Wednesday, March 30, 2016
In the genealogy of great songs, "Roxanna Waltz" has royal bloodlines indeed. Bill Monroe wrote it. Kentucky fiddler Kenny Baker made it famous on his "Master Fiddler" album. Our Doug Chaffin learned it from his life-long friend, the late J.P. Fraley. When Doug and Paul Martin tried on the tune last night, it was a special moment, which we're happy to share with you.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Back when The Flood was just getting started more than 40 years ago, we were amazed to find that one of the best new songs about West Virginia was recorded by a North Carolina band, the wonderful Red Clay Ramblers. Well, when we dug a little deeper, we found out why. "Twisted Laurel," the title track of The Ramblers' third album (released in 1976), was written by none other than Tommy Thompson who was born and raised just a few miles away from us in St. Albans, West Virginia, near Charleston. Well, Tommy passed away 13 years ago, but he's still lovingly remembered here in The Mountain State. In fact, he was posthumously inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2010. And his great composition, "Twisted Laurel," will always be a Flood favorite.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
We had a houseful last night -- old friends and some first-time listeners -- and that always turns the weekly rehearsal into a party. It's also when we reach for the old songs that make us smile, tunes that are as comfortable as an old shoe and let us sit back and enjoy each other's company, like this 1929 Frank Stokes composition that blues legend Pink Anderson made famous enough for Jim Kweskin and Ry Cooder to later record it as well. "I Got Mine." Hope you got yours.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
We're often thinking about the great singers and songwriters who have come out of West Virginia and almost always our first thought is of Billy Edd Wheeler, the phenomenal singer/songwriter/writer/artist who was born in Whitesville, in neighboring Boone County 83 years ago. Billy Edd's many tunes include "Jackson," with which Johnny Cash and June Carter scored a Grammy in 1968, "The Reverend Mr. Black," which was a hit for The Kingston Trio in 1963, "Coming of the Roads," which Judy Collins made famous in 1965 and "Coward of the County," which even inspired a 1981 TV movie of the same name. But our all-time favorite Billy Edd song is one that's embedded deep in West Virginia culture: "Coal Tattoo."
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
On his way home from a fancy do last night, Floodster Emeritus Chuck Romine dropped by the Flood rehearsal to show off the ukulele that literally saved his life 65 years ago. Listen to Chuck tell the story himself. After that, of course, Chuck had to sit in with us for the rest of the night. Here he joins on the last tune of the evening, "Wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate!"