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Along the isolated headwaters of the Kentucky River—Cutshin and Greasy creeks—folklorist Leonard Roberts found the Couches, a remarkable mountain family of gifted memory and imagination. For half a century they had preserved the traditional ways of their forebears—the farming methods, the household arts, and the games, ballads, dances, and tales that were their chief entertainment.

In Up Cutshin and Down Greasy, brothers Dave and Jim Couch, born about the turn of the century, recall clearly their childhood days on Sang Branch of Greasy and Clover Fork of Big Leatherwood. Dave, a professional moonshiner and bottlegger in his younger days, tells of his brushes with the law. Jim engaged in lumbering and coal mining, with a little moonshining on the side. His accounts of mine accidents, in particular the one that cost him his leg, give an insight into the minds of those who risk their lives underground for the sake of high pay.

Prominent folklorist and professor Leonard W. Roberts (1912-1983), authored numerous books, including South from Hell-fer-Sartin.

"A classic about the life and culture of eastern Kentucky."—Library Lane

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Couch family, Kentucky, Folklore, Kentucky folklore, Appalachia


Appalachian Studies

Up Cutshin and Down Greasy: Folkways of a Kentucky Mountain Family
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