Thursday, August 26, 2010
Our good friend Richard Cobb says our weekly jam session reminds him of an old-fashioned "happening." Every week, the music that happens is solely determined by who walks through the door that night. And last night was a good example. About a third of The Flood couldn't make the session, but those of us who did were joined by buddies who came just to sit in for the evening, good folks like Jim Rumbaugh on harmonica and Randy Brown on guitar. All that music got stirred up and the next thing you know, we were whipping up a new batch of "Somebody Stole My Girl."
Thursday, August 19, 2010
It was on the good old steamboat Delta Queen that we first met Missouri folksingers Cathy Barton and Dave Para. Most recently, Dave and Cathy shared the stage with us at a concert in Fairmont, W.Va., then a couple of weeks later, on the way home to Boonville, Mo., from Virginia, they stopped to spend the evening with us and shared a few tunes at the Wednesday night jam session. Cathy and Dave know a passel of riverboat songs. Here's a sweet one from Mary Wheeler's 1944 collection of roustabout tunes called "Steamboatin' Days."
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Fiddler and educator John Harrod once called the fiddle tune "Martha Campbell" the Kentucky national anthem. The haunting melody does seem to have a remarkable resonance for the fiddlers of the Bluegrass State. It was one of the first tunes recorded by the great Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts back in 1925. Researchers believe Roberts learned it at least 10 years earlier from his mentor, the African-American fiddler Owen Walker of Madison County, Ky. The Flood's Joe Dobbs has been playing "Martha Campbell" for decades now, and recently when our banjo-picking buddy Judy Jones was visiting from Australia, she and Joe dusted off the tune again.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Trumpeter Cootie Williams wrote and sang this novelty tune back in 1938 when it was recorded by Duke Ellington's orchestra. The Flood did it regularly five years ago or so, but only recently have we dusted it off again. We forgot how much fun it is to play. Now, our harmonicat Sam St. Clair often says about our racier songs that they're actually just "about food," but, hey, this one really is. Or, at least, we THINK it's about food...