Are you familar with Jack Tales? If so, then you may be familiar with Ray Hicks, who was well known for his charismatic storytelling abilities.
Born Aug 29, 1922, Ray lived with his wife Rosa in Beech Mountain, NC for over 80 years in the family home built by his grandfather. His dialect added to his storytelling ability as he reflected both the Scottish-Irish immigrants and a form of old English in his speech. This combination led to his being featured on PBS’s “The Story of English”. The Jack Tales for which he was best known had a basis in both Celtic and European folklore and was thought to be a type of alter ego for himself, called Jack.
Numerous recognitions have been given to Ray Hicks. He was a much loved contributor at the National Storytelling Festival held annually in Jonesborough, TN. Ray was also the recipient of the 1983 National Heritage Fellowship and the 1991 NC Folk Heritage Award. He has also been mentioned in the New Yorker and recognized by both the Smithsonian and the Presidency.
One thing many may not know is that Ray was also a respected harmonica player and a singer of traditional ballads.
Ray passed away April 20, 2003
We have included some video clips of Ray’s appearances so that you, too, can enjoy his unique storytelling style.
“Hunting with Jack”
“Roving Gambler” with Ray Hicks and Stanley Hicks
Sources for this post include the following: