Margot Mayo and Rufus Crisp

by

Miss Margo Mayo, Miss Deska, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford

Rufus Crisp

Tracing back various northern roots of the old time music revival, one inevitably arrives at Margo Mayo.   Music historians: is she the Source? 

Mayo was the cousin of Kentucky banjo player Rufus Crisp (1889-1956), and established the American Square Dance Group in NYC  in the early 1930’s.  Pete Seeger visited and learned from Crisp in 1940, via Margot Mayo.  Stu Jamieson visited Crisp with Mayo in 1946 during the trip in which he recorded Gribble, Lusk, and York.  Woody Wachtell visited Crisp with Mayo, learned the banjo, and inspired John Cohen of the New Lost City Ramblers  to play the banjo in the early 1950’s.

Margot Mayo describes her uncle Rufus Crisp and her experience documenting his music (from notes to Folkways LP 02342):

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