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Saturday, June 26, 2010

FIDDLE AND BANJO

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This morning's radio show was among the best. Played some good music by Jim Lloyd, guitar and banjo picker from the Rural Retreat area. Started off with him playing Waiting For The Robert E Lee solo banjo. He did it right. Played 4 really good songs by him, then switched over to Kevin Fore's album, Round Peak, The Tradition Continues. This one, too, is loaded with good music. 19 tracks of first rate old-time, him playing banjo with various fiddlers of that style; Kirk Sutphin, Benton Flippen, James Burris. 4 songs with each fiddler mixed up throughout the album. James Burris stole the show when he played his uncle Otis Burris's song Fortune, Otis's signature tune. It seems like every fiddler has a song he plays best, wins fiddlers conventions with, and likes the most. When James and his brother Joey (guitar) get going, music happens. Kevin Fore played banjo with them, making Southern Pride with Kevin playing banjo. Southern Pride is the name of Burris's present old-time band. Back in the 70s James and Joey, then playing banjo, were the New River Ramblers. I saw them at my first fiddlers convention in Independence in 1977 and they lit that place up. These boys don't slow down for nothin.



Eddie Bond sang a lot on Fore's album. He's a good singer. He had a band some years ago, Old Time Tradition. They made 2 albums. A Grayson County band. Last I saw, I think he was the new fiddler with the New Ballard's Branch Bogtrotters, or anyway he's recorded with them. Good fiddler. Mac Snow is on it Chester McMillan. Bobby Pattterson of Heritage records who made the cd copies for me sings a song on the album. He plays guitar and Kevin Fore plays banjo. They played well together, and Bobby did the singing. He's another good singer. Beautiful music every track.



Second half hour I played from the cd of Jr and Cleve Andrews, Art Wooten and Ernest Johnson. I'm presently making the error of playing this music now while I'm trying to write you. Every once in awhile something remarkable happens with the fiddle or the banjo and I go away for a minute or two and dive into the music. Just now heard Florida Blues, which was played this morning. Pausing now to hear Jr play Home Sweet Home, his fiddlers convention winning tune. Now he's playing John Hardy. His pickin is plenty respectable. It's a joy to hear it when he was at his prime. I told it ever so often I was giving the cds to anybody that calls wanting one. Got 8 calls and 2 of them came to pick them up right away, listening in the car. They were excited, people that really love this music, people who knew these musicians. The people I talked with on the phone were excited. This is white haired people the youngsters think don't even hear music. Art is right now tearing Fire On The Mountain to pieces.



Leaving the station I made some stops to individuals in town I wanted to have one. At Floyd and June Reeves's June insisted I eat her good cooking and I was grateful. Floyd was tickled just like the others who received one. Floyd loves this music, knew Art, knew Jr, knew Cleve. He loves this music so much he'll hear just how good this music is. This is some dynamic bluegrass. Raw mountain bluegrass. It's all such beautifully played bluegrass, the kind that makes music. Every time I give one to somebody I feel joy inside because I know they're going to love it. And everybody understands that this is rare. I called it rare as chicken teeth. And it was that rare. Just floating out in oblivion and one day fell into Kilby Spencer's computer and he sent them to my computer by email. I put them on a cd to play at the station. It never seemed right that I be the only one in the county to have this music, when it bespeaks some bluegrass musicians among us who can get the job done. Cleve and Jr never recorded. This is it of what has been found to date. There must be some old reel-to-reels in a box in somebody's house and nobody knows who it is. Maybe more will surface in future. For now, I'm happy with what we have. It being so rare and so essential to have these gems of some of the county's musicians, I needed to get them out in the county to the people who love this music and know these musicians. All of them could have been pro except for all the time on the road, getting by on hamburgers and coffee and indigestion, being away from home for a job that doesn't pay hardly enough to buy the gas to the next town.



On the way home I went through Pine Swamp and stopped at the Blue Ridge Gallery to leave copies with Melia and Judy, Claude Edwards's girls, Jr's cousin, and their mother came in and she got one. She'd known Jr about all her life and thought a great deal of him. After awhile a man came in with a couple of women. I've seen him at the Jubilee, at the Hillbilly Show, the Mountain Heritage Festival, meaning he likes this music and probably knew all the musicians. I went out to the car and brought in a copy. I walked up to him and handed it to him telling him what it was. He knew my name and I didn't know his. Turned out he knew Cleve and Jr. His new car has a cd player, so he can't play his cassettes and feels at a loss for music in the car. All the better. He told me I lived up there by Tom Pruitt. He knew Tom well and we talked about him for awhile. I like to talk about Tom with people who knew him as much as I like to talk with people who knew Jr. It brings them back a little bit. It's been a trouble free day full of joy all day long putting this good music in the hands of people I know love it.

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