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Buell Kazee playing the Dying Soldier

By Kenneth Rainey. Filed under: Audio, TweedBlog. Tags: , , ,

Buell Kazee’s recording career is not dissimmilar to that of other pioneers of old-time country music. He recorded extensively in the late 1920s, but his recording career did not survive the Great Depression. Inclusion in Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music helped rekindle interest in his work, and he resumed recording and performing after an almost 30-year absence. His postwar career included recordings for Folkways, and a performance at the Newport Folk Festival.

He was an unusually good ballad singer, with a smooth and expressive voice. Kazee’s frailed banjo accompaniment is also impressive.

Interestingly, the titular Dying Soldier is a Yankee, having been laid low by a Southern ball. Kazee was a Baptist preacher, and I suspect the text’s emphasis on redemption and the afterlife had a great deal of appeal to him.

This is an unissued side, recorded for the Brunswick company in January, 1928.

The Dying Soldier (MP3)

Courtesy of