Here’s a solo fiddle piece by Floyd County fiddler, Sam Connor, who was from the Copper Hill section towards Roanoke, Virginia. I visited him in his home one time with Jay Griffin and Susie Crate back in the mid 1980s. He was not able to play any more, he said then, but we talked quite a bit and I think we may have played a few tunes for him.
Here’s a cut by one of my favorite true clawhammer masters, Glen Smith of Hillsville in Carroll County. Here he plays a fretless banjo in an energetic and very danceable style. He implements great slides and hard driving right hand technique in the cool g#BEBE tuning.
For this week’s tune I have decided to share a rare and unique tune called Old Tommy Kimpleton. It was recorded during the LP era, I think, by the long running group from Franklin County called the Original Orchard Grass band. I have never seen the LP and have tracks from it in my files with no information. I wonder if anyone has it.
I knew I would have a problem with the name when Floyd JAMs (Junior Appalachian Musicians Program) decided that this tune would be good to get our local kids playing. The other instructors called it Angeline the Baker and since it is a popular tune with folks in the bluegrass world as well, I went along with it until I found this rendition called Coon Dog.
Here’s the Kimble Family from Carroll County playing a nice tune. I have been liking and playing this version on my fiddle lately. This is a distinctive version of the tune they call Liza Jane. It’s not the common version which is the root of such tunes like Sugar Hill and Chicken in a Bread Tray.
Here’s one from the 78 RPM era of the Roanoke Jug Band. They put out two 78 recordings on the Okeh label. Triangle Blues is one side from a record they made in 1929. The members are fiddle Billy Altizer on fiddle, Walter Keith on banjo, Mahlon Overstreet and Ray Barger on guitar, and Richard Mitchell on mandolin. There are some good New River Valley and Floyd County names in that bunch.
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Here are a couple of recordings of a tune called Blackeyed Girl. William Marshall’s fiddle version has a nice syncopated bow lick in it while Arnold’s is straighter but rushed sounding, as you’ll hear. Also included are two separate banjo versions of the tune.
Here’s a tune from Franklin County’s Original Dry Hill Draggers called “Dry Hill”. This tune was composed by fiddler Carl ‘Hot Licks’ Scott who still lives in the area. He was one of the original fiddlers with this hard driving band along with Murph Shively. The band was headed up by banjo player Jimmy Boyd who developed and played the rhythmic style heard here.
I just got back today from a 17 hour car trip to Lanesboro, Minnesota where Jenny and Hanna and I were part of a annual weekend festival gig called Bluff Country Gathering. The theme was OT music being passed thru families to the younger generation so some other parents that play OT style music had their musical offspring featured as well. BCG was started by the OT duo of Bob Bovee and Gail Heil back in 1999.
Barlow Knife was probably put out for consumption on LP in the early ’70s as a 3-part tune based on Henry Reed’s version that I don’t have handy to share. If someone wanted to share it then that would be a good contrast. Here’s our more ‘local’ version from Carroll County OT band Norman Edmonds and the Old-timers.