#1147: Harlan County by Jim Ford
In 1941 James Henry Ford was born in Paintsville, Kentucky. The county was rural, remote and had a history of having its citizens taken advantage of by carpetbaggers and coal companies. In an article in Kentucky for Kentucky in 2017, it was mentioned, “one of nine children, Ford was raised by his grandmother near Van Lear, Kentucky. In order to hear the radio, Ford said, he would often travel to a cabin on a hill in nearby Butcher Holler, where Loretta Lynn lived.” At age eleven, Ford moved first to Michigan with his dad who was in the military. Finding the weather too cold, Jim Ford moved down to New Orleans. He served in the armed forces in Germany for awhile. Then he moved to Los Angeles and then took up residence in Fort Bragg, California. He developed a fusion of soul, country and folk music. His songs often referenced people dealing with adversity. His songs have been recorded by a host of performers including Aretha Franklin, Dave Edmunds, Patti LaBelle, Tanya Tucker, Billy Preston, Burton Cummings, The Black Crowes, Bobby Gentry and The Temptations. Nick “Cruel to Be Kind” Lowe, from the UK, considers Jim Ford as his most formative musical influence.