Ralph Whited: Oneonta, Alabama (1919-1994)

FRC717 – Ralph Whited – Old Time Alabama Fiddling
by Joyce Cauthen

Bio

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

About the Old FRC CD Sets

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.

Tom Fuller: The Life and Times of a Fiddler from Indian Territory

FRC714 – Tom Fuller – Traditional Fiddling from Oklahoma & Texas

By Brad Leftwich

An earlier version of this article first appeared in The Old Time Herald, Volume 13, Number 11.

I stood in Jan Fitzgerald’s home recently in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, holding her father’s familiar old fiddle in my hands and trying to wrap my mind around the fact that it had been Continue reading

Poems by Dean Sturgill

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.

An Old Fiddler’s Book of Rhymes
An Old Fiddler’s “Second” Book of Rhymes
An Old Fiddler’s Book of Rhymes III

The Peter Hoover Collection

by John Hoffmann

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

Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music

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

Ray Alden

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

Jimmy Wheeler

Jimmy Wheeler (FRC401)

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

First Recording Session with Jimmy Wheeler

Jimmy Wheeler (FRC401)

by Jeff Goehring

Oct. 5, 1982 – First recording session with Jimmy Wheeler in Portsmouth, Ohio

Arrived approx. 2 p.m. unexpectedly.

Found Jimmy and two of three sisters sitting under awning between house and shop/garage, smoking cigarettes and drinking Old Milwaukee in red and white cans, a welcoming wave.  Jimmy didn’t remember my name though I’m positive he remembered me.  His sisters Dottie and Merle were friendly.  Dot remembered me, Merle didn’t. Continue reading

Fred Cockerham

Fred Cockerham (FRC101)

by Ray Alden

Fred Cockerham, one of the seven children of Elias and Betty Jane Cockerham, was born on November 3, 1905.  He was the only one from the Round Peak community to attempt the difficult life of a professional rural musician.  The way that Fred began playing the fiddle is similar to the way many country musicians began.  Basically, this story can be heard on Continue reading

Review of the Sidna & Fulton Myers CD (FRC504)

Sidna & Fulton Myers (FRC504)

by Kerry Blech, Old Time Herald Magazine

Fiddler James Fulton “Jimmy Natural” Myers was born about 1895 and died in 1979.  According to Blanton Owen, who recorded him in the mid-1970s, he was born near Woodlawn, Virginia, between Galax and Hillsville.  He farmed, worked for the WPA during the Great Depression, and was a mason’s helper.  He learned to play from his father, who played banjo, and from “Old Man” Continue reading

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