Md. archivist at Smithsonian releases book with 3 CDs in commemoration of Woody Guthrie

MAYO, Md. — Go ahead and point to an album on Jeff Place's crowded basement shelves.

Ask him to identify it. Just try and stump him.

It won't work, even though a splash of color and a few words are all that's visible on the spine. He identifies the record — one of more than 12,000 — in seconds.

Maybe it's because he works somewhere with a collection dwarfing his own.

Place is an archivist at Smithsonian Folklife Collections, which has more than 70,000 recordings, as well as photographs, correspondence and other material filling 7,000 square feet of space.

Over a quarter century, he's produced 50 compilations of music, which resulted in two Grammys, numerous other nominations for the award, and a gold record. Yet, because the 57-year-old Mayo resident generally works behind the scenes, he's nowhere near as well-known as the artists he writes about and studies....

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