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A Woody Guthrie centenary special with Tom Paley

2 hours
First broadcast:
Sunday 15 July 2012

This week's guest is 84 year old, Tom Paley, a lost legend of folk music.

Originally from New York, Tom's lived in a flat in Angel, Islington, since 1974 and plays a regular Sunday session at the Shakespeare's Head pub behind Sadler's Wells Theatre. He has played a duo with Woody Guthrie and he was founder member of New Lost City Ramblers.

He taught blues guitar to Ry Cooder and banjo to Jerry Garcia and has influenced Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk and generations of folk musicians. His latest album features classic Old-Time, folk, blues and country classics.

He joins Cerys to play a live session and to celebrate Woody Guthrie's centenary.

Music Played

22 items
  • Sunday Recipe


    140g stone-ground yellow polenta (cornmeal)
    70g plain flour
    2 tbsp sugar
    1 1/4 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1/2 tsp salt plus extra to serve
    Pinch of cayenne
    310ml buttermilk or plain yoghurt
    1 large egg, beaten
    2 spring onions, finely chopped
    Vegetable oil for frying

    Cooking Method:
    Serves approximately 20 hushpuppies

    1) Into a large bowl, sift together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cayenne.

    2) Add the buttermilk or yoghurt, egg and spring onions and using a rubber spatula, stir until a batter is formed. Take care not to over-mix the batter or the Hushpuppies will be dense.

    3) To fry the Hushpuppies: Heat approximately 5cm of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat to 190C. Working in small batches, using a greased teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil.

    4) Fry the Hushpuppies, turning once using a metal perforated spoon, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer the Hushpuppies to a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve immediately

    Bonus Tip! Using a spoon lightly greased with vegetable oil to form the hushpuppies helps to release the batter.

    Additionally, if you drop the batter off the tip of the spoon it will form ball shapes; if dropped off the side it will form oblong shapes.

  • Cerys with Tom Paley and band

    Cerys with Tom Paley and band


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