Category Archives: music

Have I featured the music of Pokey Lafarge here before?

If not, it’s about time I did. He’s got a lot happening if you ask me. Here is Pokey Lafarge with his very hot band performing Sadie Green…

and how about Going back to Arkansas, featuring Dom Flemons, who you may know from the original line-up of the Carolina Chocolate Drops…

…and finally a solo performance of one of his own tunes, Josephine


Jet fuel for the time machine

We found some great fuel for the time machine this afternoon at Nice Old Stuff – a recording by Hank Barns and the Country Squires with Calls by Smilin’ Ed Hayes, called Swing your Partners. Cuts include:

Arkansas Traveler; Birdie in the Cage; Bile that Cabbage; Ocean Wave; D&A Reel; Caballero; Red River; Duck for the Oyster; Tennessee Wagoneer; Darling Nellie Gray and Jitterbug. It was recorded in 1957. Fantastic!

Here’s Red River

By the way, the photo to the left of the album cover is the wonderful Ellie Mae.

Mean it too…

I’ve been listening David Bromberg’s music quite a lot lately. I really appreciate how eclectic he is, rambling all over the music landscape. He’s a wonderful guitarist and he plays other instruments such as mandolin as well. Here’s a live performance of You’ve got to Mean it Too, which is on his Only Slightly Mad recording.  What a beautiful tune.  This is from eTown, shared from the YouTube.

I highly recommend Mr. Bromberg’s recordings, and particularly his last two, Only Slightly Mad and Use me.

New jet fuel for the Time Machine

IMG_0739 Look what came in the mail today! It’s Canadian Folk and Country songs with Mac Beattie and his Ottawa Valley Melodiers! How awesome is that? Very awesome, trust me. Tunes include Take me back to the Madawaska Valley, The Washboard Polka, Ross Township’s my Home and more.

From the liner notes:

Making Arnprior, Ontario their home base, Mac and His Melodiers work out of CHOV-TV and Radio in Pembroke, Ont. and CJOH-TV and local radio stations in Ottaw, Ont. They are well known across Canada haveing represented Ottawa on the CTV Cross Canada Barndance Show and from their personal appearances on Don Messer’s Jubilee They have also made several shows with CBC radio. Mac writes all his songs and more will follow on another LP in the near future. Members of the group are Reg Hill on Fiddle – Gaetan Fairfield on rythmn guitar – Bob Whitney alta sax, Bob Price on piano – Tony Miseferi on bass – Gordie Summers on electric guitar and Mac Beattie with his educated washboard, drums and vocals.

I’m pretty excited about this little foray back in time, friends. Mac Beattie and Reg Hill are mighty in my books. I checked out YouTube to see if there was one of the tunes from this recording waiting there for sharing – I couldn’t find one, so instead, let’s listen to Mr. Beattie’s most famous tune, the Log Driver’s Song.

Why traditional music, #8468

There are new “old-time” tunes written from time to time, but many players prefer to find their own way to play songs that have been with us for a long time. Why write new songs where there are plenty of good ones around to play already? One of the things I love about old-time music – and by “old-time” I’m referring to mountain music or hillbilly music or Appalachian string-band music – is that most players know many of the same tunes but play them in any number of ways, all within a similar structural framework. It ain’t what ya do but the way how ya do it, or something like that.

Cumberland Gap is a good example. I’ve posted a few different versions on this blog in the past. Here are some more. Each of these performances is unique and yet it’s the same old song.

Here are Annie and Mac…

And here is Tommy Jarrell playing it on fretless banjo. This one has vocals as well…

Now let’s hear Wayne Shrubsall (banjo) and Bruce Thomson (fiddle) at the Albuquerque Folk Festival, June 2011

And finally, just to put things in perspective, here are Flatt & Scruggs with a bluegrass attack on the tune….

Some people prefer this bluegrass approach, and while I like it too, I’ll take an old-time performance with clawhammer and fiddle over a bluegrass band just about any day of the week.


My Blue Heaven

When I was a kid, my father liked to sing bits and pieces of songs around the house. He never remembered whole songs – mostly just choruses with an occasional verse. One of the tunes he like to sing was My Blue Heaven.  After I moved out on my own, I didn’t hear that song for a really long time but the next time I heard “When whipperwills call and evening is nigh…” it came right back.

Here are Jerron Paxton and Meredith Axelrod doing a fine job with it in what appears to be somebody’s kitchen. The jug is a nice touch.