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

As 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, Michelle Lewis, Randy Hamilton and Paul Martin -- plays everything from folk classics of John Prine and Bob Dylan to the blues of Mississippi John Hurt.

"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 Hutnington, H-D reporter Derek Halsey filed this generous profile of 40+ years of Floodishness.

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. 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.

DougDoug Chaffin. Doug has been playing music around here for nearly 50 years. Tri-State Area music lovers may recall The Montereys, the '60s rock and rockabilly band named after a rather nice Mercury automobile. That was Doug on lead guitar. He has played country, rock and swing and he was also a regular on stage with the late, great J.P. and Annadeene Fraley throughout their extensive career. He remained close to them. In fact, Doug played bass on the fiddler's last CD with Betty Vornbrock, called "Side by Side" (Burning Wolf-002). Write Doug at hdc928@aol.com.Sam

Sam St. Clair. Sam brings a 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.

RandyHamiltonRandy Hamilton. 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.Michelle Walker

Michelle Lewis. Michelle has been hooked on singing and performing since she received applause as a small child after singing "Yellow Rose of Texas" at a church pot luck supper. She sang through primary, middle and high school. At Marshall she began as a vocal performance major, switched to theater and decided on Communications with an emphasis in radio. When she landed a full time radio gig in Charleston, she transferred schools and completed her bachelors at West Virginia State College. After 10 years in commercial radio she landed at West Virginia Public Broadcasting as a morning news announcer and then Pledge Producer.  Write to Michelle at meechellelewis@gmail.com.

Paul MartinPaul Martin. Born and raised in Ironton, OH, Paul recalls loving music from his earliest memories. "I sold my first bicycle to buy a plastic guitar at age 7. I never had an opportunity for lessons but started trying to learn guitar at about age 15." Early influences included singer/songwriters like Croce, James Taylor, then the Eagles, Heart, Beatles, other 70's era bands, contemporary Christian and southern gospel music. An introduction to bluegrass music led to adding mandolin as a preferred instrument along with guitar. Paul has been playing gigs in Christian and secular venues since the early 80's, and developed a strong appreciation for vocal harmonies leading to the forming of the acoustic/vocal group Sheldon Road.  Write to Paul at pdmart78@gmail.com.

 

IN MEMORIAM

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. Rest in peace, dear friends.

We have created online tributes to our old comrades, sharing them on YouTube. Here are the links to:

-- Remembering Joe Dobbs, and

-- A Tribute to Roger Samples.

 

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.

 

Floodsters Emeritus

emeritusemeritus

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. Best known in the graduating class have been Chuck Romine, Roger Samples, Dave Ball, Jacob Scarr, Stewart Schneider and Bill Hoke.

DaveThe best known Floodster Emeritus is our co-founder Dave Peyton, who, due to a bad fall and subsequent surgery in September 2016, can no longer play his Autoharp with us. Dave is still with us -- for instance, he's the monthly storyteller at the new Route 60 Saturday Night and he's prominently featured on the most recent CD, "Live, In Concert" -- but we mourn the loss of that vital sound.