Archive for the ‘recordings’ Category

“Sobre las Olas” (Southern Waltz #13)

November 20, 2011

Juventino Rosas

Over The Waves (Sobre Las Olas) is probably the best known waltz in the South and Southwest, and in tejano music. Though sometimes thought to be a Strauss waltz, “Over the Waves” was the best-known work of Juventino Rosas (1868-1894), a pure-blooded Otomi Indian from Mexico. Rosas grew up playing violin in his father’s wandering string band in Mexico City, and by the time he was 15 he was good enough to take a job with a touring opera company. After a miserable stint in the army, he returned to Mexico City to try to eke out a living writing drawing room pieces for a local publishing company.

One of these was “Sobre Las Olas,” published in 1891; though it quickly became popular and was picked up by fiddlers all along the border, Rosas himself received little tangible rewards for it. In desperation, he joined a traveling road show, and wound up in Havana, where he caught a fever and died. He was only 26. His song lived on, though; soon it was being played by early jazzmen in New Orleans and even by Italian accordion players in New York.   (from

Tony Russell’s Country Music Records lists 19 old time recordings of “Over the Waves” between 1921-1942.  This one has not been surpassed:

 “Over the Waves,” by the Kessinger Bros.

Feb. 4, 1929, New York, NY


The New Apocalypsonians

November 13, 2011

Jennifer Steckler calling with Zac Johnson, Jeff Golay, and Dave Grace, 11/12 at the Montague Square Dance.

Jim Burns, Alex Scala, and Eddie Nix

The New Apocalypsonians play “Green Valley Waltz”:

The Southern Waltz (#12)

November 13, 2011

“The Merry Widow Waltz,” by The Leake County Revelers

April 27, 1928, New Orleans, LA

Are You From Dixie?

November 12, 2011

by Bill Dillof

ARE YOU FROM DIXIE, composed by Jack Yellen (lyrics) and George L. Cobb in 1915, tells of the chance meeting between a  southerner temporarily up north and a southern expatriate, who is reminded of his old home far away. One of the more popular songs among southern rural artists, it was recorded by Ernest Thompson (1924), The Young Brothers (1928), The Poplin-Woods Tennessee String Band (1928), The Prairie Ramblers (1937) and The Blue Sky Boys (1939).

Hello, there, stranger, how do you do?

There’s something I’d like to say to you

You seem surprised, I recognize

I’m no detective, but I just surmised

You’re from the place I’m longing to be

Your smiling face seems to say to me

You’re from my homeland, my sunny homeland

Tell me can it be?



Are you from Dixie, you say from Dixie

Where the fields of cotton beckon to me

I’m glad to see you, tell me I’ll be you

And the friends I’m longing to see

Are you from Alabama, Tennessee or Caroline

Anyplace below the Mason-Dixon Line

Are you from Dixie, you say from Dixie

‘Cause I’m from Dixie too



It was way back in old eighty-nine

When I first crossed that Mason-Dixon Line

Gee, but I’ve yearned, longed to return

To all those good folks I’ve left behind

My home is way down in old Alabam

On a plantation near Birmingham

And there’s one thing certain – I’m surely flirtin’

With those southbound trains, etc.



The Blue Sky Boys sing “Are You From Dixie?”

The Blue Sky Boys

The Southern Waltz (#11)

November 6, 2011

Jacks Creek Waltz,” by Doc Roberts

March 15, 1929, Richmond, IN

From Mali to America

November 3, 2011

Cheik Hamala Diabate and Bob Carlin (5-String Productions, 2008)

Two master music makers — one from Mali in West Africa, the other from the United States — join together in a cross-cultural program that creates a musical dialogue between two traditions. From Mali to America blends the musical traditions of West Africa and America. Since the American banjo grew from Western African roots, this exploration should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that it has taken this long for the ngoni and banjo to join together to explore and illuminate this obscure corner of American musical history. This collaboration by masters from two musical cultures features a dialogue that blends seamlessly and demonstrates the common roots of their music and instruments.    (from

Diabate and Carlin play “Konkoba:”

Also below is an ngoni/clawhammer banjo duet between Bassekou Kouyate and Dirck Westervelt from “In Griot Time” (Stern’s Africa, 2000).

Kouyate and Westerveldt play “Wild Goose Chase:”

Early Records of Oldtime Music From East Tennessee

November 2, 2011

A photo of participants in the Mountain City, Tennessee Fiddler’s Convention of 1925

Richard Blaustein’s “Talking Fiddle” site includes recordings, photos, and history related to fiddlers   Am Stuart, J.D. Harris, Charlie Bowman, John Dykes, G.B. Grayson, Jimmy McCarroll, Allen Sisson, the Tenneva Ramblers, the Allen Bros., Clarence Ashley, Ridgel’s Fountain Citians, Tennessee Ramblers, and Vance’s Tennessee Breakdowners.


Charlie Bowman by Richard Blaustein 


Charles Thomas Bowman was born in Gray Station, Washington County, Tennessee on July 30, 1889. Playing old time music was a major form of home entertainment for country people throughout the United States and Canada in those days.

Like Clark Kessinger, little Charlie Bowman started out on banjo but soon switched to fiddle. His first fiddle cost $4.5O; fifty cents was a full days wages for a farmhand at that time.

All but one of the nine Bowman children played music; Charlie and his brothers would later record together as The Bowman Brothers. Charlie made his first recording in 1908 — on an Edison cylinder phonograph owned by a neighbor! The Bowman Brothers started playing at local dances and other events. They soon began to get paid for playing music; each of them got seventy-five cents,an impressive amount of money back then.

In 1920 Charlie entered a fiddle contest in nearby Johnson City. First place went to Clayton McMichen, a great North Georgia fiddler who later went on to record with Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett, among others. Charlie took second place, winning thirty dollars! He then entered and won so many fiddle contests in East Tennessee and the surrounding region that other fiddlers started to complain about him!

A revival of interest in old time fiddling was growing all across the United States by that time. In 1923 Victor Records offered Charlie Bowman a recording contract, which he turned down. Al Hopkins was so impressed when he heard Charlie play at a Johnson City fiddle contest that he invited Bowman to join the Original Hillbillies, who were already recording for Okeh. Bowman turned down his offer.

But in 1925, Hopkins and Bowman met again at a now historic fiddle contest in Mountain City in remote Johnson County, the easternmost county in the state.
Getting to Mountain City is still not an easy task today, and one can only imagine what it was like to travel there in old fashioned automobiles over narrow primitive roads back in 1925, Nonetheless a number of major figures in early country music managed to get there, including Fiddlin John Carson, who came up all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. East Tennessee fiddlers swept the contest. Dudley Vance from
Chinquapin Grove near Bluff City in Sullivan County took first prize; Charlie Bowman from Gray Station in Washington County took second place, and the very first Tennessee fiddler to make commercial recordings, Uncle Am Stuart from Morristown in Hamblen County, came in third.

Al Hopkins and the Origina Hillbillies were also there. Hopkins invited Bowman to join the Hillbillies again, and this time Bowman accepted. Country music was taking off, and The Hillbillies were very popular. Charlie and The Hillbillies cut several records for Vocalion in New York City, where they also played on local radio and made lucrative appearances at vaudeville theaters.At the height of their popularity, The Hillbillies played for President Calvin Coolidge and also appeared in a short film.

By 1928, though, Charlie Bowman went back home to East Tennessee. That same year Frank Walker of Columbia Records set up a makeshift studio in Johnson City
and advertised for local talent in area newspapers. Charlie and his brothers auditioned for Walker and recorded a number of classic old time songs and tunes for Columbia.

When Frank Walker returned to Johnson City in 1929, the Bowman Brothers made more records for Columbia; that same year Charlie and his daughters Pauline and Jennie traveled up to New York City and cut several records for Vocalion. Unlike many early old time performers, Charlie continued to work as a professional country entertainer through the Great Depression and the austerity years of World War II,
Charlie Bowman finally retired from show business in 1957, He died on May 8, 1962.

See previous Charlie Bowman post.

Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers

October 31, 2011

Please check out Paul Mitchel’s digital collection of recordings by Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers here.  Thanks to Paul Mitchel and Ann Moffett for permission to share the following.

From Paul Mitchel:

Years ago, I started posting 78’s of the Taylor-Griggs Lousiana Melody Makers (a fairly obscure band at the time) on my UNC website  (, they should still be there).  One of the cuts, “Sweet Rose of Heaven” had been included on one of the New World Records (“Going Down the Valley”) which was available in my local library. The others were ordered from Joe Bussard (those were the days; Joe would send me a 90 minute cassette of gems, and losers, which I’d chosen from his, slightly incomprehensible, mimeographed lists – just 50 cents a cut! This was years before the Document revolution, and Joe’s tapes sounded much better anyways).

       One day soon after, I received a letter from Ann Moffett, the daughter of one of the players.  She was amazed to find the material online, as her mother had only two of the 78’s, and they were quite worn out.  We corresponded back and forth, and consequently I was able to send her the full set of their recordings on a playable CD.  When Jon asked me for some information on the Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers, I asked Ann if she’d mind me re-telling some of the stories she told me concerning the family (this is all from 2006, so some of it might now be out of date).

Ann told me she might take a look at the blog if it’s published, so now’s the time to ask your questions (thanks Ann!).

From Ann Moffet:

Just as a little background, I am the daughter of Ione who played guitar with the above band.  My mother, Ione, passed away in 1982. You will remember one of the recorded songs is named “Ione.”  (Paul: and it’s a polka, at that!)  The band recorded 10 songs that were released on 78s. They made several others which were not released.

I think it is ironic that you are in North Carolina and have these recordings since my grandfather, Robert C. Grigg who started this band, was born in Cleveland County, North Carolina, moving to Louisiana in 1874 at a very young age. (Paul: I believe his full name was Robert Crowder Grigg, b. Feb 24, 1870, d. Mar 3, 1943.  According to the Bienville, La. records).

I have on paper information where my uncle, Ausie Grigg, was interviewed.  I will go through it and pick out the highlights and send to you. (more…)

The Southern Waltz (#10)

October 30, 2011

by Robert Crumb

The Southern Waltz #10

Sweet Rose of Heaven,” by Taylor-Griggs Louisiana Melody Makers

Sept. 13, 1928, Memphis, TN

Roscoe Holcomb

October 26, 2011

John Cohen’s new film, “Roscoe Holcomb: From Daisy, Kentucky” is out.  It has been released by Shanachie Video and is available for purchase by CLICKING HERE.

The film has been packaged by Shanachie as “The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb.”  The DVD includes John’s new film about Roscoe as well as his classic 1962 film about Holcomb, “The High Lonesome Sound.”

From liner notes to “The High Lonesome Sound,” notes by John Cohen.

Listen to Roscoe Holcomb sing “The Village Churchyard”:

The Southern Waltz (#9)

October 23, 2011

The Southern Waltz #9

“My Isle of Golden Dreams,”by Charlie and Ira Stripling

March 12, 1936, New Orleans, LA

Berea College Kentucky Fiddle Tune Archive

October 22, 2011

Edited from:

The field recordings of musician-researchers Bruce Greene, Steve Green, John Harrod, Barbara Kunkle, Steve Rice, and Jeff Titon are especially strong in documenting Kentucky’s older generation fiddlers. In many instances the fiddle tunes and playing styles that they have documented date well back into the 1800s. Predominant tune sources for the fiddlers they recorded include minstrel stage music, Civil War military music, and the dance music of Britain, Ireland, and in some instances, France and Germany. Nonetheless real but less well documented, are the musical interchanges with African and Native Americans.

A useful perspective from which to explore a large portion of Berea’s digital fiddle recordings, are the three broad regional traditions identified by Jeff Titon in Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes (University Press of Kentucky, 2001).


Playing styles found most commonly in the south-central region include fiddle-banjo combinations associated with African-Americans prior to the Civil War. There is also an even older tradition of solo fiddle tunes not well suited to banjo. Representative fiddlers from this region include Doc Roberts (Madison County), Clyde Davenport (Wayne County), and Jim Bowles and Isham Monday (Monroe County). Davenport’s playing includes both styles. Bowles tends mostly toward the African-American and Monday more toward the solo style. Doc Roberts is particularly notable for the extent to which he merged more modern styles with his older repertoire, much of which came from African American fiddlers of his acquaintance.


The more elaborate melodies that became common in the northeast tended to not be well suited to the banjo. Representative fiddlers from this region include Alfred Bailey (Bath County), Darley Fulks (Wolfe County), and Santford Kelly (Morgan County.)

Click here or on a fiddler’s name (above) to search the Berea fiddle tune archive.

The Southern Waltz (#8)

October 16, 2011

not the Murphy Bros.

The Southern Waltz #8

Boat Song March,” by The Murphy Bros. Harp Band

Dec. 4, 1930, Atlanta, GA.

Milt Appleby

October 13, 2011

From Jeff Golay:

Milt Appleby was a dairy farmer and fiddler from Dover, NH. He
recorded 12 excellent cuts with the most wonderfully heavy-handed
piano player ever recorded. “Jigs and Reels,” contains a number of
previously unheard gems, as well as a handful of classics. Very
interesting to hear a New England take on American standards like
Soldiers Joy and Wagoner.

Available here, at Jeremy Stephens’ blog, Jeremy’s Saggy Record Cabinet.

Milt Appleby plays “Judique Reel”:

Tom Dula

October 12, 2011

Thomas C. Dula (June 22, 1845 – May 1, 1868) was a former Confederate soldier, who was tried,convicted, and hanged for the murder of his fiancée, Laura Foster. The trial and hanging received national publicity from newspapers such as The New York Times, thus turning Dula’s story into a folk legend.  A local poet named Thomas Land wrote a song about the tragedy shortly after Dula was hanged. This, combined with the widespread publicity the trial received, further cemented Dula’s place in North Carolina legend. The song written by Land is still sung today throughout North Carolina.

Several recordings were made of the song in the twentieth century, with the first in 1929 by Grayson and Whitter.  The most popular version was recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1958.  It sold over 6 million copies, an is widely credited with starting the “folk boom” of the 60s.

The song “Tom Dooley” also migrated to the Caribbean in the late 50’s, and was beautifully interpreted by the mento band, “The Hiltonaires.”

The Southern Waltz (#7)

October 9, 2011


The Southern Waltz #7

“Winona Echoes,” by Narmour and Smith

July 30, 1934, Atlanta,  GA

Born in Ackerman, Choctaw County, Mississippi on March 22,1889, it was not until seven years later that his family moved to Carroll County, where he remained until he died on March 24, 1961, at age 72. He was survived by his wife, his sons, Coleman and Charles, and daughter, Hazel.

Willie Narmour was one of the most influential early fiddlers from Mississippi, widely known for “Carroll County Blues” and his collaboration with guitarist Shell Smith. They played and recorded together from 1928 to 1934. Narmour and Smith remained rooted in their community and seem to have traveled little other than the recording trips to Memphis in 1928, New York in 1929, Atlanta 1929 and 1934, and San Antonio Texas in 1930.

Willie first learned to play on a cigar box fiddle that his father, John Narmour, made for him. Willie came from a musical family: his father also played fiddle, and his father’s brother, Henry, played fiddle, bass fiddle, beat straws, and clogged. Henry’s wife, Jimmie, sang. Willie is best known as a fiddler but he also played guitar (as on the recording of “Rose Waltz” which he played in the same style as Shellie Smith).

He did not read music and had little formal education. In an area where men tended to be taciturn, his personality was described as being as engaging as his music. He played music, drove a school bus, farmed, and ran an auto mechanic garage to support his family. He loved to hunt. Though not religious, Willie did occasionally attend the Pisgah church, which was very close to his home in Valley.

(Knowing that dances were rife with drinking and fighting and that Willie was of small stature, I asked Charles Campbell, the deputy sheriff in the area when Willie played for local dances, “Did he ever get into fights at these dances?” He answered, “No, he had friends…” implying large muscular friends, who protected him.)

He continued to play in public after his recording career ended in 1934, although not with Shell Smith. One site was the Alice Cafe in Greenwood, where he was known to play for admirers possibly as late as the 1950’s. He had other accompanists at earlier dates also, Lonnie Ellis of the Mississippi Possum Hunters recalls seeing Willie at the 1929 or 1930 Fiddlers contest in Kosciuskio with another guitarist.


Corn Dodger Special #1

October 7, 2011

George Ainley (b. 1948) was raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut. George completed an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth in 1970, the same year he bought his first fiddle at a hardware store. He was an itinerant musician from 1970 until 1975. In 1975 George moved to Vermont where he worked for years as an apple picker before beginning a career as a Windsor chair maker. George is well known for playing with the Corndodgers (Ahmet Baycu, fiddle & banjo, William Wright, guitar). George learned to fiddle by listening to records of southern old-time music such as The Georgia Yellow Hammers, Camp Creek Boys and The Skillet Lickers. In the 1970’s George would hitchhike from Vermont to attend southern festivals. He now lives outside Springfield, Vermont with his family where he continues to make Windsor Chairs.  (from

George Ainley and friends at the John Putnam Fddler’s Reunion, 9/17/11. Photo by Geoff Bluh

The Corn Dodgers play “Nobody’s Business”:

Wayne Perry

October 5, 2011


Thanks to Suzy Thompson for this wonderful article.

Wayne Perry’s “Old Joe Clark:”

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande

October 3, 2011

Hispano Music and Culture of the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection is an online presentation of a multi-format ethnographic field collection documenting religious and secular music of Spanish-speaking residents of rural Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. In 1940, Juan Bautista Rael of Stanford University, a native of Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico, used disc recording equipment supplied by the Archive of American Folk Song (now the Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center) to document alabados (hymns), folk drama, wedding songs, and dance tunes. The recordings included in the Archive of Folk Culture collection were made in Alamosa, Manassa, and Antonito, Colorado, and in Cerro and Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico.

The mp3 recordings in this collection are free downloads.

The Sly Mongoose

October 2, 2011

For the Western MA Apocalypsonians:  Roaring Spider,  Mighty Rabbit, Growling Vole, and Biting Tick,  please check out Maharajah’s mighty calypso blog:

and Yoyo’s incomparable Caribbean (and more) blog at

Many treasures to be found there.

“Roosevelt in Trinidad,” by The Atilla:

The Southern Waltz (#6)

October 2, 2011

The Southern Waltz #6

“Jug Band Waltz,” by the Memphis Jug Band

Fiddlin’ Georgia Crazy

September 29, 2011

University of Illinois Press, 1987, 330 pages

The patriarch of the Atlanta, GA old time scene of the 1920’s, John Carson was proclaimed “Champion Fiddler of Georgia” seven times.  About June 14, 1923 (date is uncertain), Carson made his recording debut in an empty building on Nassau Street in Atlanta, cutting two sides, “The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s going to Crow.” Ralph Peer didn’t like the singing style of Carson and described it “pluperfect awful” but he was persuaded  to press five hundred for him to distribute. The recording was immediately sold out from the stage of the next Fiddler’s convention on July 13, 1923.   Between 1923 and 1931, Carson recorded almost 150 songs, mostly together with the “Virginia Reelers” or his daughter Rosa Lee Carson, who performed with him as “Moonshine Kate” and provided what may be the earliest known recorded model of liberated southern womanhood.

Here’s a Fiddlin’ John and Moonshine Kate skit, “John Makes Good Liquor, part 3.”  The skit contains this famous exchange.

Sheriff: How do you do, little girl?

Kate: It ain’t none of your business, you ain’t no doctor.

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

September 28, 2011

The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of commercially produced Mexican and Mexican-American recordings (the Frontera Collection) is the largest repository of Mexican and Mexican-American vernacular recordings in existence. With funding from Los Tigres del Norte Foundation the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center has sponsored the digitization of the first section of the collection by the Arhoolie Foundation. These performances were recorded primarily in the United States and Mexico and issued on 78 rpm phonograph recordings during the first half of the twentieth century. This vast digitized collection of approximately 30,000 recordings is now available to researchers and the general public.

Search collection here:

The Southern Melody Boys

September 27, 2011

From Bill Dillof:

Odus Maggard was born January 31, 1915 in Perry County in the hills of east Kentucky.  Having taken up both banjo and guitar at the age of six, so they say, Maggard met guitar player Woodrow Roberts while still in his teens.  Performing together from the early 1930s as The Southern Melody Boys, Maggard and Roberts, with the occasional fiddler, made appearances on WCPI in Bristol, TN as well as venues throughout Virginia and Kentucky. Recording as a duet (Maggard on banjo; Roberts on guitar)  for the Bluebird label on February 17, 1937, The Southern Melody Boys produced a dozen sides:

Down In Baltimore

Dividing Line

Lonesome Scenes Of Winter

Tribulation Days

If You See My Saviour

When the Autumn Leaves Fall

Carry Me Over the Tide

Wind the Little Ball Of Yarn

Lonely and Sad

Sweet Locust Blossoms

I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayer

Back In California

A session with Decca on June 9, 1938 produced four more sides under the name Odus & Woodrow:

When the Spring Roses Are Blooming

I Been Here a Long, Long Time

Waiting For the Boatman

I Told the Stars About You

Maggard plays banjo and sings lead on all sides, with Roberts singing harmony on about half. The banjo is played in a clear, plunky thumb-lead “two-finger” pick, against driving guitar bass runs at times reminiscent of Riley Puckett. The Southern Melody Boys’ complete recordings may be downloaded free at

“Tribulation Days,” by the Southern Melody Boys:

Southern Waltz (#5)

September 25, 2011

The Southern Waltz #5

Uncle Ned’s Waltz by The Grinnell Giggers

Nov. 26, 1930, Memphis, TN

The Southern Waltz (#4)

September 18, 2011

The Southern Waltz #4

The Sheik Waltz,” by the Mississippi Sheiks

17-Feb-1930, Shreveport, La

Lectures by The Shaman-in-Residence

September 12, 2011

Harry Smith

The Harry Smith Archive offers a number of audio links for lectures given by Harry Smith in the last years of his life.  These appear to have been recorded while Smith served as the Shaman-in-Residence at the Naropa Institute’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics from 1988-1991.

In the lecture linked below, Harry Smith describes two Native American ceremonies he witnessed in the early 1940’s in the Pacific Northwest. Interspersed with his account of the ceremonies, he discusses tangentially various related topics, including Native American health before the European invasion, Native American sign language, the migration of symbols, misogyny in anthropological accounts of Native American peoples, creation myths, and cosmology.  (from

Sound quality improves after about 1 minute.

The Southern Waltz (#3)

September 11, 2011

The Southern Waltz (#3)

“Marosovia Waltz” by The Hill Billies (the same recording

was also released in Mexico as “Marsovia” by Los Alegres).

Recorded December 21, 1928, NYC

Online Collection of Rare Cajun MP3s

September 9, 2011

Dennis McGee

For a huge collection of free, downloadable Cajun music mp3s from collector Neal Pomea, see

Neal writes: These recordings all come from my private collection with considerable help from other French music fans. I post them here as a labor of love without gain and with no wish to cut into any else’s profit. I simply make these important and scarce recordings available here due to their inherent interest to the Cajun music community, to preserve and promote appreciation for the likes of Nathan Abshire, Austin Pitre, Ambrose Thibodeaux, Revon Reed, Sady Courville, Preston Manuel, Roy Fusilier, and many other great musicians!

John Donald Robb Field Recordings (1944-1979)

September 6, 2011

John Donald Robb

The John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music is dedicated to preserving the musical heritage of New Mexico and the Southwest. Created in 1964, the archive has grown to house over 1,600 hours of recordings. Collecting began through the efforts of former University of New Mexico Fine Arts Dean John Donald Robb, for whom the archive iis named.The archive’s collections preserve examples of the rich cultural milieu of Southwestern music.

These are free, downloadable recordings, at

They consist of Hispanic, Native American, and Anglo music recorded between 1942-1979 in different parts of New Mexico. The collection contains Hispanic folk music such as the alabado, the pastore, the decimal, and the corrido. Additionally, Native American chants and dances, as well as Anglo cowboy and frontier ballads are represented in the collection.



September 5, 2011

For an exhaustive collection of resources related to traditional Jamaican string band music, see

The classic mento sound is the acoustic, informal, folksy rural style. Still sometimes referred to as country music in Jamaica, it’s easy to imagine farmers and their families celebrating harvest with a mento dance. Typical instruments included banjo, acoustic guitar, a home-made saxophone, clarinet or flute made from bamboo, a variety of hand percussion and a rumba box.  Fiddle was occasionally used.  (edited from
Listen to the the 4th tune in the medley below for an outstanding example  of Jamaican country  fiddling. The recording is “Quadrille Figures 1-2-3-4 No. 8,” by Chin’s Calypso Sextet (more of their music is available on iTunes and

The Southern Waltz (#2)

September 4, 2011

Southern Waltz #2

“Saturday Night Waltz” by Fiddling Bob Larkin

Nov. 21, 1928, Memphis, Tennessee

The Roots of American Fiddle Music

September 2, 2011

Ahmet Baycu’s site, Roots of American Fiddle Music, is a unique and extensive collection of old time music resources, including 120 free, downloadable mp3s of classic 78 rpm recordings.  Old Time Party will spotlight special features of the site in the coming weeks, including the overview below, by Ahmet:
       I started this site quite a few years ago to spread the OTM word via photos, bios, downloads, and anything else I could digitize. Since then, there has been an explosion of info interesting posts by hundreds of like minded folks.  Still, there should be plenty here for all newbies to this music to get you started on your journey, including OTM crossword puzzles and a good sprinkling of humor. Be forewarned however that paths here do not travel in straight lines.
      There are quite a few complete  and partial OTM recordings here for download or stream scattered throughout the site. If you are a Skillet Licker fan, there is a nice little package of 25 of my favourite instrumentals in very good quality for download or stream here:

The Southern Waltz (#1)

August 28, 2011

This is the first in a weekly series of mp3 posts of southern waltzes from the 1920’s and 1930’s.  The series will highlight the great waltzes, waltz fiddlers, and waltz bands.  The cumulative collection will also remain accessible, as it builds, under “PAGES” in the upper right corner of this blog.

Southern Waltz #1

“The Sweetest Flower Waltz” by The East Texas Serenaders

Recorded December 2, 1927, Dallas, Texas.

Georgia Hobo

August 27, 2011

Zac Johnson and His Yankee Entertainer: Trout Fishing Day

August 27, 2011


Zac Johnson (fiddle) and Tony Pasquarosa (banjo)

Honking Duck 78s (Scottdale String Band)

August 26, 2011  offers over 700 78 rpm recordings from the 1920’s and 1930’s for your listening pleasure.

The collection is searchable by artist, title, and year.

There are many rare gems on this site, including four by the mandolin-led Scottdale String Band:

“My Own Iona,” “Hiawatha Breakdown,” “Come Be My Rainbow,” and “Stone Mountain Wobble.”

Does anyone have a copy of:

Scottdale String Band (Barney Pritchard [gt], Marvin Head [gt], Charlie Simmons [banjo/mandolin]),

OKEH 45188 Down Yonder / Sea March       

10 October 1927, Atlanta, GA

The Little Brothers: “American Foundational”

August 24, 2011

The Little Brothers play American Foundational from a time when GIANT BLUESMEN roamed the earth. That’s right: GIANT. BLUESMEN. Kim Basile specializes in classic blues fiddle, and some unusual traditional styles that are unique in the music revival. Frankie Basile is a master of country blues stylings on the 6 and 12 string guitar. Mike Hoffmann completes the trio with an array of stolen mandolins and stolen tunes. (from

For a great 6 song playlist of The Little Brothers (Kim and Frank Basile, and Mike Hoffman), go to

For their videos, go to

Juneberry 15000 Old Time Series – Part 15

August 24, 2011

Juneberry’s latest MP3 CD in the 15000 Series contains, among other gems,  four  (possibly) previously unreissued  tracks by the Georgia duo of George Walburn (fiddle) and Emmett Hethcox (guitar) :

“Home Brew,” “Macon Georgia Bound,” “Polecat Blues,”and “Wait For The Lights To Go Out.”

Altogether there are 17 Classic Old Time MP3 CDs/DVDs for sale at this site, as well as the option of custom designing your own CDs from the huge Juneberry archives:

And don’t forget to browse the  huge selection of downloadable classic old time MP3’s  in the Juneberry Listening Room:

Slippery Hill (Larry Warren) has posted MP3s of the entire Milliner/Koken collection

August 22, 2011

Larry Warren of has been maintaining a public digital collection of C, F, and Bb tunes for some time.  He has now added to his site digital audio versions of most or all of the 1404 fiddle tunes in Claire Milliner and Walt Koken’s collection

As a result, everyone on planet Earth has easy access to virtually the entire old time repertoire via the internet.

When you see Larry, please give him a warm “thank you.”  Below is a description of the project in his own words.

The Slippery-Hill site really started at an Old Time party in Newfound Lake, NH back in 2005 I think. There was a C tune session that went on for 3 or 4 hours. I got thinking that I only knew 6 or 8 tunes in the key of C. So I started collecting C tunes. I have traded out of print LP’s and cassettes for years so I have quite a big collection to choose from.

Then I decided to make the C Tune web page so other people could listen to them. I started with a couple hundred tunes. Well, people started coming across the site and sending me suggestions and if I didn’t have the tune they’d send it to me. The F tune and Bb pages came shortly after that. The DDAD, GDAD and Calico pages are more recent additions. As of today (08-22-2011) there are 465 tunes on the C tune page. To me that’s amazing.

Before I started that C tune page it was hard to find people to play in C. Now it seems like everybody places C tunes. Or maybe it’s my imagination.

The Milliner-Koken idea came to me the day I got the book in the mail. Even if you don’t read music the book is worth the price of $90. It’s an incredible resource.

I can read music, but learning a tune from dots on a page, is to me, far far to much work. I have to listen to the tune. So why not have a web page with all the tunes from the book on it. Try to get the exact source Clare and Walt cite in the book. I must say I’m still working on that part. I didn’t want to get too carried away until I could get Clare and Walt’s blessing on the project. I got that at the 2011 Mt Airy music festival. When I left the festival I had my lap top with me and I got to work. My goal was all 1404 tunes up there by CliffTop. (more…)

1930 Model Free Little Bird

May 23, 2010

1930 Model Free Little Bird

Prettiest Little Girl in the County

October 6, 2009

Prettiest Little Girl In the County

‘Turkey Buzzard Blues’ PEG LEG HOWELL (1928)

October 3, 2009

Turkey Buzard Blues

Alabama Girl Ain’T You Comin’ Out To-Night

September 17, 2009

Earl Johnson and his Clodhoppers

Recorded In Atlanta, Georgia, August 9, 1928

Alabama Girl Ain’T You Comin’ Out To-Night

Cofer Brothers

September 14, 2009
Excerpted from "Country music originals: the legends and the lost"  By Tony Russell

Excerpted from "Country music originals: the legends and the lost" By Tony Russell

Little Janie Green

Lye Soap

September 14, 2009

“alright boys we come up here
to play for these folks
up here on dog river tonight
so lets get started
what would be a good tune to get
started with?


Lye soap?   .. Bust Down!”