Some Thoughts about the Hammons Family & Old Time Music
I just ordered the Sherman Hammons collection from Wayne Howardsf recordings, and cannot wait to get it in the mail.
I have listened to all of the Hammonsf recordings I could find over the last few years, and there has long been a huge void when it came to finding recordings of Shermanfs music. I have acquired plenty of the other Hammonses, but only a scant few of Shermanfs. So I was pleased to learn of the FRCfs new release of Shermanfs work.
Thinking about what Wayne Howard and others have done has prompted me to share my thoughts, which are nothing more than what any serious student of old time music might think about, so nothing special of themselves, but I want to express something here that I think is important to the preservation of OT music.
Over the years, I have been inspired to think of Edn Hammonsf signature tune gShaking Down The Acornsh in a certain way. (I know it is more often spelled gEdden.h)
I think a lot about the way old tunes, and stories, survive. Most of the tunes I am interested in go all the way back to the beginning of this country, with many of those going all the way back to the countries that the early settlers originated from. Things like Maggie Hammons Parker singing old English and Scottish ballads that had been extinct for centuries in their countries of origin, but had survived intact up in the mountains because they were passed down directly from one generation to the next.
This is something that just does not happen so much in the modern family, caught up as it is in this fast paced, highly technical world, where music is often gotten from a computer, some of it even being created by means of a computer.
There is no telling how many old tunes have been lost over the many years, but your site shows how fortunate we are today that there have been people who made it their life mission to preserve as much of what was left as could be gathered. — Andy Fults
New Releases from the Field Recordersf Collective—
SPECIAL DEAL: buy all 6 of our recent CDs (including The Hellbenders) for only $84.
- Sherman Hammons (FRC701) - West Virginiafs Sherman Hammons
was an accomplished singer in the traditional Appalachian style and a
fiddler in a fine, archaic style reminiscent of his Uncle Edden. He learned
banjo from a wide circle of West Virginia musicians.
- Harold Hausenfluck, Volume 2: Banjo Workshop (FRC702) -
Harold describes a wide variety of banjo tunings and traditional styles
which he demonstrates on many classic and unusual tunes learned
from the masters.
- Jerry Lundy with Hilary Dirlam (FRC703) - The grandson of the
great Galax, VA fiddler Emmett Lundy, Jerry Lundy (1942-2001) was a
skilled and driving fiddler who was well respected in bluegrass as well
as old-time music circles.
- Calvin Cole, Fancy Gap Banjo (FRC704) - Calvin Cole (Fancy Gap,
VA) played clawhammer-style banjo with tremendous precision and
drive. Though he was old enough to have been recorded in the 1930s
by the Library of Congress, these recordings (made by Peter Hoover in
1960) show Mr. Cole still at the top of his game.
- Parley Parsons, Old Galax Fiddling (FRC705) - A member of
the last generation of fiddlers firmly rooted in the local style, Parleyfs
playing was immediately recognizable as having been influenced by
Emmett Lundy (b.1864-d.1953) and Charlie Higgins (b.1878-d.1967),
two iconic older Galax fiddlers.
New CD Available Now: The Hellbenders
The Hellbenders, Bruce Molsky and James Leva (fiddles), David Winston (banjo), Mary
Winston (guitar) and Dave Grant (bass) made these recordings in Charlottesville, VA released
on cassette in 1990 and digitally remixed and remastered by Al Tharp from his original
recordings for this CD. Dave Grant, who was the soul of the band, was killed in a work
accident in 2002. He was an inspiration in music and in life. This album is dedicated with
love and appreciation to Dave Grant. More info...
We are offering 5 stellar recordings for 2010 available for sale on this page. Please check out our index page to find all our issues for the last seven years.
Reverend Gary Davis - FRC116 - John Cohen recorded Gary Davis in Davisfs home in 1952 using a wire recorder. These recordings from Johnfs collection pre-date the Smithsonian Folkways release of his 1953 tape recordings (gIf I Had My Wayh) and do not duplicate any of the material there. A rare visit with a blues master, relaxed and in his prime.
Jont Blevins | Grayson County, VA Banjo Player - FRC117 - This disc represents one of the masters of the old clawhammer banjo styles of Virginia and North Carolina. Jont Blevins was respected by his peers for being one of the finest banjo players around. On this volume, taken from tapes made by some of the many who came to visit and learn from him, he plays many of the great local tunes of his area. He also plays in some rare tunings that arenft often heard today.
Gaither Carlton 1972 - FRC118 - This is the very first full-length recording devoted entirely to Gaither Carlton (of Deep Gap, NC), a revered and highly influential figure in the world of old-time music. A superb banjo and fiddle player, Carlton toured extensively with his son-in-law, Doc Watson, during the folk music revival of the 1960s and early e70s. Tom Carterfs field recordings, made a few months before Carltonfs death in June 1972, capture Gaither Carlton in top form, validating his legendary stature among old-time musicians.
Harold Hausenfluck | Vol. 1: The Fiddling Collection - FRC119 - This first volume of Harold Hausenfluckfs music focuses on his powerful fiddle playing, gleaned from personal, radio and Heritage Records recordings. Harold pays homage to some of his fiddling influences (John Carson, Joe Birchfield, Tommy Jarrell, Norman Edmonds, French Carpenter) with stylistic accuracy and great feeling. Harold also plays a number of tunes that are largely unique to his repertoire.
Vernon Riddle | Old-Time Texas Style Fiddle - FRC120 - As a young man in the Air Force stationed in Amarillo, TX in the 1950s, Vernon Riddle spent a great deal of time with legendary fiddler Eck Robertson. He learned a great number of tunes from Eck as well as from other iconic Texas fiddlers, including Benny Thomasson, Jack Mears, and the Solomons. This collection presents Vernonfs fiddling from his Texas years up through his time in Spartanburg, SC in the early 1990s.
Ray Alden: July 2, 1942 | September 19, 2009
Our dear friend and the founder of the Field Recorders' Collective died this fall after a long and valiant struggle with cancer.
During the last project-filled months of his life, Ray worked to restructure the Field Recordersf Collective as a new not-for-profit entity under expanded leadership. The current officers of the new FRC include Ambrose Verdibello, Executive Director, Lynn Frederick, Secretary and Susie Goehring, Treasurer. Susie is handling the orders and fielding special requests; it is her email address that is on this website. The seven board members include the officers as well as Diane Alden, Rayfs wife, Jim Garber, John Schwab and Kilby Spencer. By continuing to preserve and produce recordings of valuable and original performances of traditional old time music, the board members of the FRC are dedicated to sustaining Rayfs vision of the FRC.
As a tribute to Ray and his longtime work and love of old time music, Bruce Molsky and the FRC produced gRayfs Dream,h a very special collection of Ray playing with many of his friends. It was Rayfs request that this CD be produced and distributed at the service celebrating his life which was held in November of 2009. You can buy it in our online store.
Field Recorders' Collective on NPR
Remembering Some Remarkable Lives Lost In 2009 - Talk of the Nation (December 30, 2009) - Paul Brown's remembrance of Ray Alden starts around 33:00 and lasts about 5 minutes
Saving Folk History, One Recording At A Time (January 22, 2009)- Click on "Listen Now" at the top of the page to hear the actual broadcast. David Gura did a LOVELY job and it is interesting to boot.
Field Recorders' Collective in The Old Time Herald
Paul Brown's memorial, The Connector: Ray Alden appears in The Old-Time Herald Volume 12, Number 2.
Letters from Musicians' Families
I received the CDs yesterday along with the check.
I have just finished listening to it with tears of sadness and joy. I
wanted to write to you and thank you for recording this CD. This is my
favorite one of him, getting to hear his voice again is an added bonus.
When I was a young girl my favorite fiddle tune that I always asked my
Uncle to play for me was "Turkey in the Straw." I never thought
that I would be blessed to hear this tune by my uncle again. I remember
my uncle listening to those old 78rpms. He would practice and practice
till he got the tune to his satisfaction. And if you talked you got hit
in the head with his fiddle bow. Since my nickname was "gabby"
you can imagine how many picks I received on my head with that fiddle
I also had the pleasure of listening to Perry Riley,
Jimmy Wheeler and Morris Allen when I was younger. I had this privilege
because Leona (Stamm, played guitar on Buddy's Rounder CD) was my mother
and either Uncle Bud was at our house or we were at his. I have to tell
you with much sadness that my mother passed away November 1988. Out of
the ten children my grandmother had, only Aunt Jean and Aunt Bessie are
left living. I know this CD will be the family's favorite one.
– Noretta Thomas, January 2006
Ray, I received the CD. Thank you for doing this for
me. When I listen to it I cried. It seemed like Lonnie was sitting in
our room playing like he did every day till he became ill with cancer.
He couldn't play but he had me to get his fiddle so he could hold it and
look at it. Our son Fred wishes to thank you also.
– Betty Seymour, January 2006
Translated from a review in Trad Magazine, France, June 2007
We have made the discovery of a remarkable record
label, the Field Recorders' Collective, which is dedicated to the promotion
of rural American music. Collectors of traditional music are often confronted
with this problem: how to make a larger public aware of their best recordings.
This particular brand of music, interesting as it is, is not always the
record stores' cup of tea…
Now let's talk about the music, the most important
thing after all! The emphasis is placed on the traditional repertoire
of the Appalachians, in the Eastern United States, a region of fiddlers
and banjo players. Good singers, too! Not a bad record in the bunch! And
beyond the music itself, there's the human story: these old musicians
are the representatives of a quickly disappearing world.
A Note from the Field Recorders' Collective
"All things pass; all that lives must die. All that
we prize is but lent to us, and the time comes when we must surrender
it. We are travelers on the same road that leads to the same end."
The Field Recorders' Collective, originally formed with five collectors,
is now a growing group of collectors who have generously agreed to share
their field recordings with the old time community. Both the collectors
and the musicians they recorded have traveled parts of the same old time
music road. Members of the collective, just as did the musicians they
recorded, wish to share the tunes and creative individual styles that
developed in isolated communities with others seeking their own right
of way on the road.
Virtually none of these musicians have been heard on commercially released
recordings, and certainly none of these performances have been previously
available on recordings with such good sound quality. Attention to the
best possible sound re-mastering has been accomplished through use of
digital audio workstations featuring advanced software that applies techniques
such as noise reduction, compression, fast Fourier analysis and multi-band
frequency equalization. Most of the musicians recorded by the collective
have passed on; however, in many cases we are in touch with their immediate
families and, when so, are able to share financial benefits of these recordings
with them. We are extremely pleased to yearly receive letters of appreciation
from these families for honoring and keeping the memory of their treasured