Frank Warner was born and raised in Selma, Alabama in 1903 and, with his wife Anne, he became a pioneer in the use of portable recording equipment for their folk song gathering expeditions in the 30s.
Warner was one of the better singers among scholarly folklorists who always tried to convey the excitement he felt when he first heard a song in the field. He had never recorded professionally until Holzman approached him and recorded the first of two Elektra albums, American Folk Songs And Ballads, in 1952.
Warner is best remembered for discovering and collecting the outlaw song ‘Tom Dooley‘, which he first heard performed as ‘Tom Dula’ by folksinger and instrument builder Frank Proffitt in the late 1930s. Warner’s interpretation on his Elektra debut album, was a template for the hit version by the Kingston Trio which ignite the folk boom in 1958.