Luther Davis & Hus Caudill – FRC750


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Luther Davis (1887-1986) and Huston “Hus” Caudill (1884-1986) grew up playing music together. This would have been in the first two decades of the 20th century. Luther lived in the Meadow Creek Section of Grayson County, Virginia, and Hus over in the Vox community of Alleghany County, North Carolina. Though in different states, they grew up within walking distance of each other, and both recalled meeting up at the homes of older musicians like Isom Rector (1858-1926), his brother Fielden (1857-1929), and Emmett Lundy (1864-1953), often in all-night sessions. Blanton Owen and I recorded them in 1973 and 1974 as part of a year-long study of traditional music on the central Blue Ridge. We visited them many times, but always separately, one time Luther, and another time Hus.

Then one day it dawned on us that they each had stories of playing with and learning from one another as young men, and visiting the brothers Isom and Fielden Rector, who played double fiddles, often with Fielden playing a low melody while Isom stayed high. We wondered what that sounded like, informal jamming in the old days, and how much of the Rectors’ style had rubbed off on Luther and Hus. There was only one way to find out. We drove Hus up to Luther’s and turned on the tape recorder. They hadn’t played together in decades, and really hadn’t even played much alone either, quitting music as family and work responsibilities took hold. The result, though, was one of our most memorable sessions, with the two men, tentative at first, slowly falling back into their roles from 50 or 60 years earlier. They are mostly in unison, but occasionally one, usually Hus, will play a low melody. What is most remarkable is hearing old friends coming together and feeling some of that early youthful energy. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Tom Carter
Summer 2022
For my friend Blanton Owen

The Old Originals project was made possible by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Special thanks to Ann Carter, Dan Patterson, Alan Jabbour, Wes Freeman, John Schwab, Kilby Spencer, Lucas Pasley, and young musicians everywhere.

Track List

Hus Caudill – FRC747

  1. Sally Ann (1:55) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  2. [Talk: Playing together again] (0:33)
  3. Little Black Dog Come a-Trottin\\\’ Down the Road (1:41) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  4. [Talk: Younger days] (1:22)
  5. Little Stream of Whiskey (1:38) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  6. I Don\\\’t Love Nobody (1:05) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  7. Western Country (1:56) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  8. Walking in the Parlor (1:18) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  9. Bonaparte\\\’s Retreat (0:55) / Luther Davis
  10. Marching to the White House (2:16) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  11. Chapel Hill Serenade (0:43) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  12. Marching Through Georgia (0:53) / Luther Davis
  13. Billy in the Low Ground (1:35) / Hus Caudill v Luther Davis
  14. Liza Jane (2:18) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  15. Cacklin\\\’ Hen (2:58) / Luther Davis, Hus Caudill & Blanton Owen
  16. Two Fisher\\\’s Hornpipes (2:35) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  17. Who Broke the Lock on the Hen House Door? (0:32) / Luther Davis
  18. Sheep Shell Corn By the Rattlin\\\’ of His Horn (1:18) / Luther Davis
  19. Johnny Get Your Hair Cut (1:56) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  20. Sourwood Mountain (2:14) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  21. Evening Rainbow Waltz (1:56) / Luther Davis
  22. Johnny\\\’s Gone to the War (1:24) / Luther Davis
  23. Ducks on the Mill Pond (1:07) / Luther Davis
  24. Pretty Little Girl (2:29) / Luther Davis & Hus Caudill
  25. Piney Woods Girl (2:07) / Hus Caudill
  26. Piney Woods Girl (2:10) / Luther Davis