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Digital Jam Session

RosFrequently, The Flood gives away a free tune that can be heard online without special software or magic decoder ring. Listening is easy: just scroll this page, and click the gold arrow key play before any song description to hear it right now.

Recorded at the weekly Wednesday night rehearsals, the tracks are far from "studio quality." On the contrary, they are in the finest warts-and-all tradition of "field recordings," so they have what one listener called a decided "back porch sound."

That means that in addition to the occasional flubs and miscues in the performances (the guys meticulously craft and insert these misfires only for your amusement, you understand), you often hear in the background people chatting, laughing, whispering, rolling dice, shuffling cards, performing the Heimlich Maneuver… Because of the nature of the beast, there are times, of course, when we wish the microphone had been positioned differently or the guys had given a little more thought to a bit of harmony, etc., but despite such glitches, the tunes do capture the joy of jams and we hope you like being part of it.

(Incidentally, each free tune is also turned into the Flood's weekly podcast, Jam Logs, so if you a pod person and would rather have the week's new song delivered directly to you, just subscribe to the podcast. For all the details on that, click here.)

NOTE! If you're using a computer that doesn't support Flash (such as an iPad or an iPhone,) you might not see the gold arrow key play below. In that case, try accessing the podcast at this address: http://jamlogs.blogspot.com/)

 Ookpik.The folk process in music is interesting. Sometimes tunes begin in the foggy ruins of time, as Bob Dylan Rodgersmight say — uh, DID say, actually — and then make their way into contemporary songs. For instance, Jimmy Driftwood’s “The Battle of New Orleans”(“in 1814, we took a little trip…”) began life as a fiddle tune called “The 8th of January,” which is still played by the pros today. And sometimes the folk process works in the other direction. In other words, a composed tune enters the hearts and minds of traditional musicians and takes on a false narrative of antiquity, sort “going native.” A case in point in the Canadian-American tune called “Ookpik,” which began surfacing on the fiddle contest circuit in the 1970s with rumors ancient roots among Native Americans. After all, the name itself is an Inuit word for “snowy” or for “Arctic owl.” Well, despite all those stories about this being some time-honored Eskimo waltz, “Ookpik” was written by a late British Columbia fiddler named Frankie Rodgers, who actually published it in a book of his compositions in 1965. Okay, fine, but whatever it provenance, it’s a beautiful melody, one that Doug Chaffin brought to us a few years ago. On this track from a couple of weeks ago, Doug starts the tune with his rich, warm guitar, then we hand it off to Paul Martin’s mandolin while Doug switches to his fiddle to bring the song to sweet conclusion.

 Remembering!... eventually.... Our old friends Linda and Wendell Dobbs once recommended a tune to us … well, wait a minute. We know the actual date! It was July 12, 2012, at the start of the Joe Dobbs book tour. Yeah, it’s weird, the things we remember, but we were doing a show and a reading in Ashland, Ky., at the Paramount Arts Center, and, during a Linda and Wendellbreak, Wendell said, “You know, you guys oughta try doing ‘A Taste of Honey.’ It’d be a good song for you!” Well, we did give the song a spin at a couple of rehearsals, but then, you know how it is —things happened and we got distracted and “Honey” just sort of went back on the shelf. Until earlier this month, when we got a hankering for another little taste of honey. It was as if the tune had to wait for Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin to season it with their beautiful solos, as you’ll hear in this track from a recent rehearsal. So, then, this is for Wendell and Linda. We don’t forget; it’s just that sometimes it takes us a while to remember! By the way, we remembered the actual date of Linda and Wendell Dobbs’ suggestion because of a new project we’ve launched, a kind of online scrapbook of stories, pictures, audios and videos called “Five Decades of Floodishness.”

 Jim Sweetens Up the Jam. When we recently switched our rehearsal nights from Tuesdays to Mondays, we didn’t realize that one of the benefits would be that our old Jim Rumbaughfriend Jim Rumbaugh could now occasionally drop in for a visit. Last night, our harmonicat Sam St. Clair could not make the practice session, but as luck would have it, just as we were starting, Jim came by with him harps and sat down for a big helping of Floodishness. Here’s a particularly tasty bit in the evening’s offerings. Listen as Jim sweetens up one of Paul Martin’s signature tunes, his rendition of the 1969 hit by Marmalade, “Reflections of My Life,” and how Jim’s solo nicely echos Doug Chaffin’s fiddle.

 

---  Norman's Smiles. It’s no big secret, but musicians usually play much better when a devoted listener is within earshot, and no one is a more devoted listener than our old Norman-Michellefriend Norman Davis. Whenever the weather outside isn’t frightful, we can almost always count on Norman slipping in the back door and settling into his reserved seat, that big blue comfy chair in the corner of our rehearsal room. And a heck of a barometer, is our Norman: One look at his face tells us if our work on a tune is paying off, and he was all smiles last night during Michelle’s latest rendering of the 1945 Buddy Johnson classic, “Since I Fell for You.” In fact, if you listen closely you’ll hear that the last words on this tracks are Norman’s.

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 Starting the Conversation...On rehearsal nights, we’re often so eager to get started that the first tune might begin rolling before everyone gets set up to play. Here’s a wonderful example. On this particular evening, when we started at the crack of 7:30, Paul and Charlie are in their seats already as you hear Michelle and her mother coming in the back door while Doug is arriving in the front. Sam’s on hand, but is still getting out of his coat. Randy’s here, but, as the tune starts, he hasn’t quite got his bass hooked up yet. Notice how we just keep the song going longer than usual just so Doug get his fiddle bow rosined up and jump in for a chorus or two. By the end of the song, everybody’s in place and ready to rock.

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 Starting the Conversation...On rehearsal nights, we’re often so eager to get started that the first tune might begin rolling before everyone gets set up to play. Here’s a wonderful example. On this particular evening, when we started at the crack of 7:30, Paul and Charlie are in their seats already as you hear Michelle and her mother coming in the back door while Doug is arriving in the front. Sam’s on hand, but is still getting out of his coat. Randy’s here, but, as the tune starts, he hasn’t quite got his bass hooked up yet. Notice how we just keep the song going longer than usual just so Doug get his fiddle bow rosined up and jump in for a chorus or two. By the end of the song, everybody’s in place and ready to rock.

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 mistyMisty ... and Warm! Isn’t it interesting how sometimes on a cold winter’s day, a song can warm you up like a roaring fire? Michelle warmed up the room with this tune toward of the evening recently. Here’s the Erroll Garner standard, “Misty,” with stellar supporting solos by Paul and Doug. And listen to Randy's solid, beartbeat of a bass line keeping the tune on a slow, steady boil.

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 The Cabin Fever Breaks!. The cabin fever finally broke last night! After weeks of days in the teens and brutal specialnights in the single digits — and even the heartbreak of having to cancel a much-anticipated gig because of ice and snow — yesterday, the wicked winter relented a little, and last night the entire Family Flood at last could come again for the first time since a deep and dark December. You know, few things are more healing that old friends sitting in a circle playing and singing together, conjuring up a right special light.

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 Jacob Brings Back some Summer Heat. Could it be that a decade has passed since Jacob Scarr started playing with The Flood? Well, let’s see — he was just 14 when he first unpacked his guitar at a Flood rehearsal; now he’s midway through his second year of law school, so, yeah, that amazing mathematics is apparently right. Nowadays, we don’t get to see jacobJacob more than a couple of times a year — he’s pretty busy with his work in Boulder, Colorado — but whenever he gets back to his Ohio Valley home, it is an event. Thinking back to 2007 when we met him, it was his solos on one particular song that told us this young man had sometime very special to contribute to the Family Flood, and it’s a tune we trot out again every time we meet. Now, last night was an especially UN-summer-like evening, with the temperature hovering near 10 degrees, but Youngblood’s work took this old favorite from a smoldering ember to a warm and roaring blaze. Here the 2018 edition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” with Floodster Emeritus Jacob Scarr.

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 Coming to Taylor Books This Saturday! We’re rolling into Charleston this weekend to play at our favorite capitol city venue, Taylor Books, this Saturday night, and at last night’s rehearsal, we polished up some tunes we want to share, including the craziest sing-along you’re likely to ever hear. Uh-huh — Hey lawdy, mama-mama, hey lawdy, papa-papa, talk about your sing-along! Remember, we’re at Taylor Books. Come on out for our New Year’s Eve-Eve party, Saturday, Dec. 30, at 226 Capitol Street in beautiful downtown Charleston! It’s all starts at 7:30 p.m.!

taylor

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 Love Letter from Liverpool! We got a delightful love letter from Liverpool this week! A gentleman named Colin Maddocks — who has the simply perfect stage name of “Grateful Fred”! — dropped us a line to tell us how much he and his bandmates like what we do in The Flood. Now, Colin is in several bands there in Liverpool — the Irish band HotFoot and a ukulele-enriched ensemble called (you’ll love this!) “Grateful Fred’s Ukelear Deterrent” — and they recently had the great 1960s jug band superstar Jim Kweskin perform there during his dougmini-tour of the UK. Now, that’s how Colin and company found The Flood; while searching for other covers of Kweskin’s classic tune, “Jug Band Music,” he came upon our website and related online goodies, including this podcast. “I love the music you make and the sound you get,” Colin wrote us. “And to think you've been playing together so long is wonderful. We're 4 years old as The Deterrents, so we've a long way to go, but we rehearse on a weekly basis like yourselves and, apart from the music, the friendships we've made are a big bonus.” We couldn’t agree more — and so, to celebrate our new transatlantic friendship, here’s the current version of the tune that brought us all together, a fresh batch of “Jug Band Music” cooked up during last night’s Floodishness. Oh and by the way, if you’d like to learn more about the good work that Colin and his crew do in the UK, check out his website, www.gratefulfred.co.uk. Keep on picking, guys!

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 Waltz on in to Route 60 Saturday Night! We’re worked up and ready to go for this weekend’s final “Route 60 dougSaturday Night” of the 2017 season. We have the great Ron Sowell and Ritch Collins on deck as the our guest performers, Dave Peyton is back of the in-house storyteller and, as always, The Flood will be on hand as the house band. Our fiddler Doug Chaffin has worked up a special treat for the evening — his rendition of the beautiful Jay Unger-Molly Mason composition, “Lovers’ Waltz.” Here’s Doug’s treatment of the tune from this week’s Flood rehearsal. Remember, we’re at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville, this Saturday night. The show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to this month’s charity, Lily’s Place. Come on out — we’ll raise a ruckus and make a memory or two!