Of the many legendary fiddlers from old time music’s “Golden Age,” the period of commercial recording from the mid-twenties to the early thirties, Lowe Stokes seemed to have an aura of myth that went beyond his superb fiddling on records by the Skillet Lickers and others. Continue reading →
Ora Watson – Watauga County, NC Old Time Music – FRC720
Article courtesy of Old Time Herald, Volume 11, Number 1
By Mark Freed
Leaving my office in Boone, North Carolina, one afternoon in May, I drove to the western part of Watauga County for a visit with Ora Watson. I parked my car, grabbed a banjo from the back seat, and walked inside where I found my friend Cecil Gurganus visiting with Ora in the living room. Ora asked me to come closer so she could see me, so I got within a few inches of her face. Continue reading →
Fred McBride – North Carolina Fiddle and Banjo – FRC722
by Lucas Pasley
Article courtesy of the Old Time Herald, Volume 13, Number 10.
I remember the first time I saw Fred play down at a little jam around Wilkesboro. I was young and in search of a real old time sound, and when I heard Fred I almost fell on the floor. I drove straight up to Alleghany County and told my grandmother I’d found my hero fiddler. She smiled and said, well, what’s his name?” “Fred McBride.” I said reverently. “Fred McBride!” She yelled back as she sat up in her recliner. “Good Lord,” she said, “You’ve known him your whole life – you’ve seen him at every family reunion you’ve ever been to!” Continue reading →
Maggie Parker – Hammons Family Songs & Music – FRC713
by Wayne Howard
Article courtesy of the Old Time Herald, April-May 2010.
I had gotten well acquainted with Lee Hammons by the summer of 1970, but I still hadn’t met Dwight Diller, who had indirectly led me to Lee. At the end of his school year at West Virginia University, Dwight came home. By the time of Pioneer Days, in mid-July, we were fast friends; and Dwight was rapidly acquainting me and my wife, Barbara, with the “mountain music” scene. Continue reading →
Darley Fulks (1895-1990) in his long life worked as an oil driller, traveling both north and south from his native Wolfe Co., Kentucky, meeting other musicians, and learning tunes everywhere he went. But the greatest portion of his repertoire came from the older generation in his own county. Many of his tunes came from his grandfather and some he could trace to his great-grandfather. Consequently, his music represents both an exceptionally old collection of tunes, many pre-dating the Civil War and unique to him, and an exceptionally diverse range of styles Continue reading →
Despite having produced well-known fiddlers such as Guy Brooks, Art Wooten, and Tim Smith, Alleghany County’s rich old-time fiddling tradition has remained largely out of the spotlight. This CD attempts to capture not only the importance of Alleghany’s fiddling heritage, but also its own unique character. As with other mountain musical communities, the common threads of tradition met the innovative touch of the musicians to create a complex and powerful sound.
There was, however, a tremendous flow of exchange between Alleghany and bordering counties. According to Brad Leftwich, Tommy Jarrell learned his unique version of John Henry from Alleghany County, and prominent Alleghany fiddlers such as Huston Caudill traveled to Virginia for work and played with Grayson County fiddlers such as Luther Davis. State and county lines meant little to the flow of music and musicians, and Alleghany’s musical heritage is richly interwoven with the surrounding areas. Continue reading →
FRC718 – Carlton Rawlings – Bath County, Kentucky Fiddler
by John Harrod
Northeastern Kentucky was still a hotbed of old style fiddling in the 1970s and ’80s when Gus Meade, Mark Wilson, Bruce Greene, and I began making regular visits to record and learn from the many interesting local fiddlers who were still going strong at the time. We were astounded at the sophistication and complexity of the styles, the level of performance, and the dramatic Continue reading →
FRC715 – Vesta Johnson with Steve Hall – North Missouri Dance Fiddling
by Bob Bovee
I’ve known Vesta Johnson since 1977, played tunes with her at her home and on stage, learned from her, and consider her a friend and mentor. She has likewise been a friend and teacher to countless other old-time musicians over the years. I interviewed Vesta at her house last winter, but our visit seemed more like a conversation with an old friend than a formal interview. Continue reading →
Darley Fulks (1895-1990) was from Campton, in Wolfe County. He told John Harrod he was glad to have been alive when he was, early on, to learn the old tunes; he thought he was probably the last to know some of them. He felt most of the tunes he learned came to Kentucky from Virginia, but the bluesy tunes came from the lower South. Fulks’s grandfather and uncle played Continue reading →
FRC717 – Ralph Whited – Old Time Alabama Fiddling by Joyce Cauthen
Ralph Whited lived in one house in Oneonta, AL from the day he was born in 1919 until the day he died in 1994. Oneonta sits in the foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains, below Sand Mountain and 35 miles north of Birmingham. The Whited home, inherited from Ralph’s prosperous grandfather, was large enough to comfortably house Ralph’s parents, Henry and Elizabeth Whited, and their 6 robust sons Coy, O’Dell, Ward, J.D., Ralph and Brady. When Ward and J.D. took up playing guitar, it became a musical gathering place. Continue reading →
A few of our long-time loyal customers were inquiring about the yearly sets we offered in the past. Please note that all of our CDs and DVDs are still available and with the capabilities of the new web site we are able to offer quantity discounts that allow you to make your own sets at the same lower prices.
In any case, we have attached a list of the past issues that were grouped in sets. You can download the list here.
FRC710 – Dean Sturgill – The Spencer Branch Fiddler
Dean Sturgill is an old-time fiddler and poet from Ashe County, North Carolina. For many years, he led the popular Grayson Highlands Band. In the early 1990s, he self-published these three books of wonderful poetry about life in the mountains (available for download in pdf below). He reads his poem, “The Fees Branch Fiddler” in the video.
It was the summer of 1959 and a young Peter Hoover, having flunked out of Harvard the summer before, was volunteering at the Library of Congress, transcribing inventory information of aluminum disc recordings made in 1937 of Crockett Ward’s Bogtrotters, from Ballard Branch, Virginia. (The original Bogtrotters, consisted of Davey Crockett Ward and his neighbor Alec Continue reading →
The Brandywine Valley Friends of Old Time Music (“BFOTM”) was founded in 1972 by a small group of traditional American music devotees. Carl Goldstein and Shel Sandler, two young Delaware lawyers and budding musicians, had begun playing informally with a local autoharp player, Mike Hudak, who was a protege of Kilby Snow. Kilby Snow was a brilliant autoharpist from Fries, VA who Continue reading →
Excerpts from the November 2003 Banjo Newsletter interview with Ray Alden
BN: Did you grow up with Appalachian music?
RA: Mountain music wasn’t exactly the rage with the southern Italians from my Bronx neighborhood. Do-wop was the music I grew up with. Just ahead of me in school were Dion and the Belmonts. A guy in my class wrote “Barbara Ann,” later made famous by the Beach Boys. Continue reading →
by Henna R. Armstrong, Getzville NY – 18 Dec. 2007
I was tickled to read on the web page about the trip down to Portsmouth to get Jimmy on tape. You see, Jimmy Wheeler was my father’s first cousin. Jimmy’s mother, “Aunt Em,” was a sister to my grandmother, Nell Odell. I was raised in Portsmouth but we rarely visited the Wheelers, and I don’t remember Jimmy and his sisters at all. My dad told me about going there one time after I Continue reading →