Dozens of musicians have been members of The 1937 Flood over the years since it stumbled into existence back in the hippy-dippy mid 1970s.

dave and charlieAs writer Dave Lavender of the Herald-Dispatch has noted, "The Flood doesn't rest on its laurels as West Virginia's most eclectic string band. Born in the 1970s joewhen Dave Peyton and Rog Samples began picking with Charlie Bowen. The whole thing kicked into a higher gear when Dave and Charlie met Joe Dobbs in the spring of 1975. Since then, The Flood has played gigs with everyone from the Huntington Symphony Orchestra to Marshall University tailgate parties.

The band -- which now features Charlie, along with Doug Chaffin, Sam St. Clair, Vanessa Coffman and Randy Hamilton -- plays everything from folk classics of John Prine and Bob Dylan to the blues of Mississippi John Hurt to swing and jazz tunes of the 1930s and '40s and beyond.

"Throw in some Dixieland jazz, some Irish fiddle tunes, a great sense of humor, some pure mountain melodies from the likes of such state treasured songwriters as Hazel Dickens and yes by God, the best kazoo playing between here and say Kalamazoo, and you got the 1937 Flood," adds Lavender. Meanwhile, recently, as the band was preparing for a memorable gig in downtown Huntington, H-D reporter Derek Halsey filed this generous profile of 40+ years of Floodishness. And more recently, legendary Huntington journalist/historian James Casto wrote a lovely piece on the band for Huntington Quarterly.

Reaching Us

We all love getting e-mail, so feel free to write to us online, whether you're wanting to know about possibly booking the band, learn when and where the boys are playing next, or just say hello. To write to the band as a group, send e-mail to the1937flood@aol.com.

Today's Players

CharlieCharles Bowen (started in 1973). Born in West Virginia and reared in Kentucky before returning to his homeland in the early '70s, Charlie is a freelance writer, author of books and magazine columns about computers. The Flood's third founding member, Charlie also operates Design by Bowen, which constructs and maintains original Web sites, and 2Bowens.com, which provides writing coach services to authors of all ages. Write to Bowen at designbybowen@gmail.com.


DannyDanny Cox (joined 2022). Born and raised in southern Ohio, Dan was not quite 13 in the spring of '72 when his dad bought a guitar from a nephew for $3, brought it home and, with a big grin, handed it to his son. "I hadn' asked for or shown any interest in learning to play guitar," Danny recalls. "Mom taught me D, G, and A7 to accompany the 'Great Speckled Bird.' It was a beginning." Pretty much self-taught, "I had a brother-in-law who's a pretty good player; he showed me me some classic rock licks and could play Chet Atkins style. I would watch anyone that could play a guitar." Danny played in several bands over the years as he travel around the country as a field service engineer. After he rerired, he moved back to the Tri-State Area in 2019 and married his 7th grade girlfriend. Write to Dan at drc7693@gmail.com

RandyHamiltonRandy Hamilton (joined in 2012). Randy Hamilton. Born in Paintsville, Ky., and raised in Southern Ohio, Randy had a love of music from an early age. Having seen his uncle and cousin play guitar and sing he knew that is want he wanted to do and that started him down the musical road 45 years ago. Randy plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar and also sings lead or harmony vocals. Before joining The Flood, Randy played locally with the Sheldon Road group. Email Randy at ranham57@hotmail.com.

jackJack Nuckols (joined in 2023). Jack joined up after jamming with us on assorted percussion instruments — from bongos and spoons to cool brushes on snare and hi-hat. Jack is a veteran educator. A retired high school history teacher, he now teaches as a adjunct professor. He also was recently re-elected as a long-time member of the South Point, Ohio, school board. As Flood co-founder Charlie Bowen recently noted, “Jack is one of the few functioning musicians still around who was actually at those parties where The Flood was born in the 1970s.”


Sam St. Clair (joined in 2001). Sam brought the first much needed reed section to The Flood in the form of his harmonica. Whether it's blues, ballads or swing tunes, Sam's harp usually has something to say. A commercial property manager by day, Sam is a Huntington native who has travelled extensively around the world. He has tales from Brazil to New Zealand. Write to Sam at samstclair65@gmail.com.





joe and rogIn the space of 22 weeks, we lost two of our founding members, the eldest and youngest. Joe Dobbs passed away Sept. 21, 2015, at age 81, and Rog Samples died Feb. 12, 2016, at 66. We miss them terribly, but we are comforted in knowing threy live on in our hearts and minds and especially in the tunes, stories and ideas they left us in more than 40 years of friendship.

DaveThen five years later, we lost the most influential founder of The 1937 Flood with the death of David Peyton at age 76 on Sept. 2, 2020. The fact is that The Flood simply would not exist were it not for Dave. Everything about our band — its Appalachian roots, its sassy attitude, its willingness to wander pretty far afield in pursuit of the novel or the noble or, yeah, well, sometimes just the naughty — came to us over the decades through the creative instincts of Brother Peyton. Due to a bad fall and subsequent surgery in September 2016, Dave had to end his musical activities. The last Flood album that featured Dave's beautiful Autoharp performance was the "Live, In Concert" CD.

DougSince then, we've more old friend, Bill Hoke, Dr, Jazz Chuck Romine and the incomparable Doug Chaffin.

Rest in peace, dear friends. We have created online tributes to our old comrades. Here are the links to:

-- Remembering Joe Dobbs,

-- A Tribute to Roger Samples,

-- Celebration of Dave Peyton

-- Bill Hoke Tribute

-- Remember Chuck Romine

-- Celebrating Doug Chaffin


How the Flood Got Its Name

milk"Why do you guys call yourself 'The '37 Flood'? Wasn't that a...?"

Yes. Why, yes, it was a disaster, as a matter of fact. So, where did the band get its peculiar name?

Like much about this organization, The 1937 Flood's name came about as a fluke. And thereby hangs a tale.

Picture it: The mid-1970s. Charlie and his wife, Pamela, have just bought a new house in Huntington and are invited to a party by their new neighbors. Throughout the evening, people drop by to say hello to the Bowens and, for some reason, to tell them how high the waters of the 1937 flood (uh, the real one) reached at their particular houses.

Charlie later tells this story to Joe and Dave. Now time passes. The guys are on stage for their first gig somewhere in Kentucky and suddenly realize their group has no name.

Without hesitation, Joe walks to the mike and tells the audience: "They calls us 'The 1937 Flood,' because back in Huntington, they're still talkin' about us!"

The name sticks.

Okay, honestly, we don't know how accurate this yarn really is, but like all good legends, it's probably a lot more interesting that whatever the truth is...


Floodsters Emeritus


Graduating Class!

As we often say, The Flood's fairly easy to get into but deucedly hard to get out of. In other words, once Flooded, always Flooded.

Members who are no longer actively involved in the band (and thus logically not accountable for further Flood foolishness) we elevate to Floodster Emeritus status.

Dozen of musicians have passed through the Flood gates in the past four decades.

Perhaps best known in the graduating class have been Michelle Lewis, Chuck Romine, Roger Samples, Dave Ball, Jacob Scarr, Paul Martin, Vanessa Coffman, Stewart Schneider and Bill Hoke.