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Dear Diary ... The Podcast Archives: 2010

Thanksgiving2010 saw the weekly gatherings at the Bowens' house evolve from simple rehearsals into weekly jam sessions encompassing more and more visitors, some playing, some just on hand to listen. In fact, the pre-Thanksgiving session found 27 people(!) in the room, from as far away as New York and Washington and as near as around the block. Spice the evening with the baggie of kazoos -- the happy instrument Flood kazoo norm-shirleyguru Dave Peyton calls "the West Virginia saxophone" -- and you have one of the jolliest podcasts of the year.

Speaking of kazoos -- and who wouldn't speak of kazoos whenever possible? -- Dave rocked the annual Coon Sanders Nighthawks Reunion bash with his kazoo seminar, though Dale Jones actually managed to steal the show with, of all things, a trombone mute. It's got to be heard -- and seen! -- to be believed.

Among the memorable visitors the practice room over the year were singer-songwriter Doug Imbrogno, jazz guitarist Randy Brown, harmonicat Jim Rumbaugh, bluegrass phenom Ron Eldridge, and a duet of stellar folk duos, Cathy Barton & Dave Para and Rod & Judy Jones.

Finally, some personal favorites of ours from The Floodishness of '10 are "Statesboro Blues" (5/13/10), "Ditty Wah Ditty" (9/9/10), "Floodiz Navidad" (12/23/10) featuring Dave Ball, "Bub," to us!


         January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


JANUARY

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The 4th St. Mess-Around

Jan. 6, 2010.  Jelly Roll Baker. Born in New Orleans in 1899, Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson was one of America's great blues and jazz artist, recording with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Charlie Christian, Eddie Lang and many, many more. After World War II, Johnson started recording rhythm and blues with King Records in Cincinnati. This tune, recorded by scores of blues players over the years, came out of that period, and The Flood learned its version from a great 1960s recording by folksinger Tom Rush.

Jan. 21, 2010.  Raglan Road. Poet Patrick Kavanagh wrote the "On Raglan Road" in 1946 and it quickly became a beloved poem in his native Ireland. But it didn't become internationally known until years later when the poet met Luke Kelly of the famous Irish band, The Dubiners, and Luke set Patrick's words to the music of a traditional melody, "The Dawning of the Day." This recording comes from the end of a long Flood jam session when Joe Dobbs teamed up with Flood buddy Mike Smith for some inspired twin fiddle.

Jan. 28, 2010.  The Wagoner's Lad with Doug Imbrogno. It's always a special night when singer-songwriter Doug Imbrogno drops by our weekly jam session. And a highlight of last night's session was the tune Doug left us with at the end of the evening, his simple, a cappella rendition of a great old traditional number, "The Wagoner's Lad." This song is related to a lot of American folk songs, from "My Horse's Ain't Hungry" and "Rye Whiskey" to even "Pretty Polly" and "On Top of Old Smokey." The verses, found in many songs, can be traced back to England in the 1730s and a song called "The Ladies Case."

FEBURARY

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Doug Imbrogno

Feb. 4, 2010.  Walk Right In. The first jug band tune we ever heard was on the radio. A.M. radio. Trouble was we didn't even know it WAS a jug band tune. It was 47 years ago -- 1963 -- and the song, at number 1 on the Billboard chart, was "Walk Right In" by Eric Darling's folk music trio, The Rooftop Singers. We didn't find out until later that "Walk Right In" was a much older song, that it was written and recorded in the late 1920s by the great Gus Cannon and His Jug Stompers. This version, recorded at last night's jam session, is The Flood's tip of the hat to Brother Gus.

Feb. 11, 2010.  Furniture Man. Dick Justice was a West Virginia original -- a Logan County coal miner and a white blues singer who was heavily influenced by black musicians, especially Luke Jordan from the hills of neighboring Virginia. Our joeDave Peyton found this great old tune years ago on an anthology of little known recordings by West Virginians in the early 20th Century, and he's been singing it with The Flood for years now as "Furniture Man." Dick recorded his original -- for the old Brunswick label in the spring of 1929 -- as "Cocaine Blues."

Feb. 18, 2010.  Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Down. This old folk tune actually is an Ohio River song that was sung by the roustabouts who loaded and unloaded steamboats at the turn of the last century. Hundreds of contemporary versions exist, including one by The Blues Project back in the late 1960s and a fairly recent cover by brother Bob Dylan. This track came from the early hours of a recent Wednesday night Flood jam session.

Feb. 25, 2010.  Since I Fell For You. The guys all love it when Michelle Walker can make it to a jam session. The lady we call The Chick Singer always has us sampling tasty tunes that aren't The Flood's usual menu. Here Michelle's take on that great old Lenny Welch hit from the 1960s, "Since I Fell For You."

MARCH

March 4, 2010.  Didn't He Ramble? Here's a tune that's been around the block so many times, it doesn't know WHERE it came from. Louis Armstrong used to do it. So did Jelly Roll Morton. Rowdy college boys in the 1920s sang it. Before them, ragtime players had a version. Some even say the great W.C. Handy had a hand its creation. Don't know about, but The Flood takes its version from a late 1920s recording by our hero, legendary banjo picker Charlie Poole.

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Randy Brown

March 11, 2010.  Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone. Jazz guitarist Randy Brown has been making music around our town for nearly 40 years. Most of the time he plays with Dale Jones and his Backyard Dixie Jazz Stompers. Recently, Randy dropped by the Flood's weekly jam session to sit in with his beautiful 1935 Gibson L-5. Here's a cut for the evening, featuring Randy and guys on a great old 1930s jazz standard.

March 18, 2010.  Ain't Misbehavin'. Fats Waller wrote this song in 1929 and recorded that year for Victor Records. For the next 80 years, it's been recorded by Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Kay Starr, Ray Charles -- the list just goes on and on. In 1978, it was the title tune of a successful Broadway musical. And in 1984, Fats' original 1929 recording received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award. A few years ago, the song also was included in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress. Our buddy Randy Brown is sitting in with us on guitar on this version from the jam session.

March 25, 2010.  Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out. Jimmy Cox wrote this tune in 1923 and the great Bessie Smith recorded it that same year, her first year of recording for Columbia Records. Since then, the song's been recorded by … oh, well,-- everybody, from Leadbelly and Josh White to Jose Feliciano and The Allman Brothers to Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart. This track was just a passing fancy at a recent Flood jam session.

APRIL

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At Home, March 17, 2010

April 1, 2010.  Bye Bye Blues. This tune was written in Tin Pan Alley in 1930 and over the next few decades was recorded by one great another another -- Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway. But most people didn't really notice the song until 1952 when it became a smash hit for Les Paul and Mary Ford. Here's The Flood's take on "Bye Bye Blues."Mike

April 7, 2010.  Rickety Tickety Tin. Our good friend, Mike Smith, often comes to the weekly jam session with a beautiful a cappella ballad from his home in the British Isles. But if you ask Mike for a tune near April Fool's Day, as we did a few Wednesdays ago, well, watch out. He was ready for us with this pseudo Irish ballad from the permanently warped mind of the great satirical songwriter, Tom Lehrer.

April 15, 2010.  Abilene. Back in 1963, Bob Gibson and John D. Loudermilk wrote "Abilene," a tune that would stay at Number 1 on the country charts for four weeks when it was recorded by Mr. Suntan himself, George Hamilton IV, but the song's been recorded by many people since then. And incidentally, Gibson and Loudermilk never really said whether they were writing about Abilene, Texas, or Abilene, Kansas. Both cities claim it as their own.

April 22, 2010.  Stealin'. Here's a song that nobody can really claim to have written. Some individual lines in the lyric cropped up in blues recorded as early as 1921. Others didn't show up until the version we learned it from, the Memphis Jug Band rendition recorded in September 1928. We in The Flood can't even remember when we started doing this one … but heck, there are LOTS of things *we* can't remember.

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Dale Jones at Coon Sanders

April 29, 2010.  All of Me -- with Dale Jones. It was just a goofy night at the Flood jam session. Spring in the air, I suppose, and seeing old friends after a seemingly endless winter. Coming out to sit in with us were Chuck Romine on banjo and Randy Brown on guitar and Dale Jones, leader of the Backyard Dixie Jazz Stompers, brought his trombone. And hands down, the highlight of the evening was when Dale used his trombone mute as make-shift megaphone to do his best Rudy Vallee imitation.

MAY

May 6, 2010.  Don't Get Around Much Anymore. When Duke Ellington wrote this tune, he called it "Never No Lament," and his orchestra recorded it under that name in 1940. But then Bob Russell came along two years later and wrote some dynamite lyrics that gave the melody a whole new life as "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." The following year, there were no fewer than three versions on the charts at the same time -- The Duke's own as well as renditions by The Ink Spots and Glen Gray. Here's Michelle Walker's take on the tune.

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At Coon Sanders, 2010

May 13, 2010.  Statesboro Blues. Blind Willie McTell did this tune in 1928 and the "Statesboro" in the title refers to McTell's home state of Georgia, not North Carolina. Incidentally, Willie borrowed part of the lyrics from a 1923 Sippie Wallace recording of "Up the Country Blues," which many of us old hippies know as Canned Heat's tune, "Goin' up the Country." But for The Flood's version, we're heavily influenced by Tom Rush's recording in the mid-1960s.

May 20, 2010.  Ramblin' Boy. Whether at a concert or at a jam session, the music often depends as much on the people who listen as the people who play. All musicians know that -- it's the other side of the equation. Our good friend Bob McCoy passed away suddenly, and we lost one of our favorite listeners. Now, as we hear to this tune from a jam session last year, we can still see Bob grinning at us from across the room and singing along on the chorus.

May 27, 2010. You Don't Know Me. It was only a couple of weeks ago that Michelle first brought up this tune, and it's already become a favorite at the weekly jam session. It was written in 1955 by Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold. Jerry Vale's version charted the following year, but the best-selling rendition was the 1962 hit by Ray Charles. Here's Michelle Walker's "You Don't Know Me," with Randy Brown doing the honors on the solo.

JUNE

June 3, 2010.  Trouble in Mind. At a recent weekly jam session, Joe Dobbs brought along a beautiful new dreadnought guitar made by Bob Thompson of Ravenswood, West Virginia. It passed from hand to hand for a while, but then spent most of the evening in the hands of our young lead guitar player, Jacob Scarr. It's interesting how something like that can add an extra spark to an already-energized night.

June 10, 2010.  Come All Ye Fair and Tender Maidens. It was more than 35 years ago now when Dave, Charlie and Joe first got together to start The Flood. Dozens of good friends have been in the band over the years, and one of the first tunes we ever did was this old Jean Ritchie ballad that veteran Floodster Rog Samples and Charlie arranged back in the mid-1970s. Nowadays, we don't think to do it much any more at the weekly jam sessions, but last night it just seemed like the perfect song to start with on a misty summer evening.

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Jim Rumbaugh

June 17, 2010.  Blues for Jim. In the etiquette of The Flood, when a fine harmonica player drops in on your weekly jam session, you gotta trot out a blues or two. In the world of harmonicas, you don't get much finer than Jim Rumbaugh. Around here, Jim's been driving force in the incredibly successful, entertaining Huntington Harmonica Club. We were so pleased have him with us last night that we hardly let him get settled in before we had him wailing on a little sumpin in the key of E.

June 24, 2010.  Moonglow. The first time Michelle Walker sang in public with The Flood was about seven years. We were playing at West Virginia's Snowshoe Mountain Resort and her tune was "Moonglow." We still do this great old Will Hudson - Irving Mills standard. Here, from last night's jam session, Michelle teams up with Joe Dobbs' beautiful fiddle for the 2010 version of the 1934 classic.

JULY

July 1, 2010.  My Dear Companion. It was old-home week at the jam session. Two dear companions, former Floodsters from the 1970s, dropped in for a visit. Bill Hoke of Abingdon, Va., who used to play bass with us, and Stewart Schneider of Ashland, Ky., our one-time harmonica player, were both on hand. We even got Stewart to dust off his harps and sit in with us for a few tunes, including this one, a great old Jean Ritchie composition called -- appropriately enough -- "My Dear Companion."

July 8, 2010.  Sweet Georgia Brown. We've been playing around with "Sweet Georgia Brown" for years now, but only recently did we learn of the song's West Virginia connection. Dave Peyton dropped the news on us as a recent jam session -- "Hey, man, it's a West Virginia tune." True enough -- composer Maceo Pinkard was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, in 1897 and went on to become one of the greatest composers in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and '30s. While he wrote hundreds of tunes, including many for stage and screen, this was his greatest one. Yes, she might have been Sweet Georgia Brown, but the girl also had West Virginia roots.

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Rod & Judy Jones

July 15, 2010.  Ingrid Bergman. Last night's weekly jam session happened to fall on Woody Guthrie's birthday. The Flood paid tribute to the great American troubadour with a verse or two from "Do Re Mi," but it was Flood buddy Mike Smith who stole the evening with his version of a little-known Woody Guthrie pipe dream that was later set to music by the great Billy Bragg.

July 22, 2010.  St. Louis Blues. By the time of his death in 1958, W.C. Handy was earning upwards of $25,000 a year in royalties on his best-known tune, "St. Louis Blues." Not bad for a child that had been bringing home the bacon since its birth in 1914.

July 29, 2010.  Katy Dear with Rod & Judy Jones. It was international night at this week's Wednesday gathering. Veronica Smith, mother of Flood buddy Mike Smith, was visiting from England and taking in her first Flood jam session. And from Down Under, old friends Rod and Judy Jones were back in town and sittin' in. It's hard to believe that it's been more than 30 years since The Flood first met Rod and Judy when, on their first visit to the states, they ended up on stage with us in a concert at the Huntington Museum of Art. Back home in Australia, along with another old friend, Lindsay Mar, they play in the popular My-T-Fine Stringband. Here fiddlin' Joe Dobbs joins them on an old-time classic.

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At Fairmont, Aug. 6, 2010

AUGUST

Aug. 5, 2010.  Ain't The Gravy Good. Trumpeter Cootie Williams wrote and sang this novelty tune back in 1938 when it was recorded by Duke Ellington's orchestra. The Flood did it regularly five years ago or so, but only recently have we dusted it off again. We forgot how much fun it is to play. Now, our Sam St. Clair often say about our racier songs that they're actually just "about food," but, hey, this one really is. Or, at least, we THINK it's about food.

Aug. 12, 2010.  Martha Campbell. Fiddler and educator John Harrod once called the fiddle tune "Martha Campbell" the Kentucky national anthem. The haunting melody does seem to have a remarkable resonance for the fiddlers of the Bluegrass State. It was one of the first tunes recorded by the great Kentucky fiddler Doc Roberts back in 1925. Researchers believe Roberts learned it at least 10 years earlier from his mentor, the African-American fiddler Owen Walker of Madison County, Ky. Joe Dobbs has been playing "Martha Campbell" for decades now, and recently when our banjo-picking buddy Judy Jones was visiting from Australia, she and Joe dusted off the tune again.Cathy and Dave

Aug. 19, 2010.  The Bayou Sara with Cathy Barton & Dave Para. It was on the good old steamboat Delta Queen that we first met Missouri folksingers Cathy Barton and Dave Para. Most recently, Dave and Cathy shared the stage with us at a concert in Fairmont, W.Va., then a couple of weeks later, on the way home to Boonville, Mo., from Virginia, they stopped to spend the evening with us and shared a few tunes at the Wednesday night jam session. Cathy and Dave know a passel of riverboat songs. Here's a sweet one from Mary Wheeler's 1944 collection of roustabout songs called "Steamboatin' Days."

Aug. 26, 2010.  Somebody Stole My Gal. Our good friend Richard Cobb says our weekly jam session reminds him of an old-fashioned "happening." Every week, the music that happens is solely determined by who walks through the door that night. And last night was a good example. About a third of The Flood couldn't make the session, but those of us who did were joined by buddies who came just to sit in for the evening, good folks like Jim Rumbaugh on harmonica and Randy Brown on guitar. All that music got stirred up and the next thing you know, we were whipping up a new batch of "Somebody Stole My Girl."

summer 2010

SEPTEMBER

Sept. 2, 2010. Heaven's Radio. Dave Peyton was a good friend of country music stars Molly O'Day and her husband, band leader Lynn Davis. Columbia Records artists who were signed by the legendary Fred Rose himself, Molly and Lynn were much in demand in '40s and early '50s, but left at the height of their career, deciding instead to devote themselves to their church and gospel music. Dave met them in the 1970s, when Molly and Lynn settled in our town of Huntington and spent their last years performing on a local Christian radio station. Molly's name came up again at a recent Wednesday night jam session when our friends from Australia, Rod and Judy Jones, dropped in and dusted off a Molly O'Day classic. Here, with Joe Dobbs on fiddle, is "Heaven's Radio."

Sept. 9, 2010.  Ditty Wah Ditty. Precious little is known about Blind Blake. There's only one photograph. We don't even known where he was born or when and how he died. But between 1926 and 1932, Arthur "Blind" Blake left a slew of Chuckwonderful blues recordings for Paramount Records. And Blake penned this song that for 80 years now has tickled the fancy of eclectic performers like Leon Redbone and Ry Cooder. Recently The Flood took a ride on the same great old song on an evening when our old buddy Chuck Romine dropped by to sit in with his tenor banjo.

Sept. 23, 2010.  San Francisco Bay Blues. The first time we ever heard the kazoo played on the radio was in the mid-'60s when Peter, Paul and Mary took a kazoo break on "San Francisco Bay Blues." And it turns out the kazoo is generally associated with this great old tune. One-man band Jesse Fuller, who wrote the song, took a kazoo solo on his original 1962 recording of it. And then, 30 years later, super-cool Eric Clapton even took a kazoo break when he recorded it. Of course, in The Flood, it's Brother Dave Peyton who's our hoodoo kazoo guru, and recently he spun a little of that old kazoo magic on the tune when it popped up at a recent Wednesday night jam session.

Sept. 30, 2010 The Ash Grove. Last weekend, Joe and Charlie traveled to Cincinnati to play in the wedding of Charlie's cousin, Andy Dronberger. Andy and his new bride, Melissa, wanted something different than the usual wedding music fare for their big day, so for the bride's entrance at the ceremony, they played a traditional melody, "The Ash Grove." That haunting, beautiful old Welsh tune was still very much on their minds at last night's regular Flood jam session, when Joe shared it with the guys.

OCTOBER

Oct. 7, 2010.  Ron Eldridge Gets Flooded. It's always interesting when dye-in-the-wool bluegrassers wander into one of our jam sessions. There's usually one of two possible reactions when they get a whiff of The Flood's thick jumbo of Ronblues, swing and jugband music. They either about-face and head back to the door or they grin and grab a seat at the table. (The good ones even bring their own spoon.) You'd be hard-pressed to find a better bluegrass player today than Ron Eldridge. Ronnie grew in our area, started playing his daddy's fiddle in the late 1960s and by the mid-'70s was playing with Jacobthe locally legendary Sweeney Brothers band. In the 1980s, Eldridge struck out for Nashville and has been there ever since, a solid citizen in that famed music scene and a frequent performer on The Grand Ole Opry. But last night it was The Flood's turn and Ron showed us he could put the BLUE(S) in bluegrass. Ron Eldridge was such a good sport to sample our music and in the end gave us a treat. Flying back into more familiar territory, he capped the evening with a few choruses of Bob Wills' classic, "Maiden's Prayer."

Oct. 14, 2010. Midnight Special. Our weekly jam sessions often let us get reacquainted with old friends. And sometimes the old friends are old tunes. We hadn't played that great old Leadbelly standard "Midnight Special" for five or six years, but one autumn evening recently it just sort of felt like the right song for the right night. Oh, it took us a minute or two to remember how we used to do it, but after a chorus or two, it drop right back into the groove.

Oct. 28, 2010.  Got the Kansas City Blues. Here's a tune from last summer when our Missouri buddies Dave Para and Cathy Barton dropped in. This was at the end of the evening, when they took a ride on the first number ever recorded by the great Delmore Brothers in 1931.

NOVEMBER

Nov. 4, 2010.  Any Way She Done It. Our hero, Hudson Woodbridge -- known to millions as Tampa Red -- recorded his tune called "No Matter How She Done" in Chicago in 1932. Sixty or 70 years later, The Flood picked it up and flipped the polarity on the old number, doing it as "Any Way She Done," but, hey, that won't matter. Any way you do it, it's still Tampa Red's baby!

Nov. 11, 2010.  Georgia on My Mind. The Flood has an abiding love for the music of the great Hoagy Carmichael. Sometimes nothing fits the mood better than one of Hoagy's tune, and last night was such a night. At a lull in the usual rowdy jugband action at the jam session, Joe eased into "Georgia on My Mind." On the break, we turned it over to Jacob for a couple of sweet choruses on the guitar before handing it back to Joe's fiddle, and in the process, made a memory.

Nov. 18, 2010.  Misty. Flood co-founder Dave Peyton was bit under the weather and Tgivignhad not been able to attend the weekly jam sessions. One night the guys were especially missing him. So, knowing how Dave's always been such a fan the great Johnny Mathis, Michelle Walker led us on a special musical get-well card for our old spiritual leader and kazoo guru.

Nov. 25, 2010.  Thanksgiving 2010 ... with Kazoos.... Twenty-seven people in one room. Pamela comes in with a baggie of kazoos. Orchestrated chaos ensues. It was the night before Thanksgiving and the crowd included friends coming from as far away as New York and Washington and as near as across town and from down around the block. With this bunch, well, there's always something to be thankful for.

 

DECEMBER

Dec. 2, 2010.  Ashokan Farewell. New Yorker Jay Ungar wrote "Ashokan Farewell" in 1982 and for nearly a decade, the sweet waltz, written in the style of a Scottish lament, was known mainly only to Jay's fellow fiddlers. But then in 1990s, Bubfilmmaker Ken Burns used it as the title theme of his Civil War series on PBS and suddenly the tune was an international hit. The song's always been a late-night favorite at the Flood jam sessions, especially when Doug Chaffin moves over to guitar to partner with Joe Dobbs' beautiful fiddle.

Dec. 9, 2010.  You Got Me Runnin'. One of the fun things about our weekly jam sessions is that there are often surprises. For instance, for years The Flood has used this simple little Jimmy Reed piece from 1959 as a warmup tune, without thinking much about it. However, recently, Michelle Walker came up with an interesting harmony part for the vocals and suddenly it's like a new brand new tune for us.

Dec. 23, 2010.  Floodiz Navidad. It was Christmas Eve-eve-eve, and several dozen people were in the room to party with The Flood at our weekly jam session, when we turned it over to Dave Ball -- to us, he's known as Bub -- for a seasonal favorite: a twisted Christmas parody from the great Bob Rivers. Later in the evening, The Flood's good buddy, Mike Smith, dropped in to favor us with a beautiful a cappella rendition of one of our all-time favorite carols of the season.

Dec. 30, 2010.  We Got Moonshine in Those West Virginia Hills. Flood buddy Rose Marie Riter, a regular at our Wednesday night jam sessions, heads up our ministry of laughter and general tomfoolery. Miz Rose brought her brother and niece to a recent session and, at one point in the evening she requested this oh-so beautiful old Roy Harvey ballad. Brother Dave Peyton was on hand and happy to do the honors.