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Saturday, February 25, 2012


taylor rorrer and doug rorrer

the hungry hash house ramblers

scott freeman

edwin lacy

taylor rorrer

taylor rorrer

doug rorrer

Again, the Hungry Hash House Ramblers lit up the night in Woodlawn, Virginia, at Willard Gayheart's Front Porch Gallery. Doug and Taylor Rorrer drove from Eden, NC, north of Greensboro toward the Virginia line. Charlie Poole country. Doug is Poole's great nephew and Poole's fiddler Posey Rorrer's great nephew, too. Taylor has Posey Rorrer's fiddle. They play respect for Charlie Poole. They have also put together the annual Charlie Poole Festival at Eden. Doug has a recording studio in his house and a label, Flyin' Cloud, for acoustic traditional music of the NW North Carolina region, largely, though not entirely. It's a good label with quite a catalog of some good music from the region between the mountains and Eden, and beyond.

Doug told me during intermission that he only does on-line business any more with his cd sales. Two of the cds in the catalog are by the Hungry Hash House Ramblers. If you love good music, both are must-haves. The first one was with Doug's wife, Taylor's mother, Kathy, playing bass and singing Summertime in such a way she made the song her own, the way Joe Cocker took She Came In Thru The Bathroom Window away from the Beatles and made it his own, and Jimi Hendrix took All Along The Watchtower from Bob Dylan every bit as definitively. It doesn't happen often. Taylor's love is Courtney Burroughs, who was here with HHHR last time they came. She had to work tonight. Dern. I wanted to hear her fiddle, and hear her sing The Streets Of London, again. She made that song her own as much as Hendrix and Cocker did with their covers. Courtney brings the song to life. She sings it from her heart. You can find her singing the song with HHHR on YouTube. It's listed by song title and by band name. Taylor and Courtney are the John and Yoko of facebook this month. It's truly charming to see expressions of their love pop up on facebook from time to time. 

The first time I heard the band on stage was in Jefferson at a monthly show put on at an auditorium there. Scott and Willard's band, Alternate Roots, opened for the guest band. That night it was the Hungry Hash House Ramblers. Scott is on mandolin and Edwin the banjo. It was a great show that night. An hour of Alternate Roots, then an hour of HHHR. That's worth driving to Winston-Salem for to see at Ziggy's. The part I don't get, and at the same time I do, is the audiences for this music are so small. This music is very much a living art form. The better the art, the smaller the audience. Kathy was with them that night. These four people, Doug, Taylor, Scott and Edwin are, every one, what I think of as master musicians. The musicianship tonight made the tunes soar. The music had a smooth, driving flow about it, a little like riding a horse, but not physically, imagining it. They played several Charlie Poole songs, and the special one, Hungry Hash House Blues. The beafsteak it was rare and the butter had red hair, the baby had it's feet both in the soup. Doug adores the old Charlie Poole songs and he sings them well in his own manner, nothing like imitating Poole, which can't be done.

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