This album is a fantastic collection of vintage Southern Appalachian string band music from the Smithsonian archives compiled and annotated by Old-Time fiddler Jake Krack and Folkways archivist Jeff Place. Clark Kessinger, Wade Ward, Tommy Jarrell, Marion Sumner, Gaither Carlton, Eck Robertson, Melvin Wine, and many more old-time fiddle masters play their signature sounds from the heart of Appalachia. There are 38 tracks that play for 76 minutes and a 32 page booklet with an introduction and notes on each player and song.
This collection continues the series of “classic” releases drawing from the breadth of the Folkways collection. Classic Old-Time Fiddle from Smithsonian Folkways represents social and instrumental music and spotlights instrumental prowess. Over the years, Folkways Records (now Smithsonian Folkways) has been one of the American record labels that, more than others, has continuously produced and distributed high-quality recordings of traditional American folk music. Folkways founder Moses Asch made a commitment to artists that their Folkways recordings would never go out of print. This collection is intended as an introduction to many of these recordings on the label, and a chance for listeners to experience them perhaps again, or perhaps for the first time. On this album:
- PRETTY LITTLE GIRL WITH THE BLUE DRESS ON Doug Wallin 0:59
- SUGAR HILL Tommy Jarrell with Frank Bode 3:42
- SALLY IN THE GARDEN J.D. Cornett 0:32
- SALLY IN THE GARDEN Marion Sumner 0:48
- MUDDY ROADS Gaither Carlton with the Watson Family 1:22
- WON’T COME UNTIL MORNING Greg Hooven 1:50
- WEDNESDAY NIGHT WALTZ Clark Kessinger 3:03
- DANCE ALL NIGHT Arthur Smith with the McGee Brothers 2:31
- GIVE THE FIDDLER A DRAM Bill Hicks 1:52
- LITTLE BROWN JUG Joe Thompson 1:28
- BLACK EYED SUSIE Tracy Schwarz and Mike Seeger 1:53
- SNOWBIRD Ross Brown 0:48
- AIN’T GONNA RAIN NO MORE Hoyt Ming and the Pep Steppers 1:32
- CACKLIN’ HEN Roy Pope and the Carolina Homeboys 1:31
- OLD JOE Johnny Warren with the Nashville Grass 1:48
- OLD MAN BELOW Gaither Carlton 1:32
- UNNAMED TUNE John W. Summers 2:02
- BEAUMONT RAG David and Billie Ray Johnson 3:03
- RICHMOND BLUES Fred Price with Clint Howard 1:32
- MISSISSIPPI SAWYER Wade Ward 1:26
- BILL CHEATHAM Buddy Pendleton with the Stony Mountain Boys 1:36
- RED BIRD Clark Kessinger 2:07
- JOHNSON BOYS Caleb Finch with the Iron Mountain String Band 2:19
- SALLY GOODIN’ Eck Robertson 3:36
- UNNAMED TUNE Tony Alderman 0:52
- FINE TIMES AT OUR HOUSE John W. Summers 3:10
- YEW PINEY MOUNTAIN Melvin Wine 1:53
- DARLING COREY Greg Hooven 2:28
- BLACKBERRY BLOSSOM Charlie Higgins with the Buck Mountain Band 1:51
- KENTUCKY WALTZ David and Billie Ray Johnson 3:41 (Bill Monroe / Bill Monroe
- LEE HIGHWAY BLUES Fred Price with Clint Howard and Doc Watson 1:41
- PINEY WOODS GAL Tommy Jarrell with Frank Bode 1:20
- JENNY ON THE RAILROAD Tracy Schwarz and Mike Seeger 2:03
- BILLY IN THE LOWGROUND Buddy Griffin with Red Allen and the Kentuckians 2:48
- FISHER’S HORNPIPE David and Billie Ray Johnson 3:26
- TROMBONE RAG Clark Kessinger 2:34
- BONAPARTE’S RETREAT Mike Seeger 1:27
- CARROLL COUNTY BLUES Gordon Tanner and the Skillet Lickers 2:14
You can hear excerpts from each track at Smithsonian Folkways.
If you want to hear the entirety of each tune without purchasing the album, many, if not all, are available on YouTube.
Here’s one I never heard, and most unusual. Clark Kessinger playing Tromebone Rag. Listen all the way through…
Here’s Billy in the Lowground, performed by Buddy Griffin with Red Allen and the Kentuckians.
How about Ain’t Gonna Rain No More, played by Hoyt Ming and the Pep Steppers.
This album doesn’t have a dud on it. All are classics, played by some of the best old time fiddlers that ever lived. This is old time fiddle the way it should be. I felt like I was transported back in time, and highly recommend it for serious old time enthusiasts. Happy listening!