The titles of tunes this historic North Carolina banjo man recorded evoke the rowdy milieu he came out of : "High Sheriff," "Old Corn Liquor," "Black Annie," "Roustabout," "Fox Chase," and so forth. But his importance as a link to Afro-American traditions as well as Appalachian styles means his music has been the subject of intense study by archivists and ethnomusicologists. Since the late '70s, three excellent compilation albums have been released of Roberts and his contemporaries, black American banjo players born at the end of the 19th century. The wonderful banjo style of Elizabeth Cotton descended from this tradition. Just like her, Roberts has a cozy side in which the banjo is used as an accomplice in storytelling about animals. His "Old Blue" is one of the best versions of this dog-lover's favorite. This is of course something he has in common with white old-time music artists from Appalachia and indeed these musicians have much more in common than just weepy dog ballads. But as if cloaked in white hoods, many record companies and folklore buffs documenting the musical history of the southern United States made a determined effort to enforce the color line, and make it seem like blacks and whites had nothing to do with each other musically.