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Digital Jam Session

DAveFrequently, 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/)

 West Virginia Chose Me. We’re very excited about the show we’re putting together to perform in Charleston next colleenmonth. When we appear at Taylor Books on Saturday night, Aug. 12, we want to have an all-new show, featuring tunes we’ve not played in public before. It’s a challenge, but, hey, we like challenges. And it’s giving us a chance to learn some great new songs, including some classics we’ve always meant to bring into The Flood repertoire. For instance, our all-time favorite love song to The Mountain State has always been “West Virginia Chose Me,” a work created a couple of decades ago by our old friend, writer/composer Colleen Anderson. It says everything we feel about our native soil. Here Michelle leads us through our first take on Colleen’s beautiful song at last night’s rehearsal.

 Animal Husbandry. Paul Martin has brought so many good things to the band. Stellar picking. Stunning vocals. roosterA downright spooky insight into beautiful harmonies. And only recently have we learned that he also has a brilliant understanding of agribusiness and a rare — I say, I say — RARE insight into animal husbandry. Take a listen.

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 Down By the Sally Gardens ... Again. Some times a tune can have a second act. It was 16 years ago that Doug and Charlie recorded “Down By the Sally Gardens” with Joe and sallyDavid for The Flood’s first very CD. Over the past decade and a half, the old Irish tune has cropped up occasionally in Flood shows and at rehearsals, but lately, because of such rich new blood in The Flood, the song has some new attention. Listen in this rendition from a recent rehearsal how Paul and Sam share the beautiful melody line with Doug in the solo sections. Listen to Randy’s rock solid bass line and check out Michelle’s lovely harmonies with Charlie’s vocal lead. “Sally Gardens” has been reborn!

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 Can You Run? Since we finished our latest CD (“Live, In Concert”) earlier this year, we’ve been hard at work learning a whole slew of new tunes which we aim to roll out at shows later Can You Runthis summer and in the fall. One of our favorites in the new bunch is this little Civil War vignette penned by Kentucky’s young master songwriter Chris Stapleton. Our Randy Hamilton, who brought us the song, is singing the lead here, with cool harmony support by Michelle Lewis and Paul Martin. Oh, check out Doug Chaffin’s fiddling; he was born to play this tune! Here’s Chris Stapleton’s “Can You Run?”

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 Happy Birthday, Mountain Mama. We always try to take note of West Virginia’s birthday, and since last night’s ckerehearsal just happened to fall on West Virginia Day, we had to do at least one shoutout for our home state. Instead of singing “Happy Birthday” to our Mountain Mama, we chose this composition by one of West Virginia’s most favorite daughter, the late, great Hazel Dickens, and her song, “West Virginia, My Home.”

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 Darlin' Companion. To keep our cred as West Virginia’s most eclectic string band, we feel obliged to continue spoonfuldrawing material from as many diverse sources as possible, such as, in this case, the 1960s’ most electrified jug band. John Sebastian’s folk rock group called “The Lovin’ Spoonful,” which took its name from a great Mississippi John Hurt song (but that’s another story), was also quite eclectic. It drew many of its melodies and themes from early 20th century roots music, from jug band to country. The Flood has just started playing with this wonderful old John Sebastian composition, “Darlin’ Companion.” Here's where's Flood arrangement stands, as played at last night's rehearsal.

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 Friendly Ghosts. On some nights — our lucky ones — Doug and JPthe ghosts come out during our rehearsals, and one of the friendliest is the spirit of our old friend, the late great fiddler J.P. Fraley. Now, our Doug Chaffin played with J.P. for many, many years and learned scores of fiddle tunes from him. Perhaps our finest musical gift from J.P. was his teaching everyone the beautiful Pat Shaw composition, “Margaret’s Waltz.” Here, in the sweetest moment from last night, is Doug’s rendering of this gorgeous tune

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 Blue Moon Surprise. We’re so happy to be invited back to play again at Huntington’s newest music festival, the bluemoonJewel City Jamboree, down at Harris Riverfront Park. We’re set to play Saturday night at 6, but come early! Our friends Wiley Dew play at 4 and then good buddy Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboys are on stage at 5. It’s going to be a great weekend of music down by the river side! Here’s a tune The Flood will be including in our 60-minute set.

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 We're Down By the River Side this Weekend! We’re so happy to be invited back to play again at Huntington’s jcjnewest music festival, the Jewel City Jamboree, down at Harris Riverfront Park. We’re set to play Saturday night at 6, but come early! Our friends Wiley Dew play at 4 and then good buddy Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboys are on stage at 5. It’s going to be a great weekend of music down by the river side! Here’s a tune The Flood will be including in our 60-minute set.

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 We're at Bahnhof next Tuesday, May 23! We want to tell you about a special gig we have next week. We’re bahnhofthrilled to be invited to play at Bahnhof, Huntington's hottest new restaurant at 745 7th Avenue. If you've been planning to check out the venue everyone's talking about -- or if you're ALREADY a Bahnhof fan -- come on out for this special Tuesday night, May 23, starting at 7:30 p.m. Weather permitting, we'll be pickin' on the patio! If the weather gods don’t cooperate, we’ll be inside. Either way, we’ll have a ball. And you will too if you join us. We might even have a special guest. Who? The hint is in this tune! Enjoy.

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 Thinking about the Civil War. The fascination with the American Civil War continues a century and half after jennyAppomattox. We've got it too. About a year ago, Paul Martin brought us this tune -- "The Last Time (You'll See Jenny)" -- and we've been listening as the arrangement grows and evolves each week. Here's our latest take on the song as recorded at last night's weekly rehearsal. That's Paul singing the lead and everyone else helping out on the harmonies and the solos.

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 Quorum. AWell, we just barely had a quorum for last sunnight's rehearsal. Suddenly, sicknesses of assorted stripe have struck us, but as we say around here, wherever two or more gather in its name, it is The Flood, and last night we had two plus two, which is just enough for some pre-summertime fun.

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 I Almost Lost My Mind. Arrangements while you wait! One of the things we love about rehearsing each week is that, for better or worse, we all begin to think alike … and, hey, Ivory Joemostly that's for the better! Now, all day yesterday, Charlie had a great old Ivory Joe Hunter tune stuck in his head, Hunter's 1950 hit song called "I Almost Lost My Mind." Charlie started playing it last night at the practice session and, within minutes, an arrangement started coming to together. Michelle and Randy began finding great harmony vocals, Sam fell into a just natural harmonica groove, while for Doug… well, it brought back fond memories for Doug, of when he did that song with the bands he played with as a teenager when the song was new and the hottest tune on the radio.

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 Fiddlin' Doug Chaffin. Doug Chaffin has worn so many different hats in this band. When he joined up nearly 20 years ago, he played that driving upright bass behind the big dougguns of Joe Dobbs and Chuck Romine, Dave Peyton and Sam St. Clair. Later, when Dave Ball and then Randy Hamilton stepped in on bass, Doug moved to mandolin, trading licks with our young guitar wiz Jacob Scarr. After Jacob had to leave us to go to college, Doug added sweet guitar solos to his regular contributions. Lately, with the sad loss of our long-time bandmate Joe Dobbs, Doug's been dusting off his fiddle so well. Let's hear a few fiddle tunes from recent weeks.

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 We're At Route 60 Music This Saturday. . The Flood will be out this Saturday night for a big benefit concert at Rt60Route 60 Music Co. in Barboursville to help fill the shelves of the Facing Hunger Food Bank. Admission to the show will be three cans or boxes of nonperishable food (or at least a five dollar donation.) We'll be playing songs from our new CD, "Live, In Concert," as well as some new things we've been working lately. The show starts at 7:30 Saturday night at 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville. Here's one of tunes we're working up for the evening.

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 Sentimental Journey. So, you've got your sentimental songs. And you've got your train songs. And when waveyou've got a sentimental song about trains, it's gotta be a winner. Here's a fun moment from a recent rehearsal. Listen to Michelle and Charlie switching lead and harmony vocals between the verses and the bridge. Listen to Doug lay a lovely extended solo with that new sweet little Paul Reed Smith guitar of his. And listen to Randy tie all together with a funky Addams Family lick. Yep, we're on a sentimental journey.

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 Congratulations, Norman and Carol! We had some great news last night. In the middle of our weekly Norman and Carolrehearsal, two old friends, long-time Flood fans Norman Davis and Carol Angle, announced that, hey, they are getting married next month! We love these two so much, and joyous news deserves a joyous tune. Here's the very next song we played to welcome the new couple-to-be. Congratulations, dear friends.

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 Louise Stops By. It was our old friend Bill Hoke who was the first one we ever heard singing this great Paul Siebel louisecomposition. It was a party in the early 1970s. We'd been playing for hours, with a lot of loud and rowdy fiddle and banjo tunes that made the walls rattle. Then, during a break -- when the pickers had stopped to open new bottles -- Bill picked up his guitar and quietly started playing a tune called "Louise." We have loved that song ever since, and on special nights like last night, Louise, like a sad-eyed friendly spirit, comes 'round again. Here Paul and Doug handle the solos, and then Randy and Paul jump in on the vocal harmonies for the sweetest moment of the evening.

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 Dink's Song.. More than a hundred years ago, dinkmusicologist John Lomax recorded an African American woman they called "Dink" singing a song as she washed her man's clothes in a work camp on the banks of a river near Houston, Texas. Forty years later, in 1945, the great Josh White put it on his first album. Since then, it's been recorded by scores of performers, sometimes as "Fare Thee Well," but most often simply as "Dink's Song."

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 Since I Fell For You. Again. Sometimes a song walks right back into your life. About a decade ago, we were michelleoften playing that great old Lenny Welch tune from the mid-1960s, "Since I Fell for You," and then, for some reason, the song seemed to fall out of our repertoire. Nobody knew why, but we just didn't play anymore. 'Til last night. When Michelle Lewis came in from the wind and rain for our weekly rehearsal, that great old jazz standard strolled in right behind her. And we're so glad it did. Welcome home!

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 Remembering Bob Toothman. In The Flood's formative years, we used to have big music parties that went on all weekend long, and a highlight of the do was always when we tampa redgot big Bob Toothman to play his special version of "Sister Kate." He's the man we learned it from. We still remember a year or so before Bob passed away his stopping by a Flood practice and just grinning all over himself at our slightly sexier version of his classic tune. These days, we still play around with "Sister Kate." Here's a take from a few weeks ago, with solos by Doug, Paul and Sam.

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 The Spirit of Hokum Lives! Songwriters are our patron saints, and we've got a bunch of 'em in The Flood. Bob Dylan and John Prine. Jean Ritchie and Hazel Dickens. Hoagie Carmichael and Fats Waller. Two others you might not be as tampa redfamiliar with -- Tampa Red and Georgia Tom -- have also been influencing us for decades. Now, back in the mid-1970s, Roger Samples and Charlie Bowen stumbled upon some raucous old 1920s recordings of Tampa Red and Georgia's Tom's Chicago group called The Famous Hokum Boys. Rog and Charlie introduced Dave Peyton and Joe Dobbs to these silly, happy tunes, and the rest, as they say, is hysteria. Well, here's a recording from a rehearsal just a few weeks ago that shows that in the latest incarnation of The Flood, that spirit of hokum is still alive and well.

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 Valentines from Michelle. Flood sweetheart valentineMichelle Lewis brought valentines to the table last night. Now, we can't give you any of the Krispy Kreme donuts she and her mom brought in -- they're all gone this morning -- but we can share one of Michelle's even sweeter gifts: a tune for last night. She had us all following her, walkin' after midnight.

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 Reflections of My Life. We were already having a great rehearsal last night when Paul and Randy, our newest Floodsters, trotted out a tune that just shook the room. Back in paul and randy1969, a Scottish band called Marmalade released an original composition, "Reflections of My Life," that became an instant hit around the globe, in part because it spoke of life in an uncertain age. Last night we were all struck by how the song resonates in our time too. Now, we like to use these podcasts to sometimes give you a taste of a tune before the full arrangement gets worked out. This is a case in point. "Reflections" is likely to be on The Flood's set list often in the months to come, and this is where it starts.

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 To All Our Dear Companions. A band that's been around for more than 40 has a pretty big extended family -- chaircurrent members, former members, brothers and sisters, moms and dads, long-time buddies and new friends just now coming through the door. On an especially chatty evening like last night, the stories we tell each other at a rehearsal can claim just about as much times as the songs we play. Well, it occurs to us that one particular tune we do -- one we've played at events as diverse as happy reunions and, well, more often at bittersweet departures -- comes very close to crystallizing that feeling of such a long communion. Here's to all our dear companions.

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 Before the Next Teardrop Falls. One of the joys in rehearsing each week is watching and listening as new tunes become Flood tunes. Now, a new song sometimes feels like a new pair shoes, promising but still pinching. Other times, though, that new tune immediately feels like a comfortable old Freddypair of slippers. Here's a case in point. At home over the weekend, Doug Chaffin started picking that old Freddy Fender standard, "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." Doug and Charlie tried it out as an instrumental on Monday night during a jam session at Doug's house. Then yesterday morning Charlie went on the Internet and printed out the lyrics so he could have them waiting for Michelle when she and the guys arrived last night for the weekly practice. As we ran through the new number, we immediately realized we needed to transpose it into a better key, and here's the result. It's second take on the tune, with solos by Doug, Paul and Sam, harmonies by Randy and Charlie and, of course, Michelle's beautiful lead.

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 Douglas Be Good! It's interesting sometimes what the Douglast tune of the evening is. If it's been an especially neat session, we just don't want to give in to the tyranny of the clock and call it quits, and somebody -- usually Charlie -- will say, "Aw, let's do this one more." However, on this particular evening, it was Doug Chaffin who kept the night going just a little bit longer by launching into one of his favorite tunes, Gershwin's "Lady Be Good," and the result? Just one of the finest moments of the night!

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 Coming to Taylor Books. We are so looking forward to this Saturday night's gig. We're playing at one Taylorof our favorite venues, Charleston's beautiful, exciting Taylor Books at 226 Capitol Street. Last night we finalized the set list for the show, which starts at 7:30. Come on out, Charleston, and party like a Floodster waaaaaay downtown!

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 Angel of the Night. Our newest bandmates -- Randy Hamilton and Paul Martin -- have brought us such riches: excellent musicianship, extraordinary vocals (leads and Angelharmonies) and warm, lasting friendship. They're also introducing us to some exciting new songs. For instance, last night we greeted the new year with a song by the wonderful Kentucky-born singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton, who these days routinely sweeps award ceremonies. On this track, that's Randy on lead vocal. And our friend Kim Kartes sits in to join Paul with some great harmony on the choruses. Also you'll hear Jacob Scarr on the guitar solo, as he got in one more evening with the Family Flood before heading back to law school in Colorado at the end of the week. So, this is our first take of Chris Stapleton's "Angel of the Night."