Wednesday, December 30, 2015
The Force was definitely with us last night. Our numbers were way down. Because of the holidays and other things, half the band couldn't make it, but those who did show up also stepped up. Sam St. Clair and his harmonica handled most of the solos. Michelle Lewis and Charlie Bowen took on the vocals and our own Jedi master, Randy Hamilton, did double duty on vocals and bass solos. All in all it was a stellar evening.
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Well, this is Tuesday, our usual rehearsal night, but last-minute holiday preparations have many our members too busy to pick, so we're taking the night off. But here on the podcast we can still observe the winter solstice with a tune from a session several weeks ago. As you may recall, a dear friend, Floodster Emeritus Jacob Scarr, was home from Colorado recently to have Thanksgiving with friends and family here, and we had a delightful evening of music with him. Many a Dylan tune was played, including this seldom-covered number that now seems oddly appropriate this evening as we await morning on this longest night of the year. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays from your friends in The Flood.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Around here we say whatever two or more gather in its name, it is The 1937 Flood. Well, last night surely tested that proposition. Illnesses and family and work obligations whittled down our numbers considerably. Out of our seven members, heck, we barely had a quorum. In fact, we considered canceling the evening, but, wait a minute -- Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin both had driven a ways to get there. There were cookies on the table and coffee in the pot. Everybody was tuned up and ready to play, so we decided to see what would develop. And we were glad we did.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
One of the things we're thankful for is that often this time of year our old buddy Jacob Scarr comes home for a visit, as he did this year, and last night he sat in with us. Jacob started playing with The Flood nine years ago and was a regular member of the band until four years ago when he left Huntington for college in Boulder, Colorado, where he still lives today. He was just 14 when he started his Floodster career, so we've sort of watched him grow up. We've also listened to him get just better and better on that guitar. Last night, Jacob borrowed a flat pick from Doug Chaffin and jumped right into the mix. Listen here as Doug switches from guitar to fiddle and trades new musical ideas with Jacob on this old Flood standard, "Summertime."
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Every once in a while, we do a song for all the English majors out there. This one -- a 1972 composition called "Jugband Song" by the legendary David Bromberg -- is a favorite warmup tune for The Flood. In fact, we put it on a CD a dozen years ago, and we've been playing it ever since. Now, for our friends in the English Department, the song lyric opens with a lot of cool water imagery and four (count 'em, four!) back-to-back similes, commenting on the subject's eyes, lips, body and soul. Check it out.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
In The Flood, we're always trying new things and these days, in our latest incarnation, vocal harmonies are especially interesting to us. It's certainly understanding, considering that our two newest members -- Paul Martin and Randy Hamilton -- are both excellent singers, in addition, of course, to being first-rate instrumentalists. Last weekend, when we played a show on the Valley Gem riverboat as she sailed down the Ohio, we had two Floodsters out sick and those strong voices really saved the show. Here's a sample of the vocal harmonies from last night's rehearsal as we worked on a tune that is likely to be on our next CD when we begin working on it this fall.
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
As we've said before, sometimes we let tunes get away from us. We'll do 'em for years, and then for some reason, they just drift out of the lineup. Here's in a case in point, a wonderful old Duke Ellington number that we used to play in nearly every show. Well, last night we were in a nostalgic mood and, lo and behold, "Don't Get Around Much Any More" popped right back into our heads.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
We're having a beautiful fall here in the Ohio Valley. Well, shoot, all Appalachian autumns are gorgeous. But, as October 2015 rolls gently to its conclusion, the band was in a decidedly quiet autumnal mood last night, and nobody expressed it better than our Michelle Lewis.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
You know, in The Flood, we're all about that bass. For instance, last night, our band manager, Pamela Bowen, told a joke she'd found on Facebook about the therapeutic effects of bass playing when it comes to marriage counseling, of all things, before you knew it, the effects of that fine story carried over right into Randy Hamilton's bass solo in the very next tune we played. And... well, here -- listen for yourself.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
We were so pleased with a surprise visit last night by Joe Dobbs' daughter, Diane Johnson, who arrived with Margaret Ray bearing not only smiles and hugs and stories, but also some phenomenal homemade apple pie, still warm from the oven. Happy to sing for our supper, we played for an hour -- pretty amazing self-control, we thought -- 'til finally we couldn't wait any longer. This was the final pre-pie selection. If it seems a little faster than usual, well, you now know why.
Wednesday, October 7, 2015
If there was one of the great composers from the '20s and '30s whom we would resurrect in a heartbeat, it would have to be the incomparable Fats Waller. We've never met a Fats Waller tune we didn't love, especially this one. The late, great Joe Dobbs got The Flood playing "Ain't Misbehavin'" probably, oh, two decades ago now and it still shows up often at our rehearsals and our shows.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
For many years each spring, The Flood played one of its all-time favorite gigs, the Saturday morning breakfast session for the annual Coon-Sanders Nighthawks Bash, a gathering of traditional jazz fans in downtown Huntington. Those extraordinary players of Dixieland era music invited us to share a set of jug band tunes that come from the same happy time period. Sadly this venerable assembly discontinued a few years back, but fans missed it so much that good old Dale Jones has set up a Dixieland jam session this weekend and the Flood's on the bill! At our rehearsal earlier this week, we ran through some tunes for the set.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
We want to thank everybody who's been reaching out to us during this sad week. We're looking forward to making the transition that Joe Dobbs used to talk about, the one from mourning a death to celebrating a life, and we guess we started down the road last night when we came together to say our goodbyes to him.
Monday, September 21, 2015
We are heartbroken. And old friend and bandmate Joe Dobbs has passed away just weeks after his 81st birthday. Some some of us have known Joe for well over half our lives -- Joe was one of the three of us who founded The Flood more than 40 years -- and we are still a bit in shock, you'll understand. As a tribute, we thought we'd share with you, our extended Flood family, some Joe Dobbs moments from over the years. Joe, we don't know where we go from here without you, except that we know that we really *won't* be going on without you. You'll live in our hearts and minds as long as we live. You enriched our lives and times, and we will miss you. Rest in peace, dear friend.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
In music, it's sometimes those "throw-away" moments that you're still thinking about the next day. In The Flood, we've never really worked up a real arrangement of the great Hoagy Carmichael standard, "Georgia on My Mind." While we love it, it's always been just a warm-up number, a filler to play while waiting for another tune to come along. But from last night's rehearsal, it was still the song we were thinking of 18 hours later, and if that's not a candidate for the weekly podcast then nothing is!
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
The Flood doesn't do much commercial country music, but ever so often one of the classic country tunes seems to fall just naturally into a Flood groove. Not long ago, our Michelle Lewis started humming this wonderful old Johnny Cash standard and before long we were working up an arrangement. Here's where we stand on the "I Still Miss Someone" project.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
The Flood is pleased and honored to be invited once again to participate in the wonderful Diamond Teeth Mary Blues and Arts Festival this weekend in downtown Huntington. We're set to play Saturday afternoon at Heritage Station. Last night was a blues night at our weekly rehearsal and here's a great old Mississippi Sheiks tune we're working on the show. Come on downtown and party with us Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
We in the Family Flood makes our own legends, often with a little help from our friends, and sometimes the help, such as it is, is all by accident. Now, at last night's rehearsal, we got into a real Dylan mood, and we had been singing back-to-back tunes by Bobby for a half an hour or so when our old buddy Richard Cobb, on hand to listen to music, misheard a particular lyric and… well, take a listen to what happened next!
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
The Family Flood had a flat-out ball last weekend at our show in Trinity Episcopal. As Floodster Paul Martin observed afterward, we had truly a "musician's audience" on hand for that show, knowledgeable folks who applauded good solos and tight harmony as well as favorite tunes. We could have played for them all night. And Friday was also the night of a rare blue moon, a fact we didn't pick up on until the very last minute, but at least in time to revise our set list to include a little tribute to that lunar event. Here is the wrap-up of our first set on that enjoyable evening in downtown Huntington.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
We're excited about the show we'll do in downtown Huntington this Friday night at Trinity Episcopal Church. We play from 7 'til 8:30, and the program will feature new tunes as well as some old favorites. Here's one of the new ones we're working up, a beautiful piece called "Seven Bridges Road," featuring the vocals of our Paul Martin, Michelle Lewis and Randy Hamilton. Meanwhile, back on the other side of the musical spectrum, we do plan to also have a little history lesson, uh, Flood stye, all about George Washington and his ukulele…Remember we start at 7 at Trinity Episcopal, 520 11th Street in downtown Huntington. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
We're always looking for easy, happy little tunes that we can warm up on, songs that we can also also use for a soundcheck before a show. The best ones are those that let everybody just stretch out. We can pass it all around, and everybody gets a solo or two. Here's a perfect example. Now, this great old Blind Blake tune from the 1920s had almost gotten away from us. We used to play it a lot 10 years ago or so, but we hadn't it a quite a while. In fact, it occurred to us that our newer members -- Randy Hamilton and Paul Martin -- hadn't even heard it. Well, we fixed that -- right here.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
So, The Flood is currently preparing for a big show at the end of this month in downtown Huntington at Trinity Episcopal Church. Now, we don't get invited to play at such beautiful venues just every day, so we've been working on some special material. At last night's rehearsal, Randy Hamilton had just finished running through his gorgeous rendition of "Wayfarin' Stranger," which reminded Dave Peyton of joke about the passing through the pearly gates, which then inspired us to a tune that sorta matched the mood. Well, here -- take a listen for yourself!
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Every once in a while, you run across a melody that's just waiting for someone to make movie around it. It cries out to be a memorable soundtrack. We feel that way about this one. As soon as Doug Chaffin starting playing "The Lovers' Waltz," the beautiful composition Jay Ungar and Molly Mason wrote more than 30 years, we knew we had to add it The Flood repertoire. Now, we've just started learning this one, but part of the goal of these podcasts is to let you hear arrangements as they develop over time. So here it is: "The Lovers' Waltz, Take 1."
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Not long after the late Appalachian singer/songwriter Jean Ritchie wrote "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore," she performed it at a solo concert at Ashland Community College in Ashland, Ky., in the fall of 1966, and some of us were fortunate enough to be sitting in the front row. We still remember her introducing it by saying, "It's nice to play this tune for people who don't need to be told what the L & N is or why we care that it won't stop here anymore." We revisited the tune at the end of last night's rehearsal.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Last night was a fun, goofy sort of evening at the rehearsal when everything that's usually fast went a little slower and everything usually slow got kicked up a notch or two. Like this one. Now, the first song that Michelle Lewis ever sang in public with The Flood was "Moonglow." That was about a decade ago at a gig up in the mountains of Snowshoe, West Virginia, in Pocahontas County. For that show, as we recall, we played the great old jazz standard in the traditional way, a slow, sweet ballad. But last night… well, last night "Moonglow" had gotten several shots of caffeine by the end of the evening and was pulling into the fast lane.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
One of the wonderful things about the folk tradition in music is that you learn so much from people you know, from relatives sometimes, but more often -- at least for folks in our generation -- from good friends. For Dave Peyton and me, long before we formed The Flood, one of those oh-so-important friends was Terry Goller, a remarkable singer and guitar player who taught our whole community about folk music. Terry was on several local popular radio shows, was often teaching guitar at music shops and performing at parties and at local folk venues -- quite busy, but he always had time show us a few licks and to tell us the history of the tunes he was playing. Terry died more than 30 years ago, but he's still often on our minds. In fact, one of the songs we're working on these days tracing back directly to Terry. The first time I ever heard Eric Andersen's "Dusty Boxcar Walls," it was being sung by Terry and his buddy Dave Bias in the late 1960s at a coffeehouse near Marshall University where they were both students. Thinking of you, Terry.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Last night was the first rehearsal we'd had since we learned of the death of the great Kentucky singer/songwriter Jean Ritchie. Some of the first songs The Flood ever played when the band came together in the mid-1970s were Jean Ritchie songs. And the older members of the band still talk about being at folk festivals at which she was the star attraction. In fact, some of us even remember sitting in Nancy McClellan's living room in the late 1960s and listening to Jean tell stories about her early days when she was a young girl who had made her way from Viper, Kentucky, to New York City as the folk music boom was just getting started. So, last night, it seemed fitting to end the evening with our favorite Jean Ritchie composition.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Well, there was a hole in this week, because we didn't have a rehearsal last night. Everybody was just sort of busy after last weekend's gig. It's always a bit disappointing when we don't get our weekly Flood fix. But this does give us an opportunity to think back on the fine time we had at The V Club last month, and we thought you might like to hear a little from our night as guests of the wonderful Huntington Blues Society. Now, the quality of the recording is not the greatest, of course, but it does capture some of the fun of that rowdy evening in downtown Huntington.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The Flood has been booked to play a private party this weekend in connection with the celebration of a new marriage, so last night we looked through our storehouse of music for our most joyous tunes. One of the first we decided on was this great old jazz standard, "Bye Bye Blues." Les Paul and Mary Ford made it famous in 1952, but it's been recorded by everybody from Count Basie and Benny Goodman to Brenda Lee and Liberace to Hank Snow and Merle Travis. It may be "Bye Bye Blues," but it's hardly bye bye to the song itself. It's obviously got staying power. We wish the same to the happy couple!
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
The Flood is honored and pleased to be playing at The V Club tonight in downtown Huntington, guests of the The Huntington Blues Society. And it's an especially good night because we'll also be trying to raise some money to help the victims of this spring's catastrophic earthquake in Nepal. Our buddy, Chris Sutton, the local blues legend, has a direct connection to one of the victims there. Now, that alone should be reason enough to draw you out, but you need a little further incentive, check this out. Harmonicat Jim Rumbaugh of the Huntington Harmonica Club says he plans to raise few more dollars by dancing to the band. He says a dollar a dance is what he'll charge or pay. "I'll probably spend all my lunch money," Jim says, "but shoot, it's a good cause!" So, come on down at 7 o'clock to 741 6th Ave. and bring your dollars for dancing with Jim!
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Our good friend, Chris Sutton, has invited The Flood to play at the Huntington Blues Society's gathering at the V Club downtown next week, so in our rehearsal last night, we dusted off a few tunes for the set. But we'd almost finished the evening when we realized we'd left off the list one of our favorite blues, The Mississippi Sheiks' version of "Sittin' on Top of the World." Well, here's the number and our vote to include it in next Wednesday evening's program.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Funny how these things work out. A few weeks ago, our newest compadre, Paul Martin, asked, "Hey, has The Flood ever done that old tune, 'It's a Wonderful World'?" Well, as a matter of fact, years ago we DID play around with that song for a while, but it was only as an instrumental. That's because it was long before Michelle Lewis joined us, meaning the old days when none of us felt up to the vocal requirements of that particular number. So lately, at Paul's suggestion, we've trotted "Wonderful World" out again, and take a listen to it now with Michelle and her beautiful voice front and center.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
We tried out a lot of new tunes at the rehearsal last night. In fact, we might have overdone it a little, on the basic theory that if you throw something at the wall and it sticks, you might try it again next week. Well, after all that experimentation, it was good to come back to an old, familiar friend. This tune by Walt Aldridge is one of our favorites, especially to end a fun evening with.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
It seems like it's taken forever for the rolling hills of West Virginia to actually get green this year. Winter just hung on and spring flowering was at least three weeks late. But at last the hills are a beautiful emerald green, and last night The Flood celebrated the season with this solemn but gorgeous classic by Bruce Phillips and Hazel Dickens.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
We have lots of great memories of attending folk festivals over the years, and one of the fondest is of hearing the original Red Clay Ramblers back in the mid-1970s. A few years after the band was formed, the guys drove up from North Carolina to play a festival in Greenup County, Kentucky/. We still remember sitting on the ground in the front that stage, hanging on every note. A highlight of the evening was hearing them sing "Twisted Laurel," an original composition by West Virginia native son Tommy Thompson, who was the Ramblers banjo player. It's hard to believe Tommy's been gone a dozen years now -- he passed away in 2003 -- but his beautiful tune lives on, and it is deep in the musical DNA of The Flood.
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
If you're a history nut, one of the things you remember in early April is the anniversary of the 1912 sinking of The Titanic. But history also teaches you that there's more than one way to see historical events. For African Americans, for instance, the Titanic and other ocean liners of that era were great symbols of discrimination. As a rule, they welcomed no black passengers. In fact, there's a famous story of the great African-American boxer Jack Johnson being denied passage on a ship because of his race. That ship wasn't The Titanic, but years later when Lead Belly was composing his rather ironic tribute to the 1912 disaster, he couldn't resist bringing Jack Johnson into a starring role in the song, though Lead Belly later noted he sometimes left out those verses when he sang in front of white audiences. Well, The Flood's begun rehearsing the song, and, as you'll hear, we're proud to have Mr. Johnson on board with us.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
In Floodland, Tuesday is the new Wednesday. After decades of having our weekly rehearsals on Wednesdays, we've moved to a new night, and for a very good reason. For a while now, we've been angling to have an extraordinary musician, Paul Martin, join us on our musical excursions, but Paul has a standing commitment to his church on Wednesday evenings. Finally, we figured out a new strategy. We said, "Uh, whatcha doing on Tuesdays, Paul?" Well, last night was our first Tuesday outing and it was a blast. Here's a sample, with Paul singing the lead on a Bob Dylan song we've loved for many years.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Well, we hadn't seen each other for a few weeks, and Sam St. Clair said he was concerned that his harmonica playing had suffered in the interim. But as we think this last tune of the evening testifies, his chops are still fully functional. As we say around here, when it comes to the blues, our man Sam speaks for all of us.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Well, we almost didn't have a quorum last night. Doug Chaffin, Randy Hamilton and I were only ones on hand, and we were about ready to call the whole thing off when suddenly Chuck Romine showed up and saved the evening. Here's a tune that features Chuck and his tenor banjo, which on a good night can just be a party unto itself.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Our fever -- cabin fever, that is -- finally broke last night. Taking advantage of what we fear is an all-too-temporary thaw in this relentless winter, a quorum of Floodsters came together last night for a joyous little reunion. A few hours together was just the antidote we needed for the wintertime blahs, and we celebrated by trying out some new songs and revisiting some old ones we've long neglected. Here's Michael Lewis trying on a classic folk song that's older than all of us.
Thursday, February 19, 2015
It's way too cold and snowy 'round here right now to ask anyone to come out, even for music, so we canceled last night's rehearsal. Digging back through recent sessions, though, we've found a track that might warm you up bit. We love this old jug band tune, but we've had some incidents with it too. For instance, at a gig up in Wood County a few years ago, Charlie kicked the song off in G, which is, well, a few notches higher than we usually do it, and we damn-near hurt ourselves. If we ever start playing this song in your presence, kindly help us remember it should be in D, as it is on this track.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
An our old friend, Floodster Emeritus Chuck Romine, came in from the cold last night and sat in with us playing the newest addition to his musical family. It's a sweet and mellow little Martin tenor guitar that was just right for the folky tunes that were on our minds on that winter's evening. Listen to Chuck's solos on this one, "Abilene." Also, before he left for the night, Chuck favored us with tune he'd just learned, a George Burns' classic called "Old Bones." The band had never played the song before, so we poked along behind him until by the end we'd found a bit of a groove.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Well, now, who knew that yesterday's anniversary of the 1937 flood (the natural disaster, not the band) would fall on National Kazoo Day? Well, hell, who knew there was a National Kazoo Day? Carter Taylor Seaton, that's who, a woman whose great sense and perception are actually perhaps illustrated by many better examples than this one. Nonetheless, this is the one she and her husband Richard brought to us at last night's rehearsal session. And when Carter and Richard pointed out this momentous intersection of events, we had to pause to reflect and then to offer up a couple of tunes to further feature The Flood's pre-eminent kazoo guru, Mister David Peyton.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
We start with Joe Dobbs playing a tune called "Blackberry Blossom." It was a favorite song of our dear friend, the late Nancy McClellan, whom we lost 15 months ago. Nancy was much on our minds last night because her birthday was this week -- she would have been 82 last Monday. Nancy was a life-long lover of a music, especially fiddle tunes. She couldn't teach us how to play -- Nancy didn't play an instrument -- but she surely did teach us how to listen! We feature another tune she always asked Joe to play, the beautiful ballad, "Ash Grove." But Nancy was never stuck in the past. She was always eager to hear new tunes. We can still remember the night she first heard the lovely Irish melody, "South Wind," just two years ago on a cold night like last night. Grinning, her eyes sparkling, she said, "Play that again, Joe, would you?" So we wrap up with one more for you, Nancy. We miss you, love.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Because of the holidays and then the general wintertime yuckiness, we hadn't seen each other for a few weeks, so last night's rehearsal was a bit of a celebration. And when The Flood celebrates, we usually default to some silly, upbeat blues tune. For instance, we kicked off the whole evening by reaching back to a song we recorded on our second CD more than a dozen years ago. Our hero, the great guitarist David Bromberg, put this tune together back in the 1970s as a tribute to his heroes. For instance, its key line -- "when I ask for a water, she brings me gasoline" -- is a shout-out to the blues legend Howlin' Wolf.
Thursday, January 8, 2015
It was waaaay too cold to ask folks to come out last night, so we had to cancel our regular weekly rehearsal. It's always disappointing when we can't have the music, but this does give us a chance to serve up a second helping from our last get-together. We had a lot of great comments about our Christmas show. You may recall that we were able to have a little reunion with guitarist Jacob Scarr, who was home from college for the holidays. A couple of nights before Christmas, Jacob, Randy Hamilton and Charlie Bowen were joined by Randy Brown, Jim Rumbaugh and Karen Combs for a great evenings of laughs and tunes. So, for everyone who's asked for a little more of that "Jacob Evening," here's a late Christmas present.