DOCK BOGGS 'The Field Recorders' Collective - Recordings from the collection of Reed Martin' FRC-305-CD
Field Recorders Collective has become the foremost vehicle for getting music by master old-time musicians into the hands of listeners. As such, they have become in essence a public archive of recordings made during the old-time revival by exceptional collectors and musicians. Times have changed a lot since our friends were recording the traditional bearers back in the 1960s and 1970s, and they have changed since FRC produced its first CD. FRC, therefore, is now making some of their classic early CDs available as digital downloads.
Tommy Jarrell is the Grateful Dead of traditional fiddle recordings. Everybody seemed to record both, and those recordings seem to be everywhere, but the fans still want more. Even though, like his son Benny, we know what he is going to say and what he is going to play, we eat it up. During the last year of Tommy's life, Paul Brown took him to Massachusetts for the Pinewoods Music Camp. Just like at home, Tommy's "teaching" consisted of him playing and sometimes singing, often expertly accompanied by Paul and Mike Seeger. New Yorker Jerry Epstein captured much of the "classes." Tommy Jarrell, Vol. 2 (FRC212) is the second collection drawn from those tapes. The album collects 30 tunes, which helps it stand out from the field. With the 27 selections on Vol. 1, they form a comprehensive collection of Tommy repertoire. Vol. 2 include the "hits" such as "Breaking Up Christmas" and "Joke on the Puppy" and less heard pieces such as "When Sorrows Encompass Me Around" and "Rochester Schottische."
Albert Hash remains a legend in the old-time world as fiddler, tradition bearer, band leader, and luthier. Unlike the other two projects here, the music on Albert Hash, Vol. 2 (FRC707) comes from multiple sources including Wayne Henderson, the Spencers, and the Augusta Heritage Center. Delightfully, several of the 31, yes, 31 tunes include spoken comments by Hash. He plays plenty of the old familars, his original "My Whitetop Mountain Home," and a cover of the pop song, "Love Letters in the Sand." With the variety and intros, this is essential for any Hash fan.
Less well known, and thus even more important to have been recorded, are the The Kimball and Wagoner Families (FRC-06). Fiddler Taylor Kimble (1892-1979) raised two children who are recorded here with his first wife and then remarried at 76, to banjo player Stella Wagoner, also heard here. Ray Alden began recording them in 1972. This release is derived from a double cassette Ray released from those tapes. The set contains far more singing than the other two sets but is more important is what it tells us about the roles of family, place, and time in traditional music. For example, we find the Oak Ridge Boys' hit "The Baptism of Jesse Taylor" and "Silver Threads and Golden Needles" from Wanda Jackson and Linda Ronstadt in among "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and "Georgia Buck." Other titles have morphed such as "Duncan and Brady" becoming "Brady Why Didn't You Run" and taking on some aspects of "Otto Wood the Bandit."
If you love the old music and understand about the fidelity of field recordings, you'll live the Field Recorders Collective catalog.
My sister lived in the Whitesburg, Kentucky, area during the 1960s. In the summer of 1967 I lived with her and searched for elderly banjo players. Dock Boggs lived in Pound, Virginia, just up the valley from Whitesburg. I had a borrowed tape recorder that I turned on when I visited him. I'll never forget what he looked like because he could have been the twin of my maternal grandfather. Dock claimed that back in his youth he used to spin the banjo around and flip it up in the air and never miss a lick. Hard as I tried, I could never get him to demonstrate those things for me. Dock's usual style was happy and in major keys, but one little drink and out would come the distinctive modal tunings and his unique blues. Thirty-five years later I heard about Ray Alden's search for private recordings which might be lost forever. I sent him my old tape which I had never listened to since the day of my visit with Mr. Boggs. Ray has produced here a wonderful CD of Dock Boggs talking and playing. - Reed Martin
- Story of Coal Creek March (talk)
- Coal Creek March
- On Being Selfish (talk)
- Intro to Down South Blues (talk)
- Down South Blues
- Down South Blues (1927 version)
- Sweet Willie
- Intro to Hook and Line (talk)
- Hook and Line
- Intro to Cumberland Gap (talk)
- Cumberland Gap
- Intro to Black Bottom Blues (talk)
- Black Bottom Blues
- Banjo Chimes
- Intro to Prayer of a Miner’s Child (talk)
- Prayer of a Miner’s Child
- Intro to Pretty Polly (talk)
- Pretty Polly
- Pretty Polly (1927 version)
- Intro to Dying Ranger (talk)
- Dying Ranger
- Intro to Will Sweethearts Know Each There (talk)
- Will Sweethearts Know Each There
- Will Sweethearts Know Each Other There (1929 version)
- Intro to Oh Death (talk)
- Oh Death
- Banjo Clog
- Intro to Sugar Blues (talk)
- Sugar Blues