Boxwell Music, Part III
We continue our look at Boxwell musicians, this week arriving at Old Hickory Lake. There have been plenty of musicians at the current Boxwell location. So many in fact, it is unlikely we will cover them all if for no other reason than we just don’t know them! (You can help out here by soliciting some suggestions in the comments!) For this week, we’ll focus on the earliest act we know of: The Parnell Hooten-nannies.
The Parnell Hooten-nannies started in 1963 with Phil Roe and Pat Bray on guitar and Mark McWhorter on banjo, but as the years went by, the group evolved. Other players included John Bryant, Wes Frye, Jerome Terrell, John Hudson, David Farrar, and James Henry. The various incarnations kept the Hooten-nannies part of the Boxwell program through 1970. They played Parnell campfires, often a meal in the dining hall, and were even known to go on “tour” to Camp Murrey to perform at the family camp.
The name apparently came from Program Director Jimmy Joe Jackson, though the origin there is a little fuzzy. What isn’t fuzzy is that Jackson seriously promoted the group and some of the song choices were directly influenced by Jackson’s likes. When Jackson left camp in 1970, the Hooten-nannies left as well.
In terms of style, the group performed primarily folk songs, but there were some patriotic and camp songs in the mix as well. Among the tunes performed by the group include “This Land Is Your Land,” “The New Frontier,” “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” “Salty Dog Rag,” “My Girl,” and the Beverly Hillbillies theme. And of course, there was the occassional song with lyrics just about camp.
Seen here are two photos of the Hooten-nannies. One is from a Parnell Friday Night campfire in 1970. From left to right are John Hudson, David Farrar, and James Henry. The other is from the 2014 Staff Reunion. From left to right are Patrick Bray, Jerome Terrell, Phil Roe, Wes Frye,and James Henry.