Category Archives: Old Time Music

Soldier’s Joy According to Fulton Myers

Sidna & Fulton Myers (FRC504)

by Jody Stecher (Fiddler Magazine)

This installment of Cross-Tuning Workshop (CROSS-TUNING WORKSHOP Part Thirty-Two: ADAE) pairs a well-known fiddle tune with a little-known but fascinating fiddler.  “Soldier’s Joy” is a contender for the world’s most played fiddle tune.  If you wonder why, you’ve heard only the bad versions.  This is a great tune for dancing, always fun to play (on any instrument), and it carries a huge amount of energy which it will release to Continue reading

Review of the Santford Kelly CD

Santford Kelly (FRC503)

by Kerry Blech, Old Time Herald Magazine

I want to be perfectly clear about my feelings about this series, The Field Recorders’ Collective (FRC).  I have bought into the concept totally, from the very moment that Ray Alden told me about his plans several years ago.  There are many recording projects that are worthy and fruitful, but this one is very special, to me at least.  I’ve known Ray for over 30 years.  He’s always Continue reading

Lonnie Seymour

Lonnie Seymour (FRC403) and bonus tracks on Cecil Plum (FRC404)

by Betty Seymour, April 2006

Lonnie was born June 15, 1922.  Lonnie’s grandpa, John Seymour, played the fiddle, so when Lonnie was about five years old, grandpa would put him on the bed with his fiddle and let him play it.  Lonnie watched how Grandpa worked his fingers and bow, that is how he learned to play the fiddle.  He came from a family that loved the fiddle, including his dad, Webster, and Continue reading

Review of “The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett”

The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett (FRC304)

by Art Rosenbaum

Reprinted here by permission of the Old Time Herald Magazine (April-May 2006 issue)

The Field Recorders’ Collective FRC304 CD is a self-recorded legacy of Banjo Bill Cornett, giving us what is arguably the finest very early-style mountain singing to banjo ever recorded.  Cornett did play for others and in public—he played his “Old-Age Pension Blues” on the floor of the Kentucky Legislature, and according to John Cohen, “died while entertaining at a restaurant in Continue reading

The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett

The Lost Recordings of Banjo Bill Cornett (FRC304)

by John Cohen

Bill Cornett was born in East Kentucky in 1890.  He started playing banjo at age eight.  His musical flair, he reported, was inherited from his mother who sang ballads to him.  He operated a country store two miles outside of Hindman.  It is said that he’d rather sit and pick his banjo than wait on customers.  In 1956 he was elected to the Kentucky State Legislature, representing Continue reading

Buddy Thomas’ Autobiography

Buddy Thomas (FRC303)

by Mark Wilson

Biography and photos from Rounder CD0032, “Kitty Puss,” produced by Guthrie T. Meade and Mark Wilson.
Used by permission. To order Rounder CD0032, visit www.rounder.com.

We growed up real poor, so poor that even the poor folks said we were poor.  There were ten in our family and we had to raise most everything we ate and work in logwoods and stuff like that.  My dad worked all the time, but he was sick and had to doctor so much, that I don’t see how he could have made it if it hadn’t been for us.  He was a big strong man until he got sick and he Continue reading

Ola Belle Reed

Ola Belle Reed (FRC203)

by Thomas Polis (For further information go to www.olabellereed.com)

Ola Belle Reed was born Ola Wave Campbell on August 17, 1916, in Lansing, North Carolina.  She was one of thirteen children born to Arthur Harrison Campbell and Ella May Osborne Campbell.  The Campbell family ancestors had moved to the New River Valley of western North Carolina sometime around the 1760’s.  Arthur Harrison was an educated man who spent his life as a Continue reading

Clyde Davenport

Clyde Davenport, Vol. 1 (FRC103),  Clyde Davenport, Vol. 2 (FRC104),
Clyde Davenport DVD (FRC1004)

by Jeff Titon

Kentuckian Clyde Davenport is a master old-time fiddler and banjo player. His large repertory of traditional tunes, many of them rare, makes him an important source musician. At 85, he still plays wonderfully well. For almost twenty years old-time fiddlers and banjo players have made pilgrimages to his home in Monticello, Kentucky, to share in his music. Clyde is amused and Continue reading

Manco Sneed

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Dakota Brewer, the daughter of Manco, for the occasion of the John H. and Sarah Lovin descendants’ reunion on February 17, 2007 at Tsali Manor, Cherokee, NC.

Manco Sneed was born in Graham County Feb.18-1885, the son of John Harrison and Sarah Lovin Sneed, but later moved to Cherokee and lived in the “Sneed Gap” section all of his life where he and my mother Rosebud Beck Sneed raised their family of seven children. He died at age 89. Continue reading

Manco Sneed and the Indians

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Blanton Owen

This paper, slightly revised, was originally presented as part of a panel at the American Folklore Society meeting in Los Angeles on 26 October 1979.

It is tempting to take the easy route when studying a region’s folk life by dealing with “items” as if they exist and have existed without much tampering with by human beings. It is easy simply Continue reading

Corbett Stamper

Interviewed 29th September 1982 by Frank Weston

FRC306

I was born James Corbett Stamper in Grayson County, Virginia, in the 9th district 13th December in 1910. My father was Matt Stamper, he played fiddle and picked banjo just about all his life. And my uncle, his eldest brother played fiddle. My father’s father also named Matt he’s buried down here in this cemetery was a fife player in the civil war and he also played organ and piano. Continue reading

Dock Boggs

Dock Boggs FRC305 and FRC312

by Reed Martin

My sister lived in Whitesburg, Kentucky, during the mid 1960s and thereafter. In 1967 I went to live with her for the summer. I had been living in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. I was used to playing at noisy dances and had taken to the habit of winding all four strings in the peg head – the same direction. If I was part of a band and the noise was great, if my third string was Continue reading

Kilby Snow and His Influential Music Style

Kilby Snow (FRC205)

by Joe Riggs

Much has been written about the life and music of Kilby Snow, an autoharp player of the old tradition of playing below the chord bars. Most folks who know his music and style think first of his famous “drag notes,” a technique he developed to simulate a guitar slide or run on the autoharp, caused when he drags the pick upward from lower strings to higher strings. The first Continue reading

The Kimble & Wagoner Families

The Kimble and Wagoner Families (FRC106)

by Ray Alden

Many years ago, while at a conference on Old Time Music at Brown University, I heard Alan Jabbour describe the music deriving not from a single pure source but behaving more like river in which many currents mingle and churn together to produce a song or a tune. So too, when I look at the Kimble family tree, I see a meandering stream of personalities and musical abilities flowing into the blood of Taylor Kimble and his children. Continue reading

Ashby Family History

John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Ms. Nancy M. Sessions

Here is my personal Family History, and memories that have been told to me, by my Mother, Mrs. Agnes Adelia Ashby Sessions, as well as her Sister, my Aunt, Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Scott Ashby Small, as well! I have a good, and a long memory! I am only very happy that it serves a wonderful purpose; to give out history about my Dear Uncle John C. Ashby! Continue reading

The Ashby Family and Friends of Fauquier County Virginia

John Ashby John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Sandy Hofferth (original article appeared in the Old Time Herald)

Skip Ashby, a winner at the 2005 Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Clifftop, WV, is the latest in a long line of fiddlers going back several generations and a link in a chain of musicians in the Warrenton area of Fauquier County, VA, that goes back a century and a half. The Free State Ramblers, one of the longest running bands ever, started in the 1930s and are still active Continue reading

Esker Hutchins plays Cumberland Gap (Listed as “Unknown Tune #2”)

Esker Hutchins (FRC107)

by Jody Stecher (Fiddler Magazine)

Esker Hutchins.  What a great name; sounds like someone taking a bite out of a fiddle.  His music did have a lot of bite and crunch actually, and when he had a good band behind him,  Esker Hutchins of Surry County, North Carolina played some of the most exciting music I’ve ever heard.  Playing solo he was more relaxed but still he had that powerful and incisive bowing arm. Continue reading

Rambling Reminisces of How I Came to Play Old-Time Music

Chirps Smith (FRC608)

By Lynn “Chirps” Smith – November 15, 1995

I was born October 11, 1952 in Pekin, IL. I am the fifth generation of my family in Illinois. My great-great grandfather Mervill A. Smith moved to southern Illinois, from New York state, in the late 1830’s and settled around Mt. Vernon in Jefferson County. When I was very young our family moved to Granite City, near St. Louis, MO. I lived there until 1963 when we moved to Continue reading