As everybody's mother always said (usually with a pretty heavy sigh), if you want something Done Right, do it yourself.
Well, in our case, the real truth is that after more than three decades of making music, we just got flat-out tired of waiting for someone else to produce The 1937 Flood bootleg album, and (with a pretty heavy sigh) we decided that if it was going to happen, it looked like we'd have to make it so.
So... meet Hip Boots: The Flooded Basement Tapes. It's a collection of nearly two dozen cuts from various drop-in points during the 30-year-plus history of The Flood, a band deeply rooted in the foggy (some more foggy than others) years of The Hippy Culture.
In the finest tradition of bootlegs, the recording quality on this disc isn't always the greatest. These field recordings were made on the fly at coffeehouses and parties, clubs and concerts and in people's living rooms, using whatever equipment was available, from cheap cassette recorders to reel-to-reel machines that were pretty nice for the day to (later still) digital recorders of all stripes. Setting aside the sometimes suckiness of the recording quality, the tracks do capture the spirit and madness that brought The 1937 Flood together in the first place and has kept it together today.
Hip Boots also gives the current Family Flood a chance to send a huge shoutout to earlier Floodsters, great friends and brothers like Rog Samples and Chuck Romine, Stewart Schneider and Bill Hoke, Randy Nuckols and others. They're all still with us in the flow. The disc also feature some of the beautiful ladies who brighten our lives with their tunes, including Michelle Walker and Kathy Castner.
The CD is divided right down the middle between "Then," with the recordings from the 1970s and '80s, and "Now," with live concert recordings and studio out-takes made between 2001 through 2006. (We're keeping the 1990s to ourselves. The Flood: The Missing Years. Yeah, right. Let's just wait for the movie.)
Highlights on the new/old CD? Well, that's like trying to decide on your favorite baby pictures, but we'll try.
You gotta love Dave Peyton and Rog Samples' Spike Jones-ish rendering of "Unchanged Melody" from some obviously well lubricated evening in 1981. And then there's more recent track that finds the guys teaching the Huntington Symphony Orchestra to play kazoos at the Flood's performance with the orchestra at Huntington's Harris Riverfront Park in July 2002. And from the night before that concert, there's Chuck Romine's wonderful vocal and banjo lead on a rollicking version of "Bill Bailey" recorded in Morehead State University in Kentucky. And you gotten hear Joe Dobbs' sail through "June Apple," and Charlie Bowen in preacher mode as he shouts out "Samson and Delilah." Oo oo, and we smile every time we hear Randy Nuckols' spoons playing and Stew Schneider's great harmonica work on "Mama Don't Allow" from 1979. Then there's Bill Hoke trying out a dobro on an Eagles tune...
Well, okay, you see. We really can't really decide on favorites. But the good news is that you can sample for yourself every track of the CD -- and if you're so inclined, even buy it -- online with this link.
By the way, none of the 22 performances on Hip Boots appears on any other Flood CD -- in fact, 90 percent of the tunes themselves are exclusive to this disc -- so it could make a nice addition to the Flood shelf, especially if you know somebody who's on a mission to collect them all! We love people with a plan.
Nice Words from
From the Herald-Dispatch, April 3, 2009, Dave Lavender's column:
The Soggy Basement Boys
It was a long winter. So long that everyone and their cousin has a new CD out and so long that The 1937 Flood said the heck with it and finally released their own bootleg tape.
With an obvious homage to Dylan's infamous "The Basement Tapes," one of the state's best known string bands, The 1937 Flood has scoured the dusty and even the digital archives to put out the new CD "Hip Boots: The Flooded Basement Tapes."
It's a clever "then" and "now" collection of nearly two dozen songs that showcases the long and wonderful kazoo-and-fiddle-powered trip that's been 30 years of The Flood.
Step in The Flood's time machine (i.e. recordings made from everything from digital recorders to reel-to-reel machines) to hear the family-esque band that's featured a ton of musicians including Rog Samples and Chuck Romine, Stewart Schneider, Bill Hoke, Randy Nuckols, Michelle Walker, Kathy Castner and many other folks who have played with the band that was started and still driven by former H-D'ers Dave Peyton and Charlie Bowen and fiddling Joe Dobbs.