Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Hammons Family

This lp, subtitled "A study of a West Virginia's family tradition", is an attempt to describe with sounds, words and photographs, the life and folklore of a rural appalachian family, whose ancestors came from Britain and were early pioneers and settlers in Kentucky and the Allegheny mountains. Music was an important part of the family life and the album includes many banjo and fiddle tunes along with ballads and stories. The recordings and research were done by Alan Jabbour, Carl Fleischhauer and Dwight Diller in the beggining of the 1970's for the Library of Congress in Washington.
-I uploaded the cd version of the lp (thanks to Tobias Enevoldsen for providing me this) which has combined the original tracks with another lp from The Hammons Family called "Shaking down the Acorns", released on Rounder.
-This recordings came with a huge booklet of more than 30 pages, that tells the history and background of The Hammons family along with notes on the recordings and photographs.

Part 1: The Hammons Family
  1. Old Sledge
  2. Camp Chase
  3. Three Forks of Cheat
  4. The Yankee and Marcum
  5. Sugar Grove Blues
  6. Turkey in the Straw
  7. The Route
  8. Fine Times at Our House
  9. Jimmy Johnson
  10. Parsons Rock
  11. In Scotland Town
  12. Little Omie
  13. Young Henerly
  14. Muddy Roads
  15. Bringing Back the Sheep
  16. The Sandy Boys
  17. Wilson's Clog
  18. Sugar Babe (version 1)
  19. We're Marching Around the Levees
  20. Riddles
  21. Mercian Tittery-ary-a
  22. Jay Legg
  23. When This World Comes to an End

Part 2: Shaking down the Acorns
  1. Shaking Down the Acorns / Hink Cogar's Deer Ride
  2. Cranberry Rock
  3. The Panther in the Sky
  4. Sugar Babe (version 2)
  5. The Lonesome Pines
  6. Johnny Booger
  7. Walking in the Parlor
  8. Singing Birds
  9. Old Man, Can I Have Your Daughter
  10. The Haunted Wagon
  11. Rocky Mountain Goat
  12. Who's Been Here Since I've Been Gone
  13. Lost Indian
  14. Hard Times in the Charleston Jail
  15. Ireland's Green Shore
  16. The Big Scioty
  17. Greasy Coat

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Old Virginia Fiddlers-Rare recordings 1948-49

Here's an out-of-print lp from County Records issued in 1977. The old Virginia Fiddlers were John Watts "Babe" Spangler and his cousin Dudley Spangler from Meadows of Dan, Virginia. The two learned their fiddling style from John Watts' father, Wallace Spangler, a reputed old-time fiddler from the region. The numbers on these lp were private recordings made by the artists to preserve their music except two tracks (Midnight Serenade and Patrick County Blues) that were issued on a 78rpm records. The sound is a bit scratchy but this is great fiddle music. Enjoy!
-Be sure to read the booklet for more informations on the players and the tunes (Click here for the PDF file)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Irish Pipes of Finbar Furey

Here are two lps from the Nonesuch Explorer series featuring the Irish Pipe (and whistle) playing of a then, very young Finbar Furey (i believe he was only 23 when he recorded this) with his brother Eddie who adds some guitar and bodhran here and there. While i'm not a big fan of the more folky stuff he recorded after, i do love his bagpipe playing here, and i believe this were the first pipe lps i bought some years ago so it's good to return to them again...
1.Rakish Paddy
2.The Hag with the money
3.Castle Terrace
4.Madame Bonaparte
5.The Young Girl Milking her Cow
6.Fin's Favourite
7.Peter Byrne's Fancy
8.O'Rourke's Reel
9. Roy's Hands
10.Planxty Davy
11.The Bonny Bunch of Roses
12.Eddy's Fancy
13.The Silver Spear
14.The Spanish Cloak
15.Sliabh na mBan
16.Graham's Flat
17.Piper's in the Meadow Straying
18.Rocking The Baby
19.Colonel Fraser
20.Pigeon on the gate
21.Eamonn an Chnuic
22.Tattered Jack Welch
23.The Fox Chase

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Melodic Clawhammer Banjo Tab Book

(thanks to Steven from The Banjo Hangout)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Melodic Clawhammer Banjo

Here's a mid-seventies out-of-print lp issued by Kicking Mule devoted to a then, new genre of clawhammer banjo, the melodic style. Since the folk revival of the 50's/60's there were two major schools of clawhammer banjo in the US. One, initiated by Pete Seeger, was mostly an adaptation of the older techniques of down-picking suited to accompany all kind of folk songs and the other was the traditional way of accompany the fiddler for Southern instrumental dance tunes. In the 1970's in New-York, a few players worked out a solo style of clawhammer where the banjo would play the complete melody of a tune whitout loosing the rhyhtmic drive of the instrument. Their repertoire would include a lot of Irish fiddle tunes, Reels, Hornpipes and Jigs along with the usual old-time Southern tunes. In this lp, the first devoted to the new style, we have the masters and creators of melodic clawhammer banjo reunited: Ken Perlman, Bob Carlin, Henry Sapoznik, Andy Cahan and one track by Dana Loomis. Ken Perlman is whithout a doubt the most important melodic clawhammer player here, not only for his amazing playing but also as a great teacher of the style. His instruction books and videos helped many players to extend the possibilities of clawhammer banjo playing. Bob Carlin is also a great player and teacher, but more oriented toward the traditional appalachian styles than Perlman. Henry Sapoznik was a major melodic clawhammer player in those days but he also studied classical banjo and initiated the Klezmer revival in New-York as well. Andy Cahan, like Carlin, is a folklorist and great player of the old-time Southern styles.
The tune selection on this lp is diverse and representative of the melodic style with an emphasis on Northern and Irish melodies. The guitar and piano back-up on many tracks is delicate and let the banjo be the lead instrument here.
Track list:
1.Greenfields of America Andy Cahan
2.Trip to Sligo Ken Perlman
3.French Canadian Medley: St Anne's Reel/Gaspe Reel Henry Sapoznik
4.Picking up tea leaves Andy Cahan
5.Bonaparte crossing the Rocky mountains Bob Carlin
6.Green Willis Bob Carlin & Henry Sapoznik
7.Sligo Maid Ken Perlman
8.Flying Cloud Cotillion Bob Carlin
9.Snowflake Reel Andy Cahan
10.Speed the plough Henry Sapoznik
11.Battle of Aughrim Andy Cahan
12.Ships in the cloud/Folding down the sheets Bob Carlin
13.Off to California Henry Sapoznik
14.Coleraine Andy Cahan
15.Fiddle Head Reel/Dubuque Bob Carlin
16.Flowers of Edinburgh Ken Perlman
17.Irish Spring Dana Loomis
18.Staten Island Hornpipe Henry Sapoznik
19.Chief O'Neil's favorite Andy Cahan
Download here (Lp in MP3 tracks)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Norman S. Edmonds-"Train on the island"

Here's an out-of-print lp issued by Davis Unlimited of Old-Time fiddler Norman S. Edmonds. People who love Harry Smith 's Anthology of American Folk Music (see my blog "The Old Weird America) may know and love already Edmonds's fiddling from the track "Train on the island", a great fiddle and banjo driving piece of music. Born in 1889 in Virginia, Edmonds recorded only a ccouple of tracks in the 1920's with banjo player J.P Nestor, but appeared in many fiddler's conventions in Virginia and North Carolina, often with his band called The Old-timers. He was a genuine old-time fiddler, playing in the archaic style of the mountains and with driving rhythm, the old traditional dance tunes.
-You can hear other performances from Edmonds on a cd released by the Field Recorder' Collective label.
-Go to the Old-time fiddlers Hall of fame page to read a more extensive biography of Edmonds.
Track list:
01-Walking in the parlor
02-Black-eyed Susie
03-Train on the island
04-Breaking up Christmas
05-Lucy Neil
06-Hawks and Eagles
07-Cricket on the earth
08-Ships in the clouds
09-Angeline the Baker
10-Pretty little girl
11-Old Cotton-eyed Joe
12-Chinquapin Hunting
Download here (I didn't took pictures of the lp cover this time because the lp folder I have is totally black, whitout any informations, except for the tracks's name)


Hi there, just to let you know that i'll continue posting here as well as on my other blogs... And i may have another project/blog coming on as soon as i'll find time to work on it....A new post is on the way, a lp of old-time fiddler Norman Edmonds (the one who plays on "Train on the island"on the Harry Smith Anthology)...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New blog's coming...

Hello everyone, i wanted to let you know that there won't be other posts here because i'm thinking about a new place to post some music and research as well as some out-of-print lps like i've done here. I'm getting tired of working on three different blogs and it's time to have one unique place to write and share some of my interests.
So thanks to all and see you soon...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

John Miller-"Let's go riding"

Here's a nice out-of-print lp by guitar player (and here banjo and fiddle player as well) John Miller. John is well known for his wonderful playing (and teaching) of Country Blues guitar in the style of the masters of the 1920's and 1930's like Furry Lewis, Robert Wilkins, Bo Carter, Blind Blake, etc... but he's an accomplished musician in other kinds of musical traditions as well (I personnaly love his arrangements of George Gershwin's tunes). This is, i believe one of his first record, issued by Rounder in 1973 but recorded a couple of years before when John was still a student at the university. The first side of the lp is devoted to John's wonderful country Blues guitar playing and his ability to create his own arrangements from classic country Blues recordings is amazing. The second side is a unique opportunity to hear John's venture into old-time music, with many banjo tunes and some fiddle as well. He says in the liner notes that he's been playing banjo for only one year at the time of this recordings and it's quite hard to believe when hearing his excellent numbers on the instrument. John had invited some good musician friends to play with him and among them the excellent guitar flatpicker, Russ Barenberg.
-You can check his website to learn more about his work and teaching.
P.S: Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures but my usual camera is in the repair shop...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Virginia Traditions:Non-Blues secular black music

This record comes from a collection published by The Blue Ridge Institute documenting the folk music of the Virginia State. This one focalize on the kind of folk and dance music black virginians played in rural areas, before Blues became so popular that it eclipsed other kind of secular music. To listen to non-Blues material played by blacks during the 20th century, we must turn to field recordings as very few examples were recorded by phonograph companies. We must be thankful to people like the Lomaxes for example, who recorded a lot in the South for more than 30 years and brought back some outstanding performances. (See especially the collections "Black Appalachia" on Rounder or "Black banjo songsters" on Folkways)
On this record, you'll hear banjos, fiddles, guitars, accordeon, harmonica played by a bunch of players recorded mostly in the 1970's by Kip Lornell and some recorded in the 1930's by John and Alan Lomax. If you want to hear more performances by these players, you should go to The Digital Library of Appalachia, a goldmine of wonderful recordings of appalachian music.
Update: A reader told me that this record is avalaible in cd format or digitally through Itunes. I really appreciate the work of the record company who made avalaible this collection again (Global Village) so I strongly recommend that you buy a copy for yourself. I just offer you the booklet in pdf format...
DOWNLOAD HERE (pdf document of the booklet)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Aunt Molly Jackson-Library of Congress Recordings

This recordings of Aunt Molly Jackson were made in 1939 by Alan Lomax for The Library of Congress. This remarkable woman, nicknamed the "Kentucky coal mining diva" or "Pistol Packin' Mama" was both a singer and union activist, who used the traditional mountain songs and singing style of her Kentucky mountains to sing about the hard times and injustices suffered by the mountain people and coal miners durings the 1930's and beyond. She came frequently to New York City and was part of the radical and folk revival movements of these years and had a big impact on Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie.
These recordings are a bit rough and the sound is very bad sometimes but the powerful singing of Aunt Molly make this collection an important one, both historically and artistically.
To learn more about the extraordinary life of Aunt Molly Jackson, you can visit
this beautiful website dedicated to preserve her memory.
Download Here (photos of the booklet included as a pdf file)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emmett Lundy-Fiddle tunes from Grayson County, Virginia

These recordings of legendary old-time fiddler Emmett Lundy were made for The Library of Congress By Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in 1941. Lundy was a venerated fiddler in Grayson County, a region that gave us so many fine musicians (Ernest Stoneman, the Ward family...) and his playing represent an old fiddling tradition of this area.
As usual i included a pdf document of the nice 12-page booklet that goes with the lp, so you can read in lenght about the Lundy family and his fiddling style.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Snow on the roof, Fire in the furnace (Cincinnati area traditional musicians)

I'm back finally from my travels and ready to post a new lp of my collection. This time it's a very eclectic and diverse collection of tunes and songs from traditional musicians from the Cincinnati area. Recorded at the end of the 1970's, produced by two young folk musicians (Malcom Dalglish and Grey Larsen) and issued by June Appal Recordings, "Snow on the roof, fire in the furnace" (love that title...) is a very enjoyable journey through folk and popular music. Here you'll hear a brass band playing marches, a black piano player talk and play some fine Blues, a wonderful fiddler, a old tenor banjo player singing German songs and old pop tunes, a superb Oud player originally from Lebanon, and a accordeon player doing Irish tunes. All this vernacular and ethnic music represents the diverse immigrants who settled in the Cincinnati Area and the musical traditions they brought with them.
So relax and enjoy the music and yourself (it's latter than you think)!
Download here (I've included a pdf document of the booklet which present the musicians on this record)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Old Originals Vol.1 & 2

Here's a two-offer this week, two out-of-print lps from Rounder Records called "Old Originals" and subtitled "Old-time instrumental music recently recorded in North Carolina and Virginia".
It's a great collection of field recordings made by Tom Carter and Blanton Owen in 1976, who went to The Blue Ridge Mountains in search of old-time musicians. The selections are mostly fiddle or banjo (and sometimes the two together) but ther's also some fife and drum music, harmonica, autoharp, and some really nice old-time piano (the best i heard since Hobart Smith).
Lovers of real and authentic old-time music should enjoy this two records very much.
I provided in the zip file a pdf document of the booklet for each disc, with notes, photographs and tuning.
P.S:There will be no other posts here and on my other blogs until March because i'll travel in India for the next few weeks, so see you and enjoy the music...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Almeda Riddle-Granny Riddle's Songs & Ballads

Readers of this blog know that i love american traditional singing and that Granny Riddle is one of the greatest traditional singer of all time. So here's another Almeda Riddle lp for you, after the one i posted last year (Go here). The previous lp was entirely devoted to the Hymns and religious songs that made a big part in Almeda's repertoire but this one includes her versions of well-known traditional ballads and songs, with also a few religious ones. So you'll hear her renditions of "Frog went a courtin", "Tom Sherman's Barroom" (known also as "The unfortunate Rake", "St James Hospital"), "Poor Wayfaring stranger", "Barbara Allen", "Texas Rangers", "The Oxford Girl", "The water is wide" etc...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Big Yam Potatoes (Anglo-American fiddle music from Mississippi)

Here's a great old-time fiddle lp presenting field recordings made for the Library of Congress in 1939. You'll hear the music of 10 old-time fiddlers from Mississippi playing in a beautiful archaic southern syle. On many tracks, the fiddlers are accompanied by someone beating straws on the fiddle neck, an old way of providing a back-up rhythm to fiddle music.
I made a pdf file of the 16-page booklet that goes with the lp, with many photographs, notes on the musicians and the tunes they played and some musical annotations.
Download here (zip file of the lp cut in MP3 tracks with pdf of the booklet)