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Saturday November 26th

Southern Folklife looks ahead to release first single Dolly Parton ever dropped

“Puppy Love” will be the very first release from the new partnership between UNC’s Southern Folklife Collection and Yep Roc Records of Hillsborough.

Judy Panitch, the director of communications for UNC libraries, said the collection is housed in Wilson Library.

“They have one of the world’s leading collections of southern music and materials related to the folklife of the American south,” she said. “People come from all over the country and all over the world to do research here.”

The idea for the SFC and Yep Roc Records partnership began three years ago at a blues symposium, when Yep Roc approached collections curator, Steve Weiss, about a collaboration.

At the time, SFC had experience in partnerships, but were primarily UNC based.

SFC found Yep Roc attractive based on the record label’s experience. They previously worked on a tribute album to Arthur Russell and an accompanying soundtrack to Peter Guralnick’s book, “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Yep Roc’s previous collaborations are all one-time projects, but General Manager Billy Maupin said this is their first long-term project.

“We’re taking some things we’ve learned on some of these earlier partnerships and applying it to longer terms,” Maupin said. “This is more like a partnership where we’re going to be exploring and developing projects that exist in the archives.”

Weiss said that Yep Roc’s local base and experience with manufacturing and international distribution attracted the Southern Folklife Collection.

The main goal of the partnership is to release the collection’s rare recordings to make them more available to a larger, more diverse audience.

“We’re looking at ways to make things more accessible to a broader public and also just to get material that people haven’t heard yet out to music fans,” Weiss said.

The collaboration has sprung up at an appropriate time, Weiss said. Interest and consumption of vinyl records have gained renewed popularity in recent years.

“The way the music industry is going, I think there’s a lot of interest in reissues and archival material that people haven’t heard yet and also stuff that is from decades past,” he said. “Another trend, too, is archives are looking at ways of getting materials out to the public beyond the things that we do traditionally.”

From a technical standpoint, Yep Roc and SFC are working to select the highest quality source tapes to resemble the original sounds of the record, Maupin said.

“Culture’s moving very fast but some of these things are 50, 60, 70 years old. I think taking the time to do them and present them in the right way is a very cool project to be a part of,” Maupin said.

In addition to the Dolly Parton record, the partnership will release a compilation album of 1950s Cajun music called “Swampland Jewels,” and a rare 1963 performance recording of Doc Watson.

“It was a beautiful sounding recording and was Doc’s first performance in the Boston area as a solo musician. You know it’s 1963, the very beginning of his career, and he’s just in great form,” Weiss said.

Parton’s singles “Puppy Love” and “Girl Left Alone” will be released on this year’s 10th annual Record Store Day and produced for a limited time. The other two releases are likely to be double records and will be released later in the year, Weiss said.

But these three releases are only the beginning for the partnership.

“As long as it’s working for the collection and the University, and as long as it’s working for Yep Roc, there are a lot of interesting projects that can be explored for many years to come,” Maupin said.



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