Bob Nelson Collection of Folk Music

The Col­lec­tion, which spans over 60 years of music mak­ing, includes hun­dreds of record­ings made by dozens of  musi­cians in and around the Pacific North­west. From “hoots” and liv­ing room jams, to radio broad­casts to fes­ti­val con­certs, these record­ings reflect Nelson’s life­long com­mit­ment to music mak­ing, lis­ten­ing, and col­lect­ing. As he notes, “What you will hear in this col­lec­tion of music is an audio his­tory of the folk music I have been around all my life. These record­ings all came from the hoots, small gath­er­ings, jam ses­sions, live con­certs and prac­tice ses­sions of many friends. These were not com­mer­cial qual­ity record­ing made in stu­dios by audio engi­neers. Instead they mostly come from cheap tape recorders sit­ting on cof­fee tables in var­i­ous liv­ing rooms and kitchens. A few record­ings were made in radio and TV broad­cast stu­dios, or on the occa­sional con­cert stages where the audio equip­ment was bet­ter. What you hear is what you get.”

Nel­son recorded many of the artists fea­tured here (him­self included), but other recordists and col­lec­tors also con­tributed to the Collection’s con­tents. “This col­lec­tion came from sev­eral sources. The largest num­ber came from tapes that I per­son­ally made and saved over the years. My col­lec­tion starts in 1954. In addi­tion, I was given many reel to reel record­ing from Patti DiLu­dovico. She was dis­card­ing her tapes as I hap­pened to drive in her dri­ve­way (I beat the garbage truck by two hours). I also received won­der­ful col­lec­tions from John Ash­ford and Ed Bre­mer. All of these peo­ple gave me their record­ings. Both of these peo­ple gen­er­ously gave me their record­ings in the hopes that they would be pre­served for future generations.”

Nel­son con­tin­ues to dig­i­tize and donate record­ings to the UW Libraries. All record­ings will even­tu­ally be made avail­able to researchers, for free, at the UW Libraries Media Cen­ter. This col­lec­tion is a part of Puget Sounds, UW Libraries’ com­mit­ment to col­lect, pre­serve, and pro­vide access to musics of the Puget Sound region. If you have any ques­tions about his col­lec­tion, please con­tact John Val­lier.

To access more infor­ma­tion on the col­lec­tion, please see our guide.

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