Rufus Crisp was born November 17, 1880, in Allen, KY. He learned to play the banjo in his teens, taught by his neighbor, Gabe Frazier, beginning a vigorous fascination with the instrument and the folk tradition. Crisp stayed in the Floyd County, KY, area all his life, working as a mail carrier and playing at folk dances. He is reported to have known hundreds of traditional songs, some of which he recorded for the Library of Congress Folk Archive in 1946. Pete Seeger credits Crisp with teaching him the clawhammer frailing technique on the banjo, and his influence on other Kentucky banjo players was unsung and pervasive. He died on June 9, 1956.
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