Dear Diary ... The Podcast Archives: 2009

jacobThe big development of year was that Jacob Scarr, our youngest Floodster ever, officially joined the band in March 2009. Jacob had been sitting in with us for a year a more. He was already good enough to be a Floodster then, but we weren't sure that, at 14, he would retain his interest. When he turned 16 and was still showing up each each week, we enthusiastically asked him to make it official. He would stay with the band until he left for college in the summer of 2011.

Also that yeaer, we had some good friends sitting with us from time to time:

-- Dr. Wendell Dobbs and our fiddler, Joe, were not related, but whenever you heard Joe's fiddle and Wendell's flute together, you'd swear these Dobbses were brothers. Or at least, they ought to be. Wendell, a music professor at Marshall University and a section leader of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra, dropped by the Flood sessions just to have an evening with Joe.

Bill-- Young British fiddler Mike Smith and his stepdaughter Sydney became at the weekly jam sessions, and eventually Mike and Joe worked on some nice duets. Mike also would sometimes treat us to some wonderful a cappella ballads.

-- Flood Emeritus Bill Hoke dropped in for a great, nostalgic visit and even borrowed Charlie's guitar to do a few tunes.

For a slew of random auto-selected numbers that we played that year, click here to tune into Radio Floodango's 2009 channel.

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


Jan. 9, 2009. The New Wreck of the Old 97. The guys are playing around with an old parody Charlie learned from the recordings of the late, great Utah Phillips, stopping for solos by Joe, Dave and Doug.


-- Re-routing Train Songs: Speaking to a concert audience in 2012, Charlie remembers when he and David played their first gig, to retired railroaderss, offering up, among other treats, an irreverent parody of a train classic.

Jan. 10, 2009. Basin Street Blues. Michelle Walker leads the band in her version of the great Spencer Williams tune from the 1920s. Oh, and don’t miss Br’er Dave Peyton’s big blue kazoo surprise at the end…

Video Extra!

Wendell Dobbs

Jan. 16, 2009. McLeod's Reel. Dr. Wendell Dobbs — a professor at Marshall University, a section leader of the Huntington Symphony Orchestra — is an old friend. In fact, his Irish band, Blackbirds and Thrushes, has performed in the same programs with The Flood often over the years. One night not long ago, Wendell dropped by with his flute to jam with us, and here Joe and Wendell team up on a great old fiddle tune.

Jan. 23, 2009. France Blues. This old tune dates back at least to an April 1927 recording called “Hey Lawdy Mama/France Blues” by a group called “Sonny Boy & His Pals.” It was later reissued under the names “Papa Harvey Hull and Long Cleeve Reed” — they might have been the same group. Anyway, we learned it in the 1960s from the only recording from the great Even Dozen Jug Band. We recorded this one on Christmas Eve 2008.

Jan. 29, 2009. One-Eyed Sam. We’ve just started to work on this tune, which we’re learning from a 1938 recording by a little-known but wonderful Kentucky string band called Eldon Baker And His Brown County Revelers. Eldon and his brother, Floyd, led the group, joined by Charlie Linville on fiddle and Harry Baker on guitar. “One-Eyed Sam” was one of the jazzy little tunes the band recorded in Chicago for Columbia.


Feb. 5, 2009. Good As I Been To You. This old tune dates back to the fall of 1927 when a bluesman called Blind Blake recorded it in Chicago. Nobody know much about Blake -- even where he was born (they think it was Florida) or when he died Doug(probably in the early '30s) -- but he left us about 80 tracks recorded for the old Paramount label. Bob Dylan recorded this song in 1992 as "You're Gonna Quit Me." The Flood often uses it for a warm-up tune, giving everybody a couple of choruses.


-- Remembering Blind Blake: On Joe's "Music from the Mountains" show in 2006, Charlie gives a shoutout to a great singer/guitarist/composer.

Feb. 12, 2009. Backwater Blues. Jacob Scarr is a talented young guitar player who’s been sitting in with The Flood for a year or so now, and we’ve loved watching him get just better and better week after week. Jacob is featured on this little blues we use as a warm-up tune. Oh, while you’re listening, don’t miss Michelle Walker’s neat supporting vocals on this track. Yes, the Chick Singer’s working her own arrangement!

Feb. 19, 2009. Down in the Flood. This old Bob Dylan tune seems more or less MADE for The Flood. We’ve loved every version we’ve ever heard, from Bobby’s original to Flatt & Scruggs (Oh Mama!)…

Feb. 26, 2009. Blue Moon. We started doing this old standard soon after Michelle Walker, the Chick Singer, made her Flood debut a few years back. There’s something so relaxing about this Rodgers and Hart melody and lyric. The first commercial release of “Blue Moon” was by Connee Boswell in 1935, but of course, since then it’s been recorded by everyone from Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to Dylan and the Cowboy Junkies.


-- Oh, THAT "Blue Moon"! On Joe's "Music from the Mountains" radio show, David offers his own introduction.



March 5, 2009. Wade in the Water. This old spiritual was first published in 1901 in “New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers” by John Wesley Work II and his brother, Frederick J. Work. “Wade in the Water” was a popular instrumental hit in 1966 for the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which prompted further instrumental recordings. But our favorite version was the late, great Odetta in 1954.


-- Got the Title; Now Learn the Song! How a "water song" led to an album cover.

March 12, 2009. Dead Cat on the Line. Many blues singers have recorded this cool old song over the years, but we took our inspiration from the April 1934 recording by our heroes Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Incidentally, while the Flood always does feline noises in this number, the "dead cat" in this title may actually be talking about fishing. Words guru William Safire wrote in no less an authority than The New York Times in 1998 that the phase "dead cat on the line" appears to refer to a dead catfish on a trotline, evidence that a lazy fisherman has not been checking his poles. In other words, something's fishy...


-- Lesser-Known Ludwig. We discuss the rumor (which, well, we started) that Beethoven wrote "Dead Cat on the Line."

Video Extra!

Joe Dobbs & Chuck Romine

March 19, 2009. Georgie Buck. The late Aunt Jennie Wilson was born in 1900 in Logan County, West Virginia. She learned tunes from family members and other musicians in her coalfield community and was among the first women in her region to play the banjo. Our Dave Peyton got to know Jennie in the 1960s and learned a number of songs from her, many of which he has taught the Flood. Here Dave leads the boys in a rendition of Jennie's old play-party tune, "Georgie Buck." Incidentally, the Carolina Chocolate Drops do an interesting, different version of this same old string band number.


-- Is Georgie Buck Kosher? David and Miz Rose discover a religious connection to this old Aunt Jennie song.

March 26, 2009. Buddy Bolden Blues. The story of Charles “Buddy” Bolden — also known as King Bolden — is the story of jazz itself at its very beginnings. A trumpet player in New Orleans in the first few years of the 20th Century, Bolden influenced the first generation of jazzmen. We have no recordings of Bolden, but the great Jelly Roll Morton called him “the most powerful trumpet player I’ve ever heard.” This tune was Bolden’s only known piece of original music, which he called “Funky Butt.” Jelly Roll later recorded it with the opening line, “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,” and it’s come down to us as “Buddy Bolden Blues.” Jelly Roll was the only person recording the tune who’d actually heard Buddy play it. The Flood learned its version of the song from a 1961 Folkways recording by bluesmen Rolf Cahn and Eric von Schmidt.


-- Funky Butt. Charlie shares what he's learned about Jelly Roll Morton and his friendship with the legendary Buddy Bolden.


-- This minister in church is healing these people ...


Video Extra!

with Mike Smith, "Whisky Before Breakfast"

April 2, 2009. Soldier' Joy. Young British fiddler Mike Smith and his stepdaughter Sydney have become regulars at the Wednesday night jam sessions, and lately Mike and Joe Dobbs have been working on some nice duets. Here the twin fiddles rock through a sweet version of “Soldier’s Joy,” perhaps the best known fiddle tune on either side of the Atlantic. “Soldier’s Joy,” like many fiddle tunes, was popularized by minstrel shows in the 19th Century, but the tune is much older than that and is known by other names. For instance, the Amish in north central Ohio know this tune as “Two Rattle.” Meanwhile, there are various theories about what “Soldier’s Joy” means. Some think tune originated in Ireland as “Soldier’s Hornpipe.” Another story has it that a soldier’s “joy” was his pay, prompting some to call the tune “Pay Day in the Army.” But you’ll also hear that the name was bestowed by wounded soldiers in the American Civil War who nicknamed their morphine “soldier’s joy.”


-- Two old farmers were talking ...

April 7, 2009. Fly Me to the Moon. Michelle Walker, takes the Flood in a whole ‘nother direction with the great standard from the 1950s. “Fly to the Moon” is often associated with Frank Sinatra, of course, but his version wasn’t recorded until 10 years after Bart Howard wrote the song. Over the years, it’s been recorded by everyone from Nat King Cole, Count Basie and Earl Grant to Connie Francis and Doris Day. More recently it’s had a rebirth in the movies, used in the opening titles of Oliver Stone’s 1987 film, “Wall Street” and in the closing moments of Clint Eastwood’s 2000 film, “Space Cowboys.” Incidentally, the tune was originally entitled, “In Other Words,” but became popularly called “Fly Me to the Moon” because of its first line. It took the publishers a few years to officially change the song’s name.

Video Extra!

Chuck Romine, Dave Peyton
and Wallace Washboard II

April 16, 2009. Hoochie Coochie Man/7th Son (Muddy Willie). Jacob Scarr, the newest — and youngest ever — member of The Flood, was getting ready to leave the jam session the other night when the guys said, “Aw, kid, do one more!” This track, with Jacob’s guitar solos, was the result. It’s The Flood’s tribute to bluesmen Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. “Hoochie-Coochie Man” was written by Dixon and recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954, and most of our rendition is that tune. But we also incorporate a little shout-out to another favorite Willie Dixon composition, “Seventh Son.”

April 23, 2009. Billy in the Low Ground. Our fiddler, Joe Dobbs, says his grandfather used to fiddle this tune. Not surprising. "Billy in the Low Ground" is an old one. In fact, it's believed to have begun life among the bagpipers of Highland Scotland. As an American fiddle tune, it's particularly associated with southern Virginia and first appeared in print in a book of Virginia reels published more than 20 years before the Civil War. The tune's had many names. Our favorite? Well, that's got to be: "Fiddler's Drunk and the Fun's All Over."

Video Extra!

Flood Lite

April 30, 2009. The Dutchman. Back in the early 1980s, when he was still playing regularly with the band he helped start, Rog Samples brought this great Michael Smith tune to The Flood after learning it from a Steve Goodman album. Well, now, of course, Rog has been away from The Flood for more than 25 years and the song was forgotten for a while, tucked away in the band's foggy long-term memory. But recently the guys have dusted it off again, and it often gets trotted out at the end of a long evening's jam session. So, this is The Flood 3.0's version of "The Dutchman," with solos by Doug Chaffin, Sam St. Clair and Joe Dobbs. Dave Ball (Bub) is on bass here. Alas, Brother Peyton wasn't at this session, so we didn't get his Autoharp on this track.


-- There's this fellow in a bar and he sees these two twins...



May 7, 2009. Ain't No Free. Sam St. Clair brought us this crowd pleaser a few years ago and we almost never miss an opportunity to slip it into the set list when we're on stage, though this version was recorded at a recent Wednesday night jam session. "Ain't No Free" comes to us from the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet. NRBQ is one of America's great unknown bands -- and it's even jacobolder than the Flood, tracing back to 1967.


-- One of Life's Great Truisms. Sam's introduces his tune during a 2009 radio show in Lesington, Ky.

May 14, 2009. If You Lose Your Money. Here's a track that perfectly captures the mood of our weekly jam sessions. The other night, we'd just launched into this great old Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee song when our man Sam St. Clair came in the back door. We tell him, Sam, we'll keep the song going until you can get in on it. In the background, you can hear Brother Sam unpacking his harmonicas and in a minute he's taking the first of what will be three choruses before the tune is done.

May 21, 2009. The Farmer's Servant. Okay, most of the noise made at The Flood's weekly jam session is made by The Flood itself. But occasionally, the guys sit back and listen to somebody else's song. These days a much welcomed addition to the weekly get-togethers is Mike Smith, who sits in to play fiddle and sometimes gives us a tune from his native England. On this track, he brought down the house with this old English drinking song that was also recorded by the great Martin Carthy in the mid 1960s.

May 27, 2009. Come Back to Us, Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard. The Flood fellas have been fans of John Prine for nearly 40 years. In fact, Prine's debut album came out just about the time The Flood was stumbling into existence back in the hippy-dippy days of the early 1970s, so it was only natural that John Prine songs have been on our set lists since the very beginning. Dave Peyton, our Mount Union Road crooner, took this tune as his own as soon as it came out, and all these years later, it's still a regular at our weekly jam sessions. Now, as often with the informal tunes on these podcasts, the recording quality isn't the best, but it does capture the spirit of the evening.


June 5, 2009. Sunny Side of the Street. Michelle Walker -- we affectionately call her The Chick Singer -- first sang on michellestage with The Flood about five years ago at West Virginia's Snowshoe Mountain Resort, and this wonderful old 1930s standard was her debut number. Michelle's still singing with us regularly and we're still doing this great tune. In fact, this version was recorded at a recent jam session.

June 11, 2009. Whisky Before Breakfast -- not an especially good idea, but one fine fiddle tune -- has been on the Flood's menu for more than three decades, ever since fiddlin' Joe Dobbs brought to us back in the late '70s. It's been a Flood standard ever since. Lately, our favorite new Flood friend, Mike Smith, has been joining in on the tune, and suddenly "Whisky" has a new life as a twin fiddle piece. Check out this version from Joe and Mike from a jam session a week or so ago.

June 18, 2009. Somebody's Been Using That Thing. If there's such a thing as a "standard" in jug band music, this tune is certainly one of them. Our heroes, the Hokum Boys, recorded it back in 1930, but the song was done by lots of folks, even country blues performers in the '30s and '40s, like Homer and Walter Callahan and Milton Browne and his Musical Brownies. Well, we've always loved the song, but The Flood didn't get around to doing it until just recently, when we heard a version earlier this year by our old buddy, Ed Light, and his new band with a great name: It's Ed Light and The All New Genetically Altered Jug Band. Too cool, Ed! So, here's the Flood's take on "Somebody's Been Using That Thing."


-- One-Note Solos (and Sambas). On one evening, our buddy, jazzman Dale Jones, used this tune to teach a bit on music theory (and a lesson in minimalism.)

June 25, 2009. Please Don't Bury Me. Dave Peyton and Charlie Bowen started doing this old John Prine song back before TheFlood was even a glint in our eyes. In fact, "Please Don't Bury Me" was one of the crazy tunes they brought along when Rog Samplesand Joe Dobbs, Stewart Schneider and Bill Hoke joined them to start The Flood back in the mid-70s. And Dave and Charlie still dust this old tune off from time to time, as they did at this recent Wednesday night jam session.

Video Extra!

The Flood at Home


July 2, 2009. Peggy Day. Bob Dylan wrote and released this tune more than 40 years ago on the great "Nashville Skyline" album and we're surprised that more performers haven't recorded it over the years. "Peggy Day" is one of The Flood's favorite warm-up tunes.


-- Are We the Only Ones Who Love This Song? To a 2006 concert audience, we confess our love of Peggy Day.

July 9, 2009. Somebody Stole My Gal. Daniel Trout is a fine young percussionist who occasionally -- way too occasionally -- drives down fromAthens, Ohio, to sit in with us. The other night, Daniel showed up with a Cuban box drum called a cajón and joined us for the entire evening. Take a listen to his solo on this great old 1920s jazz standard.

July 16, 2009. Oor Hamlet. Our buddy Mike Smith simply brought down the house one Wednesday night recently when he introduced us to this wonderful bit of reduced Shakespeare. Here's his four-minute a cappella recap of all five acts of "Hamlet." Mike's tune comes from the madly unbuttoned mind of Scottish folksinger Adam McNaughtan.

July 23, 2009.  Summertime from "Porgy and Bess" is one of the most performed songs of the modern era. Any respectable music collection has dozens of versions of the Gershwin classic, from Ella Fitzgerald's smoky take on the tune to Janis Joplin's raw, electric rendering. The Flood's been doing the song for years -- we even put it on a CD back in 2002. But "Summertime" changed for us when Michelle came along to sing the lead and let us play with some harmonies. Here's Michelle's "Summertime" from a recent Wednesday evening.


Aug. 13, 2009. St. Anne's Reel. Our fiddler, Joe Dobbs, has been playing this great old tune for years, but there's a lot of confusion about its origins, because these days, it's played from Scotland and Ireland to New England and other spots all makaround the world. It's been claimed as a Shetland tune, an Irish reel, a contra-dance number and an American old-time standard. But The Flood is pretty much convinced that "St. Anne's Reel" comes to us from the French-Canadian tradition. It appears the tune was first made popular in the early 1930s through a recording of Québec fiddler Joseph Allard and later spread to English Canada and the Eastern U.S. Adding credence to the theory is that Saint Anne, of course, is traditionally a cultural and religious icon in Québec. Enjoy!

Aug. 20, 2009. Suffer to Sing the Blues. Some of us in The Flood have been loving the music of David Bromberg for nearly 40 years now. And this old tune, dusted off at a recent jam session, comes from Bromberg's debut album back in 1971. It's a song that reminds us that, dang, boy, you just got to suffer if you're going to sing the blues.

Aug. 29, 2009. Walkin' After Midnight. We always associate "Walkin' After Midnight" with the late, great Patsy Cline, but it wasn't originally intended for her, and she almost didn't record it at all. The story goes that Alan Block and Don Hecht wrote the song specifically for pop vocalist Kay Starr but, for some reason, her recording company didn't want her to record it, so the tune sat unused. Later on, Don Hecht thought up and coming Patsy Cline's voice was perfect for the song, but Patsy didn't like it, thinking it was too "pop" for her decidedly country sound. In 1957, when Patsy auditioned for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts program, she was supposed to sing her song, "A Poor Man's Roses," but someone on the show insisted on "Walkin' After Midnight" instead. Patsy then won the competition with the song, and the rest, as they say, is history. This is our Michelle Walker's version of this 50-year-old classic.


Sept. 3, 2009 Way Downtown. Our good buddy Chuck Romine played tenor banjo with The Flood for six glorious years, before stepping down to spend more time traveling and visiting with his family. But hey, as we often say, The Flood is easier to get into than it is to get out of, and once a Floodster, always a Floodster. Chuck still sits in with us occasionally at gigs and other gatherings, and recently, ol' Dr. Jazz surprised us by dropping by this Wednesday night jam session.

Video Extra!

Lulu Returns

By the way, we also created a video last year with a live performance of this tune in concert in Kentucky in 2002, featuring Chuck and the guys. Click here to view it.

Sept. 10, 2009. Jug Band Music. We learned this tune from a 1960s recording by our heroes, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. And THEY learned it from a 1934 recording by everybody's heroes, the Memphis Jug Band headed up by the legendary Will Shade. Kweskin called the tune "Jug Band Music," but it was known as "Jug Band Quartette" on the original 1930s recording. Not unlike The Flood itself, the Memphis Jug Band didn't like to easily categorize its music, recording a wild mixture of ballads, dance tunes, knock-about novelty numbers, blues and even their own special take on pop tunes of the day.

Sept. 19, 2009. Needed Time. Sometimes at The Flood's jam sessions, impromptu tributes to our heroes come about when we land on tunes we don't usually plays. Here's a case in point. Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins recorded "Jesus, Will Come By Here" back in 1952, but the song went largely unnoticed for 20 years. Then in 1972, the Cicely Tyson/Paul Winfield movie, "Sounder," used it in the soundtrack, calling it "Needed Time," and that's the first we heard it. This jam session version is a lot more raucous than Lightnin's original, but it does capture the joy of Wednesday nights with the Family Flood.

Video Extra!

Vandalia Waltz

Sept. 24, 2009.  Sittin' on Top of the World. Some Bluegrass pickers who these days do the standard "Sittin' on Top of the World" might be astounded to find out where their tune came from. It was actually written and recorded in the early 1930s by some Flood heroes: the great country blues band, The Mississippi Sheiks. And over the years, versions of this song have been done by everyone from Ray Charles to Bill Monroe, from the Grateful Dead to Willie Nelson. Oh, and here's a curious bit of trivia. A great verse in this song goes, "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree." Well, it turns out that the "peaches" verse has a long history in popular music. A variation of the line even appeared nearly a hundred years ago in a chorus of a little-known Irving Berlin song, as "If you don't want my peaches / You'd better stop shaking my tree." Irving, you old dog, you!


-- Compositions While You Wait. How The Mississippi Sheiks Came to Write a classic blues standard.


Oct. 1, 2009. Tear It Down (Foldin' Bed). A good case can be made that jugband music was actually born down river from us in the city of Louisville, Ky. I suppose it can't be proved, but what we do know for a fact is that a great number of jugbands flourished in Louisville in the '20s and '30s, and there was none better than the wonderful Whistler's Jug Band Bubheaded by guitarist Buford Threlkeld. Whistler was the first group in the nation to record jugband music, starting in 1924. Now, we know that over the years, a lot of bands did this tune, "Tear It Down," as known as "Foldin' Bed," but we suspect Whistler was the first. Here's The Flood's version, from a recent jam session.


-- Rose Admires Bub's Little Thing-A-Ma-Bob. Just as The Flood gets its new podcast up and running, Miz Rose Marie Riter challenges it with some of her racy talk about our brother Bub's new coiffure.

Video Extra!

On the Riverfront


Oct. 8, 2009.  Margaret's Waltz. The Margaret of "Margaret's Waltz" was Margaret Grant, well known in country dance circles in the south west of England in the 1950s. Pat Shaw wrote this beautiful piece in her honor in the early 1960s, and the tune was beautifully recorded by the celtic greats, The Boys of the Lough. But in our part of the world, this tune is famously associated with fiddle legend J.P. Fraley, a dear old friend of The Flood. Here, Joe Dobbs models his rendition of this great waltz on the playing of J.P. Fraley.

Oct. 15, 2009. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore. Our weekly jam sessions are not just rehearsals. Sometimes they're also trips down the foggy ruins of time. Occasionally, someone will ask for a tune we haven't done in years and it's fun to find out if we still remember how it goes. Here's a case in point. John Prine write "Your Decal Won't Get You into Heaven Anymore" during the Vietnam War years, and that's when Dave Peyton and Charlie Bowen first started doing it. You know, it's sad that the funny little tune is still relevant… how many wars later?

Video Extra!

Bill Hoke

Oct. 22, 2009. You Can't Get That Stuff No More. He was born in 1904 in Smithville, Georgia, and was given what was definitely NOT a blues name: Hudson Woodbridge. Well, the world wouldn't know him by that handle -- it was as Tampa Red that he became one of the most accomplished and influential musicians of his day. His big break came in 1928 when he was hired to accompany blues legend Ma Rainey, and their subsequent recordings would popularize the silly, bawdy sound we lovingly know as "hokum music." Here Dave Peyton leads us one of our favorite Tampa Red hokum songs … genetically altered, of course, to incorporate a few West Virginia references.


-- When Georgia Tom Got Churched. During a 2009 show before a live radio audience, David tells the story of Tampa Red and Georgia Tom.

Oct. 29, 2009. Little Darlin' Pal of Mine. Dave, Joe and Charlie met singer-guitarist Bill Hoke in the mid-1970s, soon after he finished a six-year stint in the Navy, and Bill quickly became a regular in their circle of friends. He was one of the founders of a great local band called The Kentucky Foothill Ramblers, but Bill also had time play in The Flood too in its first six or seven years. Bill moved away in the early '80s and we don't get to see him much any more, but recently on a drive home to Dayton, Ohio, he stopped to take in a Wednesday night jam session. Here Bill Hoke leads the band on a Carter Family song.


Video Extra!

At the Renaissance Center

Nov. 5, 2009. Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor. There must be hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of versions of this old tune. Search Google for "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor" and you'll find references to recordings by Gillian Welch and Sandy Denny, by Doc Watson and Odetta, by Mississippi John Hurt and the Memphis Jug Band. There are versions in blues, folk, bluegrass and jazz. Louis Armstrong's "Atlanta Blues" tips its hat to the song because composer W.C. Handy obviously had heard it. There's a printed reference to the tune as early as 1911, when it was reported to be a favorite of New Orleans' Buddy Bolden Band. The Flood's version? It comes from a 1961 Folkways recording by the late great Boston bluesmen Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt.


-- Charlie's Long-Suffering Grandmother. This song prompted an important conversation with Grandma.

Nov. 11, 2009. Blackberry Blossom. The tunes the guys choose to play on any given Wednesday night often just depends on who shows up to listen. Here's a case in point. Whenever our dear friend Nancy McClellan comes up from Ashland, Ky., to hear the jam session, Joe Dobbs is almost certain to trot out his version of "Blackberry Blossom." We all know Nancy loves that old fiddle tune, and we love watching Nancy smile.

Video Extra!

with Matthew Parker, "Wade in the Water"

Nov. 19, 2009.  Up a Lazy River. In our hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, Dale Jones is a local treasure. As leader of the Backyard Dixie Jazz Stompers, Dale has provided a showcase for dozen of dixieland musicians over the past 25 years. He plays cornet and valved trombone and more and is also a Flood fan. Dale dropped by a recent Wednesday jam session and, best of all, brought his tuba with him. Here he is guiding us through an old jazz standard, putting the cut in our strut and the glide in our stride. Thank you, Brother Jones!

Nov. 26, 2009. Jugband Song. It was blues night at a recent Wednesday jam session. A young New York guitar player named Matthew Parker dropped in -- and then sat in -- and for most of the evening, he and The Flood's Jacob Scarr traded licks on one tune after another. On this track, they work through an old David Bromberg standard. Sandwiched between the vocals, that's Jacob taking the first ride, then Doug cleans the palate with a tasty bass solo, after which Matt takes charge of the final chorus. You know, listening to these young men play, we're happy to report that improvisational acoustic music is in good hands.

Video Extra!

Dec. 22, 2009


Dec. 3, 2009.  My Blue Heaven. It's hard to believe this song is more than 80 years old. "My Blue Heaven" was published in 1927 and became a monster hit for crooner Gene Austin. It charted for 26 weeks and stayed at Number 1 for 13, selling five million copies -- unprecedented in those days. And it didn't end there. The tune was a hit again in 1935 for Jimmie Lunceford and again in 1956 for Fats Domino. Here Michelle Walker performs the Flood version of the song, accompanied by Joe Dobbs and his sweet five-string fiddle.

Dec. 10, 2009.  It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry. We often say Jacob Scarr must have been listening to Bob Dylan in utero. At 16, he was born three or four decades after Zimmy's greatest hits were being recorded. But his dad, Tom Scarr, is a huge Dylan fan and Jacob grew up hearing Bob Dylan as part of the household soundtrack. Here, Jacob takes all the solos on a classic Dylan blues from the "Highway 61 Revisited" sessions.


-- So, these two guys are touring hell...


Dec. 17, 2009.  The Duck Yas Yas Yas. Well, here's a song that came from the whorehouses of St. Louis, not to put too fine point on it. It was first recorded in 1928 by James "Stump" Johnson. We learned our version from the following year's recording by our heroes, Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. You know, a song with this many double entendres is hard to introduce when we're in polite company, so we follow the advice of The Flood's harmonicat, Sam St. Clair -- "Hey, just tell 'em it's about food!" Yas yasssss… This is about …. food...


-- This guy left his banjo in his car ...

Video Extra!

The Flood at Home, December 2009

Dec. 24, 2009.  Jacky Tar. So we ask our buddy Mike Smith for Christmas song at last night's jam session and this is what he came up with. You know, we've never taken in Christmas in Mike's hometown back in Great Britain, but, based on this tune, we're hoping some day to at least see the video! … Okay, okay, Mike never claimed that "Jacky Tar" is really about Christmas, but it is a Sammerry little song and it IS about giving and receiving a, uh, present, all wrapped up in rather an interesting use of string.

Dec. 31, 2009.  Stormy Weather was written in 1933 and first performed in Harlem at The Cotton Club by the great Ethel Waters. Since then, it's been recorded by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra and Ringo Starr. The Library of Congress honored the song in 2004 by adding it to the National Recording Registry. Here Michelle Walker, The Flood's Chick Singer, takes the tune through its paces at a recent Wednesday night jam session.


-- Remembering the Other "Stormy Weather." Joe, Doug and Charlie remember a poignant connections to the song "Stormy Weather" from an old Flood Lite gig.