could still do that high sweet harmony. Turns out they could.

The quote at the beginning of this post mentions the variety of performers who have recorded the song Kentucky over the years. My personal favorite is The Louvin Brothers-but a mighty close second would be Pap and Paul’s version. Hope you enjoyed the song.


*Source: Charles Wolfe, Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky, University Press of Kentucky, 1982, p. 56

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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Pap and Paul,
    Great job on this song. I loved it! The harmony and music was outstanding. I guess you will put it on the play list, I hope!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    October 7, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Really enjoyed it. Outstanding job on this one.

  • Reply
    Annette Hensley
    October 7, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Wow! The vocals and guitar absolutely knocked my socks off!! Have to admit that I was so intrigued with the music the first time around that I had to listen a second time to pay attention to the words.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    October 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Paul and Pap really made Kentucky
    sound good, with harmony that
    would make the Louvin Brothers
    I just got back from the Folk
    School Festival, enjoyed meeting
    everyone again. Lots of good singing before The Pressley Girls took the stage, but their harmony just touches my heart. I might have teared up a bit if I hadn’t been sitting beside a pretty woman. And thanks for introducing
    me to another of your Acorns,
    Judy Mincey from Calhoun, Ga.
    Had a great time!…Ken

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    October 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Great version! I have an older recording of this, by Grandpa & Ramona Jones. I always have liked this song.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    I grew up hearing “Kentucky”. I sing it outloud sometimes when there ain’t nobody in earshot or if I’ve got the lawnmower running.
    I have heard a bunch of people sing it but there ain’t none uv ’em that does it better than Pap and Paul.

  • Reply
    Susie Swanson
    October 6, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Beautiful. i like pap and Paul’s version so much better then any of them. I got my books in this week.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    As usual, Pap and Paul just blow me away by their talent. Really enjoyed this version and will listen to it again and again. They have made me very “Kentucky Proud!”

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

    The groups before them made money singing that song, but Pap and Paul did it better than any of them.

  • Reply
    Lola Howard
    October 6, 2013 at 9:35 am

    The best ones I have heard singing it .Thanks for putting it on here.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    October 6, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Lovely! Spot on harmony. Hope to see you later today

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    October 6, 2013 at 8:51 am

    another new favorite that i overlooked until i heard this great version. too many people scream this song. very nice.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I really enjoyed listening to Pap and Paul’s presentation. I haven’t heard that song for a long, long time.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    October 6, 2013 at 7:24 am

    I truly enjoyed hearing Pap and Paul play and sing “Kentucky.” It had been a long time since I’d heard the song. They did a great job with both the “pickin’ and the singin'” and especially hitting those high notes! Wonderful. Thanks for bringing back some of these oldies from time to time!

  • Reply
    Dan O 'Connor
    October 6, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Never heard the song before. Pretty song well done! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

    Beautiful, and I have been waiting a long time for you guys to play this one. It was worth the wait. If I could play guitar I would play just like Paul!!!!
    Those lines, “I love your laurels and your redbud trees…” what a description of the mountains! THANKS, loved this.

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