Across the Blue Ridge #129 - Interesting Rarely Heard Recordings

Across the Blue Ridge #129 - Interesting Rarely Heard Recordings

4:00pm Jun 08, 2018
Unidentified musicians, Memphis, c. 1935. This week’s Across the Blue Ridge episode features some well known and some nearly unknown traditional musicians in a listening session that brings us sounds we seldom hear today.
Ben Shahn for Farm Security Administration. Public domain.

A listening session this week features brilliant southern mountain and piedmont musicians of the past who don’t get a lot of exposure on radio these days.  Listen to fiddler John Ashby and his Free State Ramblers from northern Virginia; the often wild-sounding banjo player and singer George Pegram with fiddler Fred Cockerham of North Carolina; a mysterious couple, William and Versey Smith, their geographic origin uncertain – was it Texas or North Carolina? – who recorded briefly and, like many others in the 1920s, largely disappeared after the Great Depression began.  The fiddler John Salyer from Kentucky graces us with a beautiful rendition of “Billy In The Lowground” through a scratchy yet deeply moving home recording. There are many more in this week’s episode whose music speaks of times before recording and radio both disseminated traditional music broadly and helped to homogenize its sound.

Playlist

  1. Rickett's Hornpipe
    John Ashby & The Free State Ramblers
    John Ashby
    Field Recorders Collective FRC
     
  2. Going To The Free State
    John Ashby & The Free State Ramblers
    John Ashby
    Field Recorders Collective FRC
     
  3. Cluck Old Hen
    John Ashby & The Free State Ramblers
    John Ashby
    Field Recorders Collective FRC
     
  4. Arkansas Traveler
    George Pegram
    Good Old Mountain Dew
    Washington
     
  5. Johnson's Old Gray Mule
    George Pegram
    George Pegram
    Rounder
     
  6. Where Could I Go But To The Lord
    George Pegram
    George Pegram
    Rounder
     
  7. Mountain Sally Ann
    George Pegram
    George Pegram
    Rounder
     
  8. Break 1 - Cripple Creek
    George Pegram and Red Parham
    Good Old Mountain Dew
    Washington
     
  9. Brown's Dream
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
    Down Home
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
     
  10. Blue Eyed Angel
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
    Down Home
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
     
  11. Little Gal'l Fool Me
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
    Down Home
    Roan Mountain Hilltoppers
     
  12. When That Great Ship Went Down
    William & Versey Smith
    The Songster Tradition
    Document
     
  13. Church Bells Blues #1
    Luke Jordan
    The Songster Tradition
    Document
     
  14. Moanin' The Blues
    Allen Shaw
    Times Like They Used To Be Vol. 2
    Yazoo
     
  15. Break 2 - Ella's Grave
    Neriah Benfield
    Masters of Old Time Country Autoharp
    Smithsonian Folkways
     
  16. Freight Train
    Verlen Clifton, Frank Bode, Ginger Bode
    Wanted! The Toast String Stretchers
    Toast String Stretchers
     
  17. London City Where I Did Dwell
    Morgan Sexton
    Shady Grove
    June Appal
     
  18. Billy In The Lowground
    John Salyer
    John Morgan Salyer V. 1
    Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, Berea College
     
  19. The Cuckoo
    Jean Ritchie
    Mountain Hearth & Home
    Elektra
     
  20. The Gospel Train
    Belleville A Cappella Choir
    Southern Journey Volume 1
    Rounder