Freeman Kitchens: The Ultimate Multi-Tasker
Freeman in his shop, Drake Vintage Music & Curios, 2011 - Photo by Jennifer Joy Jameson.
Welcome to this little corner of the web where I will log updates on the history of, and present day goings-on related to, Mr. Freeman Kitchens of Drake, Kentucky.
Freeman, a relatively unheralded, yet noteworthy figure of the mid 20th Century country music scene, is the founder and president emeritus of the long-running Carter Family Fan Club. A wearer of many hats, he’s participated in the wider record collecting community, buying and selling records since his teens, and later more officially through his combination record shop/general store—-i’m not done, yet—/post office, from his early twenties, on.
As president of the official fan club of America’s first country music hitmakers, the Carter Family, Freeman—with the help of Fan Club members—produced the mimeographed journal/fanzine, “The Sunny Side Sentinel, ” along with a host of written and visual items that have left a mighty lovely paper trail for folks like me (and you?!) to swoon over. I’ll be sharing some of those bits here.
I’ve spent the last 10 or so months occupying Freeman’s perfectly good weekend hours; snapping portraits, bugging him about names, places, sounds and sights, while listening to some of his best records together—all in the name of researching the history of his shop, his recordings, and the vibrant legacy of grassroots music journalism and documentation that he’s fostered through the Carter Family Fan Club.
This log accompanies my current guest curatorship of a small exhibit on Freeman Kitchens, “Yours for the Carters,”: The Vintage Sound Collections of Freeman Kitchens, opening Sat. August 27th, 2011, at the Kentucky Library & Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
Much to come!
— Jennifer Joy Jameson, folklorist/other