Field Recordings, Dr. Cratis Williams

Listed below are the ballad song variants performed by Dr. Cratis Williams for Dr. W. Amos Abrams, now presented as part of the Dr. W. Amos Abrams Collection.

Cratis D. Williams (1911-1985) was born in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and was the first to go from the one-room elementary school in Caines Creek in Lawrence County to the high school in Louisa, the county seat. He attended Cumberland College, the University of Kentucky, and received his doctorate from New York University. He came to Appalachian State Teachers College in 1942 and in 1958 became dean of the graduate school that now is named for him, a position he held until 1975. He served briefly as acting chancellor and in later years was special assistant to the chancellor.

Dr. Cratis Williams 1968

Cratis's life was spent in dedication to the rich narrative historical, and musical traditions of Appalachia. The symposium held upon his retirement in 1976 was a catalyst for formation of the primary scholarly association of the region, the Appalachian Studies Association. He is recognized as “Mister Appalachia” and the “Complete Mountaineer.”


The recordings are listed in alphabetical order by song title. For several songs multiple variants are listed, each providing a unique version of the song.