Portraits from our Past
Southwest Virginia Music

Dock Boggs

Music: 1920's - 1960's


Moran Lee "Dock" Boggs was born near Norton in Wise County, Virginia. He began playing banjo at the age of twelve, about the time he started working in the coal mines, only performing professionally on-and-off in the late 1920's and after he retired. Dock Boggs had a distinctive banjo style and a raw, powerful singing voice. In 1927, Brunswick Records of New York held local auditions of mountain musicians. Only Dock Boggs and one other group impressed the talent scouts enough to be invited to be recorded. Boggs recorded eight numbers including blues and ballads. In 1929, he cut four songs for The Lonesome Ace Record Company. He also offered an audition with RCA Victor, but could not gather up the funds to make the trip to Louisville, Kentucky. With the deepening depression and poor record distribution, Boggs gave up music until after his retirement. Folk musician Mike Seeger persuaded Dock to record again in 1963. He appeared at Folk Festivals throughout the 60's and is credited with heavily influencing the music of Bob Dylan.


The Southwest Virginia Museum is a member of the American
Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Virginia Association of Museums.