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.