Dear Diary ... The Podcast Archives: 2018

The new direction we began exploring in 2018 was the launch of Flood Films, short and feature-length videos starring the band as well as friends who have sat in with us over the years.

For 10 years, video has been a part of the weekly Flood gatherings. As early as 2008, Pamela started using a little Flip Video camera to capture moments at Flood shows and at jam sessions. A year later, when we had iPhones with their built-in video capabilities, the number of spur-of-the-moment movie clips increased dramatically as illustrated on our Video Page. Just look at the jump between 2007 and 2009!

Our first feature video efforts actually pre-dated 2018 and were sad ones: our tribunes marking the deaths of Flood co-founders Joe Dobbs and Roger Samples, who lefts us just five months apart, Joe in September 2015, Rog in February 2016. Both tributes were narrated by Charlie and featured audio and still photos from our good times together.

In 2018, Flood Films took a more joyous, more ambitious turn. Noting that over the previous decade, scores of friends had sat in with The Flood at its weekly gatherings and that often Pamla was shooting video, we produced and released Flood and Friends built around videos of two dozen friends performing at jam sessions dating from 2009 to the 2018. Among the artists featured in the film are (in order of appearance) Jesse Smith, Phyllis Dale, Wendell Dobbs, Sallie Sublette, Mark Cabell, Chris Sutton, N.F. "Nerf" Brown, Mike Smith, Buddy Griffin, Rod & Judy Jones, Bill Hoke, Kathy Castner, Rob McNurlin, Doug Imbrogno, Jim Rumbaugh, Roger Samples, Michael Lyzenga, Tom Norman, Paula and Richard Stewart, Mark Keen, Randy Brown, Jacob Scarr, Chuck Romine ... and of course, members of The 1937 Flood as the accompanists and the cheering section!

Then later in the years, we discovered a long-lost collection of videos shot at what turned out to be their last jam session with Rog Samples, which gave us the material for Play One More. A few years back, the Peytons (Dave and Susan) and the Bowens (Pamela and Charlie) traveled to Mount Sterling, Ky., for a memorable afternoon with Roger and Tammy Samples, a time of laughs, stories and, of course, music. And Pamela was wise enough to capture videos of some of the tunes we did together, songs that dated back to the very beginning of the band. Of course, that day we had no way of knowing that this would the last time we would all be together … but perhaps there was an unspoken suspicion of that sad reality. By that August 2013 afternoon, Roger was mid-way through what would be a five-year battle with cancer. There were good days and bad days for him, and, sadly, after that summer, more bad than good. But this was a decidedly good day. At the end of a music session, Roger often liked to quote the opening lines of a favorite Ian Tyson song: “Play one more and then I'm leaving, boys. Pick one more — let those guitars ring…” Well, ring they did on this sunny summer day in Kentucky.

For a slew of random auto-selected numbers that we played that year, click here to tune into Radio Floodango's 2018 channel.

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


Video Extra!

"Muddy Willie," "Golden Apples," Payday," "Dink's Song"

Jan. 3, 2018, Jacob Brings Back Some Summertime Heat. Could it be that a decade has passed since Jacob Scarr started playing with The Flood? Well, let’s see — he was just 14 when he first unpacked his guitar at a Flood rehearsal; now he’s midway through his second year of law school, so, yeah, that amazing mathematics is apparently right. Nowadays, we don’t get to see Jacob more than a couple of times a year — he’s pretty busy with his work in Boulder, Colorado — but whenever he gets back to his Ohio Valley home, it is an event. Thinking back to 2007 when we met him, it was his solos on one particular song that told us this young man had sometime very special to contribute to the Family Flood, and it’s a tune we trot out again every time we meet. Now, last night was an especially UN-summer-like evening, with the temperature hovering near 10 degrees, but Youngblood’s work took this old favorite from a smoldering ember to a warm and roaring blaze. Here the 2018 edition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” with Floodster Emeritus Jacob Scarr.

Video Extra!

Bob Dylan Tune

Jan. 10, 2018, The Cabin Fever Breaks (Midnight Special)! The cabin fever finally broke last night! After weeks of days in the teens and brutal nights in the single digits — and even the heartbreak of having to cancel a much-anticipated gig because of ice and snow — yesterday, the wicked winter relented a little, and last night the entire Family Flood at last could come again for the first time since a deep and dark December. You know, few things are more healing that old friends sitting in a circle playing and singing together, conjuring up a right special light.

Jan. 17, 2018, Misty ... and Warm! Isn’t it interesting how sometimes on a cold winter’s day, a song can warm you up like a roaring fire? Michelle warmed up the room with this tune toward of the evening recently. Here’s the Erroll Garner standard, “Misty,” with stellar supporting solos by Paul and Doug. And listen to Randy's solid, beartbeat of a bass line keeping the tune on a slow, steady boil.

Video Extra!

"I Almost Lost My Mind"

Jan. 24, 2018, Starting the Conversation.. (Trouble in Mind). On rehearsal nights, we’re often so eager to get started that the first tune might begin rolling before everyone gets set up to play. Here’s a wonderful example. On this particular evening, when we started at the crack of 7:30, Paul and Charlie are in their seats already as you hear Michelle and her mother coming in the back door while Doug is arriving in the front. Sam’s on hand, but is still getting out of his coat. Randy’s here, but, as the tune starts, he hasn’t quite got his bass hooked up yet. Notice how we just keep the song going longer than usual just so Doug get his fiddle bow rosined up and jump in for a chorus or two. By the end of the song, everybody’s in place and ready to rock.

Jan. 30, 2018, Norman's Smiles (Since I Fell for You). It’s no big secret, but musicians usually play much better when a devoted listener is within earshot, and no one is a more devoted listener than our old friend Norman Davis. Whenever the weather outside isn’t frightful, we can almost always count on Norman slipping in the back door and settling into his reserved seat, that big blue comfy chair in the corner of our rehearsal room. And a heck of a barometer, is our Norman: One look at his face tells us if our work on a tune is paying off, and he was all smiles last night during Michelle’s latest rendering of the 1945 Buddy Johnson classic, “Since I Fell for You.” In fact, if you listen closely you’ll hear that the last words on this tracks are Norman’s.


Video Extra!

At Woodlands, Jan. 26, 2018

Feb. 6, 2018, Jim Sweetens Up the Jam (Reflection of my Life.). When we recently switched our rehearsal nights from Tuesdays to Mondays, we didn’t realize that one of the benefits would be that our old friend Jim Rumbaugh could now occasionally drop in for a visit. Last night, our harmonicat Sam St. Clair could not make the practice session, but as luck would have it, just as we were starting, Jim came by with him harps and sat down for a big helping of Floodishness. Here’s a particularly tasty bit in the evening’s offerings. Listen as Jim sweetens up one of Paul Martin’s signature tunes, his rendition of the 1969 hit by Marmalade, “Reflections of My Life,” and how Jim’s solo nicely echos Doug Chaffin’s fiddle.

Feb. 13, 2018, Remembering!... eventually... (A Taste of Honey) Our old friends Linda and Wendell Dobbs once recommended a tune to us … well, wait a minute. We know the actual date! It was July 12, 2012, at the start of the Joe Dobbs book tour. Yeah, it’s weird, the things we remember, but we were doing a show and a reading in Ashland, Ky., at the Paramount Arts Center, and, during a break, Wendell said, “You know, you guys oughta try doing ‘A Taste of Honey.’ It’d be a good song for you!” Well, we did give the song a spin at a couple of rehearsals, but then, you know how it is —things happened and we got distracted and “Honey” just sort of went back on the shelf. Until earlier this month, when we got a hankering for another little taste of honey. It was as if the tune had to wait for Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin to season it with their beautiful solos, as you’ll hear in this track from a recent rehearsal. So, then, this is for Wendell and Linda. We don’t forget; it’s just that sometimes it takes us a while to remember!

Video Extra!

"Fly Me to the Moon"

Feb. 20, 2018, Ookpik. The folk process in music is interesting. Sometimes tunes begin in the foggy ruins of time, as Bob Dylan might say — uh, DID say, actually — and then make their way into contemporary songs. For instance, Jimmy Driftwood’s “The Battle of New Orleans”(“in 1814, we took a little trip…”) began life as a fiddle tune called “The 8th of January,” which is still played by the pros today. And sometimes the folk process works in the other direction. In other words, a composed tune enters the hearts and minds of traditional musicians and takes on a false narrative of antiquity, sort “going native.” A case in point in the Canadian-American tune called “Ookpik,” which began surfacing on the fiddle contest circuit in the 1970s with rumors ancient roots among Native Americans. After all, the name itself is an Inuit word for “snowy” or for “Arctic owl.” Well, despite all those stories about this being some time-honored Eskimo waltz, “Ookpik” was written by a late British Columbia fiddler named Frankie Rodgers, who actually published it in a book of his compositions in 1965. Okay, fine, but whatever it provenance, it’s a beautiful melody, one that Doug Chaffin brought to us a few years ago. On this track from a couple of weeks ago, Doug starts the tune with his rich, warm guitar, then we hand it off to Paul Martin’s mandolin while Doug switches to his fiddle to bring the song to sweet conclusion.

Video Extra!

The Flood at Home, March 12, 2018

Feb. 27, 2018, Blue Moon Alert!  Wow, we have a blue moon this month. Now, the term “blue moon” generally means two full moons in the same month. (In this case, the first full moon is this Thursday and the second full moon will be on Saturday, March 31.) Yeah, I know — it’s just a little public service announcement from your friends in The Flood. Anyway, to get you ready for all your blue moon frolicking, here’s a lunar tune from last night’s rehearsal.


March 6, 2018, Songs from The Old Sod (Down by the Sally Gardens). We’re gearing up for the launch of the big second season of “Route 60 Saturday Night,” the new music variety show at Route 60 Music Co., where The Flood is the house band. The show is on the third Saturday night each month, meaning the next show will be on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. And to celebrate in style, we wanted to dust off a few songs from The Old Sod. Now, “Down By the Salley Gardens,” with lyrics by the renowned William Butler Yeats, has been in The Flood repertoire for 25 or 30 years — in fact, it’s on our first CD released all the way back in 2001 — but the tune has had a beautiful rebirth with harmony that Michelle has brought to the verses. Just listen! Remember, mark your calendar. We’ll be at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville on Saturday, March 17, for the start of the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night!”

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At Route 60 Music Co., March 17, 2018

March 13, 2018, Route 60 Saturday Night Clebrates St. Pat's Day (The Wild Rover).
We’re gearing up for the launch of the big second season of “Route 60 Saturday Night,” the new music variety show at Route 60 Music Co., where The Flood is the house band. The show is on the third Saturday night each month, meaning the next show will be on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. And to celebrate in style, we wanted to dust off a few songs from The Old Sod. Now, “Down By the Salley Gardens,” with lyrics by the renowned William Butler Yeats, has been in The Flood repertoire for 25 or 30 years — in fact, it’s on our first CD released all the way back in 2001 — but the tune has had a beautiful rebirth with harmony that Michelle has brought to the verses. Just listen! Remember, mark your calendar. We’ll be at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville on Saturday, March 17, for the start of the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night!”


Video Extra!

Experiments in Animal Husbandry

March 20, 2018, Doug's Rockin' Roots (Hey Baby). One of the of the many joys of being together each week is sharing our common musical memories, and when it comes to Doug Chaffin, well, the man’s got a lot to share. Doug started playing music some 60 years ago with his family and then with some of those great local rock bands. Old-timers around here remember a rockabilly band called The Montereys, named a rather nice Mercury automobile. A teen-aged Doug Chaffin played lead guitar with them. Anyway, it’s a treat for us that Doug revisits his rock ’n’ roll roots when we play things like Bruce Channel’s 1950s rock anthem “Hey, Baby.” But then Doug can turn on a dime and bring out his soulful side on on the very next tune. It’s like having another voice singing along with the harmonies. Listen to how he weaves together all of the music strands to wrap up the Bob Gibson-John D. Loudermilk classic, “Abilene.”

March 27, 2018, Careless/free Love. Some nights you just don’t want it to end. You’ve been playing for an hour and a half, folk are standing up and stretching and looking at the door, and then someone says, “Aw, just one more,” and everybody grins and sits back down again. Last night’s just-one-more tune was this one, our upbeat version of that old traditional piece, “Careless Love,” though, truth be told, in The Flood’s hands, “Careless Love” always feels less careless and more carefree.

Video Extra!

"Down By the Salley Gardens"


April 3, 2018, Lost Song Insurnacs (You Don't Know Me). There are many advantages to having weekly rehearsals, but one of the less obvious ones — even to us — is that regular practice sessions provide a kind of insurance against lost songs. What usually happens is that between the tunes on the schedule for rehearsing, someone starts noodling with a bit of melody. “What is that?” someone else will say. “Why, that sounds like …. Oh yeah! Remember…” and away we go. A case in point is the beautiful Eddy Arnold tune, “You Don’t Know Me.” When Michelle brought it to us five years ago, it became an instant hit with the band, making it onto the next CD we were set to record. But then, for some reason, the song just slipped away — until a couple of weeks ago when a bit of fortuitous fiddling between songs brought it back to our collective memory. Here’s Michelle’s take on the tune from last night’s rehearsal. Oh, and by the way, that’s the great Jim Rumbaugh on harmonica; Jim’s sitting in with us for a gig this weekend because our regular hamonicat, Sam St. Clair, is on vacation this week.


-- Embracing Roots Music at its Best. In introducing a tune at a Spring 2019 concert in Charleston, Michelle and Charlie talk about the band's long history with a great variety of musical styles. Eclectic R Us.

April 10, 2018, Green Rolling Hills. The Flood has had a long-time long-distance infatuation with the Utah Phillips song “The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia” for — oh, my goodness, for 40 years we’ve loved that song! Well, ever since we first heard Bill Hoke, Susan Lewis and David Holbrook sing it in their Kentucky Foothill Ramblers days at parties back in the mid-1970s. But we in The Flood never really liked how we did the song until recent years, when Michelle and Randy brought Georgethe vocal chops to the band that could handle it. Now at last the song is a regular for us. Check out this rendition from a recent rehearsal, especially the great solos by Doug and Paul and by our visitor for the evening, Jim Rumbaugh, sitting in on harmonica.


-- Utah Meets West Virginia. We love how a man named "Utah" writes a great Mountain State song!

April 17, 2018, Educatin' with Crazy Words, Crazy Tune. We’re all eager for this weekend as we settle in again as the house band for another great Route 60 Saturday Night show. This month’s guests are two wonderful singer-songwriters — a newcomer to our stage, Emily Kinner, and a regular crowd favorite, Rob McNurlin. We’ll also have some thoughts from our resident storyteller, Dave Peyton, and Michelle Lewis will share the emcee mike with our guest co-host Paul Callicoat. Meanwhile, what is The Flood’s role in all this? Oh, it’s up to us to provide the educational content for the evening, like, well, this little history lecture we’re preparing. Join us this Rt60Saturday night, April 21. Admission is $5, and this month all proceeds go the help the good work at Branches Domestic Violence Shelter. The 90-minute show starts at 7 p.m. at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street in Barboursville.

April 25, 2018, Being a House Band (Glory of Love). One of the many things we love about being the house band each month at the new Route 60 Saturday Night musical variety shows is that the gig invites us to think in new ways about the songs we choose for the evening. To put it plainly, we don’t want anything we play as the house band to compete with or to distract from the material being performed that that month’s guest artists. For instance, if a scheduled guest is planning to play jazzy pieces, we want to come back some something different, maybe some simple folk songs. On the other hand, if the guest star is offering a set of sweet ballads, we might follow him or her with a couple of raucous jug band tunes. At last weekend’s show, the challenge for The Flood was to make a smooth transition between the two guest star sets, from the wonderful, full-throated blues stylings of the up and coming Emily Kinner to the down-home country sounds of the legendary Rob McNurlin. Our choice? Well, as Joe Dobbs used to tell us, when in doubt, check in with Benny Goodman. So, here — in a track from the show — is the song we played, Billy Hill’s composition, “The Glory of Love,” introduced by Benny Goodman’s orchestra in 1936.


-- An old woman comes into a bank ...

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Route 60 Music Co., May 19, 2018


May 1, 2018, Someone's Always Leaving Here...(but West Virginia Chose Me). For some of us, this time of year is a little bittersweet. For instance, Pamela and Charlie spend a lot of time at Marshall University nowadays, so they get to know many bright young adults throughout their college careers. And then each spring, the Bowens watch their young friends graduate and head out into the world to start the next chapter of their lives. For the West Virginia natives among them, that diploma often comes with a challenge and a choice. Do I leave for higher mountains and wider skies, or do I stay in the green hills and the dark valleys that nurtured me? Here’s a tune from Michelle at last night’s rehearsal, a lovely Colleen Anderson composition — “West Virginia Chose Me” — that comes with a catch in its throat.


-- This young guy was getting ready to get married ...

May 8, 2018, Getting a Handle on Our Water Music (The Water is Wide). We’re dredging up our water songs — and a band called The Flood oughta have a bunch of ‘em, right? — for a show we’re doing Friday night in Point Pleasant, WV, at a fundraiser for the good folks at one of our favorite places, the Point Pleasant River Museum. If you’re in the area, come on out for a great dinner at 6:30, then stay for our show at 7:30. The event will be at the First Church of God Ministry Center, 2401 Jefferson Avenue in beautiful Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

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At Taylor Books,"Since I Fell for You"

May 15, 2018: It Don't Work Like That! As we gear up for the latest edition of the monthly Route 60 Saturday Night show this weekend (at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville), we have to prepare to go on stage without our regular harmonicat. Sam St. Clair is heading north to Alaska for a memory quest with his parents, and we wish them bon voyage. Meanwhile, The Flood’s good buddy Jim Rumbaugh has graciously agreed to sit in with us on harps for Saturday’s show. At last night’s Flood rehearsal, Jim rocked us with one of his original compositions, which we expect to bring to Saturday night’s show. Here’s Jim’s “It Don’t Work Like That!”

May 22, 2018: Your Taylor Books Homework Assignment! (France Blues...) This Saturday night we’re heading to Charleston for a show at one of our all-time favorite venues in the capital city, the wonderful Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St., and we’re bringing with us our latest experiment in sing-alongs. Now, The Flood doesn’t usually assign homework, but in this case, we’ll make an exception. If you are planning to join us for the fun at Taylor Books this Saturday night, you might want to study this audio track. It comes from our set at last weekend’s Route 60 Saturday Night show, and it will help you get your hey-lawdy-mama-mama, hey-lawdy papa-papa’s in order for the evening! Hey, whaddaya know! It’s our first Flood study guide! Remember, we’re at Taylor Books this Saturday night. The good times start at 7:30.

May 29, 2018: Our Kumbaya Moments (Needed Time). We’re hero-worshippers in The Flood, and we’ve got a BUNCH of musical heroes. Often our tributes to them come on the spur of the moment. For instance, about a month ago, we were wrapping up a rehearsal — at the start of this track, you can hear us saying our goodbyes — but, in fact, Doug, Sam, Randy and Charlie just didn’t want the evening to end yet, so we launched into one last tune, an old spiritual that we learned from a Lightnin’ Hopkins recording. Now, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins recorded "Jesus, Will Come By Here" back in 1952, but the song went largely unnoticed for, well, 20 years. Then in 1972, the Cicely Tyson/Paul Winfield movie, "Sounder," used the old recording in the film’s soundtrack, calling it "Needed Time," and that's the first time we heard it. Sure, our version is a bit more raucous than Lightnin's original, but it does capture the joy of those weekly Kumbaya moments with the Family Flood.

Video Extra!

Route 60 Music Co., June 16, 2018


June 5, 2018: I've Been Out Walkin' (These Days). Often here on the podcast we share tunes from the very end of a rehearsal, usually making the point that we once again we just didn’t want the evening to end (aw, play one more, guys!) Well, here’s something from the other end of the nights these days, a bit of the vibe at the very start of a session. Recorded a few weeks ago, as this track starts you’ll hear that Doug, Randy and Charlie are already in our seats, waiting for the rest of the band to arrive. Now, Sam is out of town when this was recorded, so he couldn’t make the gathering that night, but the harmonica section is ably manned by our friend Jim Rumbaugh, who has walked in just minutes before the track begins. Listen closely as the song — a cover of Jackson Browne’s “These Days” — goes on and you’ll hear the backdoor open and Paul arrive. We keep the song going so he can be part of it. About four minutes in, you’ll hear Paul get to his seat at the table with his mandolin, say hello and then take the song home with a sweet solo.

June 12, 2018: Celebrating WV Day at Route 60 Saturday Night (West Virginia, My Home). We’re getting ready for this weekend’s next big Route 60 Saturday Night show, and since it will be the eve — uh, eve-eve — of West Virginia Day, we’re planning a lot of special tunes to wish our Mountain Mama a happy 155th. Come on out and join the fun, starting at 7 p.m. at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St., in Barboursville. The guest artists this month are singer-songwriters dougMike Bennett and Paul Callicoat. Admission is $5 and all proceeds this month go to aid the good work of Huntington’s Harmony House. For more information, visit the website at Route60SaturdayNight.com.

June 19, 2018: Blue Mountain Waltz. It’s always a treat for the band when folks step up to dance to one of our tunes. A few weeks ago, when we played for the 80th anniversary of Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House here in Huntington, two of our old friends — Marshall University math professors Bonita Lawrence and Clayton Brooks — came out for the fun, and when Doug Chaffin struck up an old traditional waltz, the pair we call “the dancin’ doctors” favored us with some lovely steps in front of the bandstand. Well, Bonnie and Clayton were on the road and couldn’t join us at last weekend’s “Route 60 Saturday Night,” but in their honor, Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin did a little encore of the number. Here’s that moment from last weekend’s show. Incidentally, at the start of this track, I manage to mis-identify the mountain in the song’s title. This is “Blue Mountain Waltz.”


-- The Man of Many Instruments. Between tunes at a 2019 show in Charleston, Michelle and Charlie marvel at how many instruments Doug Chaffin has played with the band since 1999.

June 26, 2018: Go Rest High On That Mountain. Randy Hamilton and Paul Martin have been good friends for a long, long time. And they’ve been friends to the rest of us for quite a spell too. Years before each of them joined the band, they used to drop in to play at the joyous jam sessions at the Bowen house here in Huntington. In fact, recently, while listening to recordings of some of those jam sessions made, gosh, more than seven years ago, Charlie came across a beautiful moment when Randy and Paul offered their rendition of this sweet Vince Gill composition. So, last night he asked them if they would revisit that tune for us, and to say we were blown away by the results, well, that’s an understatement. Listen to this and you’ll understand why you can count on “Go Rest High on That Mountain” having a regular spot on the set list on Flood shows from now on.


July 3, 2018: Amelia's Waltz. If you see him, don’t tell him — it’s liable to give him “the big head” — but the truth is we listen to everything that Doug Chaffin tells us. When it comes to music, Doug’s instincts are usually right on the money. For instance, whenever we’re playing a show, if Doug leans over and whispers, “Hey, maybe we oughta do this song next,” Charlie always revises the set list on the fly, because Doug seems to have a sixth sense about what people would like to hear. So, when Doug recently told us we ought to learn “Amelia’s Waltz,” we perked up and paid attention. Now, the piece you’ll hear sounds like an old tune, but it actually was written in 1981 by the late New Hampshire composer Bob McQuillen, who named the song in honor of a friend’s young daughter. It’s one of those lovely melody that sounds like it ought to be the soundtrack of a big, lush movie. What follows is our first take on the tune, with Doug leading the way, of course, with his fiddle.

July 9, 2018: Shoutout to Shirley -- "My Blue Heaven." Earlier this summer, Charlie’s wife, Pamela, had surgery. It all went well, but it required a period of recuperation, and they decided to use some of that extended downtime creatively. Pamela, who also is the manager of The Flood, for a long time has shot home videos of friends and Norman and Shirleyvisitors who have sat in and jammed with the band over the years, so they decided to pull all that work together into a feature film called Flood & Friends. The finished product is now available for watching on YouTube, and we’re pleased at how folks have enjoyed the film’s celebration of the music and the dozens of stellar visiting musicians performing in the videos. But we’re also pleasantly surprised at some of the movie’s unintended consequences. For instance, as our old buddy Tom Pressman recently commented, the film also celebrates the regulars who come, not to play, but to listen at the weekly Flood gatherings, and prominent in the videos is the sparkling face of Shirley Broh Davis. Shirley — whom fiddler Joe Dobbs used to call our oldest groupie — was brought to her first jam session with her husband Norman in 2009, invited by another dear friend, Flood regular Rose Riter, and from that winter’s evening on, the Davises became regulars. So all through the movie, you’ll see Shirley listening, laughing, singing along and applauding from her favorite blue chair smack dap in the middle things. We lost Shirley a few years ago — she died at 96 — but honestly, she’s still with us, especially whenever we do one of her favorite songs. Many times at the end of an evening of music, we’d say, “So, Shirley, whaddaya want to hear?” and more often than not, her request was for this one from the Great American Songbook. So, these days, whenever we do “My Blue Heaven,” as we did at a recent rehearsal, it comes with a sweet shoutout to Shirley.

Video Extra!

I Almost Lost My Mind

July 17, 2018: Rob Sing His "The Last Hillbilly Singer." Visitors are always welcome at our weekly gatherings, and no one is ever MORE welcome than our good buddy, singer-songwriter Rob McNurlin. We started jamming with Rob at least 20 years ago at happy places like Nancy McClellan’s living room and the parties hosted by Sheldon Road. And we’re please that Rob still likes coming around whenever he’s home from Nashville or from various gigs that take him on the road. And it’s a particularly special evening when Rob’s got a new song to share, as he did last night. His latest composition, which actually we first heard during his set at a Route 60 Saturday Night show earlier this year, is called, “The Last Hillbilly Singer.” Check this out!


-- There was this banjo-accordian duo ...


July 24, 2018: Together on the Sunny Side of the Street. We say it all the time — The Flood is family, and like most families, we miss each other when we’re apart. Summer 2018 has taken us in different directions, but last night we had everybody back at the table, and we bet you can just hear our joy in first tune of the evening, our warmup number for the weekly rehearsal, a Flood favorite, “Sunny Side of the Street.” Hit it, folks!

July 31, 2018: New Tunes from Doug (Steptown, Shady Side of Town, Around the World Waltz). We open this week’s podcast with Doug Chaffin’s version of his friend J.P. Fraley’s tune, “Steptown,” a new favorite of ours! “Flood Lite” is what we call it whenever we play as the trimmed-down, half-pint trio version of the band. This week we had people away with illness, work and vacations, so Doug, Randy and Charlie decided to have a Flood Lite practice session. And since Doug and Randy both live in Ashland, it made more sense for the one of Charlie to drive there than for the two of them to drive over here to Huntington, so we met in Doug’s living room last night, and maybe it was the change of venue, but for whatever reason, the rehearsal brought out a lot of new tunes. For instance, after “Steptown” is another one Doug has brought to the mix lately, an old party tune that he calls “Shady Side of Town.” Of course, no Flood evening is complete until paulDoug reaches for that sweet little Paul Reed Smith electric guitar he brought to the band in 2016. Doug switches to guitar for his rendition of “Around the World Waltz,” then we go out on his rocking “Lady Be Good.”


Aug. 7, 2018: Suffer to Sing the Blues. Sometimes tunes get away from us for a while. Eight or nine years ago, we regularly played a funny little David Bromberg composition called, “Suffer to Sing the Blues,” one that our friend Norman Davis often requested. Then for some reason, we got distracted by other bright lights and different shiny objects, and the Bromberg tune just sort of floated out of the Flood repertoire. But lately, for some reason, the it’s come drifting back to us. And it’s a funny kind of reunion, because some of the newer members of the band, like Paul and Randy, had never heard it. Here’s a rendition of the song from a few weeks ago. Norman couldn’t make the gathering that evening, but the tune had us singing his praises in absentia. Norman, this one’s for you, buddy!

Aug. 14, 2018: Can You Run? We’ve started to think about the tunes we want on our next CD, and we’re asking the regulars who attend at our weekly rehearsals to help us choose. On everybody’s list — ours and those of our friends — is this song, which Randy and Paul brought to us last year. Here’s our latest rendition, recorded at last night’s rehearsal. That’s Randy singing the lead with beautiful harmony by Paul and Michelle. By the way, this song will always have a special meaning to us because the first time we performed it publicly was at Taylor Books in Charleston a year ago this week — Aug. 12, 2017 — the evening of the day we had spent watching the horrendous images of the neo-Nazi rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia. In that context, these poignant lyrics took on an even greater resonance. Here’s the Chris Stapleton composition, “Can You Run?”

Aug. 21, 2018: Rocking Chair, 2018 About two decades ago, the very first cut on our very first commercial CD was our take on a little Bob Gibson tune that we got from a fairly obscure LP in the 1970s. Well, half the folks who played on that debut CD are not longer with us, and for many years, the song drifted out of our collective memory. Until this summer, when it came drifting back. Lately, we’ve had fun introducing it to a new generation of Floodsters. Here’s the 2018 version of “Rockin’ Chair.”

Aug. 28, 2018: Wade in the Water.Whenever a heat wave finally breaks with a massive rain storm, like the downpour thatflooded Huntington streets last week, you can usually find us Floodsters humming one of our innumerable water songs, like the one that bobbed to the surface of our collective consciousness at last night’s rehearsal. Here’s our 2018 version of “Wade in the Water.”


-- Canadian Television, Eh? Charlie tells a 2012 concert audience about The Flood's upcoming debut on Canadian TV.

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Route 60 Music Co., Sept. 15, 2018


Sept. 4, 2018: Summertime. This has been a relentlessly hot, humid season here in the Ohio Valley, so summer is not something we’ve generally sung the praises of much this year. However, if music teaches you anything it’s that there’s always something to celebrate, even a long, hot summer. Now, when we roll out the next edition of the “Route 60 Saturday Night” variety shows later this month, it will still be summer — and it probably will still be hot and humid — so we’re working up this tune for that Sept. 15 debut show. Here’s a take on the tune from a rehearsal last week, with solos by Doug and Sam. It’s Michelle’s sultry version of Gershwin’s “Summertime.”

Sept. 11, 2018: One Red Rose. We’re excited about getting to help roll out the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night” this weekend. Once again The Flood will be on stage each month as the show’s house band. To launch the third season, the show has two great singer songwriters, the legendary John Lilly and exciting newcomer Cat Cirner. The show is hosted by Randy Yohe and our own Michelle Lewis.Here’s a tune from last night’s rehearsal that we’re working up for our portion of the evening. It’s a lovely John Prine composition called “One Red Rose.” Remember, it Route 60 Saturday Night, THIS Saturday night, at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville. The show starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to this month’s charity, the Cabell-Wayne Association of the Blind.

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Bonnie Lawrence & Clayton Brooks

Sept. 18, 2018: Georgia on My Mind. Hoagy Carmichael tunes have always been on The Flood playlist. We can’t remember when started doing “Up a Lazy River,” and nearly 20 years ago Joe Dobbs had us doing “Stardust” to record on what would become his favorite solo CD, “Fiddle and The Flood.” Well, lately another Hoagy Carmichael composition, “Georgia on My Mind,” had been circling back into the Flood’s stream of consciousness. Here’s our take on the tune at the beginning of a rehearsal a few weeks ago. As the track begins, Randy, Paul, Doug and Charlie already already in their seats. Then mid-song, you can hear Sam arrive, find out the key — “We’re in C, Sam!” — and immediately take a solo. That’s our Sam. By the way, about “Georgia, “ Hoagy Carmichael was already an established professional songwriter when he penned this melody in early 1930 and played at a party at which an old college friend, Stuart Gorrell from Indiana University, heard it. The story goes that Stuart and Hoagy stayed up all night working on the song, and Gorrell ended up writing the lyrics. Michelle and StephenIncidentally, Stuart Gorrell later became a banker and never wrote another lyric in his life. Too bad! Meanwhile, “Georgia on My Mind” was recorded 88 years ago this week by Hoagy and his orchestra with jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke on muted cornet. It was Bix’s last recording session. It’s part of the reason that “Georgia” just stays on our mind.

Sept. 26, 2018: For Stephen: Autumn Leaves. Some nights, like last night, are hard nights for love songs. Five weeks ago, we were stunned and deeply grieved by the untimely death of Stephen Lewis, Michelle’s dear husband and soulmate. We in the band had known Stephen from the first days of his courtship of our loveliest bandmate. In fact, Michelle brought him to meet her Flood family during the intermission of a show way back in 2011, and over the next seven years, we grinned and waved at Stephen’s frequent smiling face in the front row. His death at the end of August has left us all with an enduring lump in our throats. Well, musicians tell their sorrows in their songs and this tune from last night’s gathering is everything we need to say about how we’re feeling this autumn. Rest in peace, dear friend.

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Five from Fiddlin' Doug Chaffin


Oct. 3, 2018: Star of the County Down. If a band is around long enough, it has its own legends and legacies, treasures and heirlooms in the form of stories and especially songs. Among The Flood’s old gold is the Irish tune called “Star of the County Down,” which Joe Dobbs brought to us, oh gosh, more than 40 years ago. Now, Joe had a special version of it, slower and more stately than it is usually rendered, and with a curious variation in the traditional melody. Back in the 1970s, Joe taught it to Roger Samples, and Rog taught it to Dave and Charlie, and over the decades the song — Joe’s version of it — has been learned and re-learned by new generations of Floodsters. Well, of course, Joe and Roger are gone now, but “Star of the Country Down” is still very much with us, as evidenced here at last night’s rehearsal, when Doug, Paul, Randy and Charlie revisited the Joe Dobbs classic.

Oct. 10, 2018: Crazy. Fifty-six years ago this week, Patsy Cline released the song she may be best known for, her performance of a beautiful ballad called “Crazy” by a little known songwriter named Willie Nelson. Willie had written the song earlier that year — 1961 — as he worked as a journeyman singer-songwriter in Nashville. He originally intended the song for country singer Billy Walker, who turned it down because, he said, it was “a girl’s song.” Uh, bad move, Billy.

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"Lady Be Good," "October Wind"

Anyway, the story goes that Willie was hanging out in a bar called Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge near the Grand Ole Opry and put his own rendition of “Crazy” on the jukebox. One night Patsy Cline’s husband, Charlie Dick, heard it and wanted it for Patsy. He and Willie proceeded to get drunk together, then Charlie drove home, and, while Willie hunkered down in the car, Charlie pitched it to Patsy. “Crazy” became the No. 2 country hit that year, and, because of its genre-bending nature, it has been covered by various artists over the years, from Neil Young and Elvis Costello to Chaka Khan and Kenny Rogers. Here’s Michelle and Doug’s take on this great American songbook standard from last night’s rehearsal.

Oct. 17, 2018: October Winds. As we’re preparing for this weekend’s October edition of Route 60 Saturday Night, we’re collecting our autumn songs for The Flood’s house band duties, including this lovely ancient Irish lullaby. Charlie learned “October Winds,” also called “The Castle of Dromore,” from the singing of the great Liam Clancy, and he recently taught it to the rest of the band, specifically for this show. The lyrics were written more than a hundred years ago by Harold Boulton, but the melody may be much, much older. We look forward to sharing it with friends this Saturday night.

Oct. 24, 2018: Blue Skies. More than 90 years ago, Irving Berlin composed this tune as a last-minute addition to a little known Rodgers and Hart musical called “Betsy.” The show itself was a flop — it had fewer than 40 performances — but the song, “Blue Skies,” was an instant hit in those early days of radio and movies. In fact, in 1927, the year after it was composed, “Blue Skies” became one of the first songs to be featured in a talkie, when Al Jolson performed it in “The Jazz Singer.” Today it’s one of the beloved and most recorded tunes in The American Songbook, done by everyone from Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw to Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Mel Torme to Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Dr. John. Here’s Michelle leading us on a Flood rendition of “Blue Skies” recorded at a rehearsal last summer, with sweet solos by Doug, Paul and Sam. vernon peyton

Oct. 31, 2018: Morning Has Broken. Michelle and Charlie were honored to be asked to play a few tunes last weekend at the funeral services for Vernon Peyton, the older brother of Floodster Emeritus David Peyton. Vernon was old friend of The Flood — in fact, a couple of years ago, we played at his 91st birthday party; a few years before that, we also played at the memorial service for Lillian, Vernon’s wife of 70 years, so these roots run deep. For last Saturday’s services, Vernon’s daughter, Karol, asked Michelle to sing a favorite song, “Morning Has Broken,” a hymn that she revisited at last night’s regular Flood rehearsal. Incidentally, as you listen to this, you’ll here some lovely harmony being sung by Kate Long, who was visiting us all last night. Kate, who’s a great singer-songwriter in her own right, will be the featured guest at the next Route 60 Saturday Night show Nov. 17 and we’re working up some arrangements so that The Flood can accompany her that night on a couple of her beautiful compositions. More on that in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, Vernon, this one’s for you, old friend.

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Route 60 Saturday Night, Nov. 17, 2018


Nov. 7, 2018: Solid Gone. One of the first tunes The Flood ever played – we’re talking the early 1970s, here – was “Solid Gone,” also called “Cannonball Blues.” Dave Peyton had learned it from old Carter Family records. Charlie Bowen learned it from a 1960s Tom Rush recording. Roger Samples learned it from, well, Dave and Charlie. Over the years, the song has popped up on Flood recordings in all of our four decades together. Five years ago, it was included on the band’s fifth CD, the one we called “Cleanup & Recovery.” And even more recently, the latest rendition of the song is on the set list for the numbers The Flood will perform at the next “Route 60 Saturday Night” later this month. Here’s “Solid Gone” from a recent rehearsal.

Nov. 14, 2018: Spoon River. We gearing up for this weekend’s November edition of Route 60 Saturday Night and since by then our favorite family holiday, Thanksgiving, will be just days away, we’re getting all nostalgic. And we figure you will be too, so we’re packing our house band set for the big show to be a real sentimental journey, about memories and homecomings. For instance, here’s a lovely homecoming tune we have on tap for Saturday night, “Spoon River” by the great songwriter Michael Peter Smith.

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From Route 60 Saturday Night



-- Irony is what we called it.

Nov. 21, 2018: Honeysuckle Rose. Sometimes a song is like a sweet little good-night kiss at the end of a great evening. For us, that tune is often Michelle’s version of the Fats Waller classic, “Honeysuckle Rose.” Here’s a short and sweet rendition at the end of rehearsal one night not long ago, with Randy’s rocking bass and an especially tasty solo by Doug.

Nov. 28, 2018: Peggy Day. For us, some songs seem to exist just so we can tell each other how much we’re enjoying our evening together. This little bit of Bob Dylan gold — a tiny tune that for more than a decade we’ve used as a warmup number or sometimes as the last song of the night — is like that for us. It’s just a big old musical grin. Here — with rocking harmony by Michelle and soaring solos by Randy, Sam and Doug — is the 2018 edition of “Peggy Day.”


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Route 60 Saturday Night, Dec. 15, 2018

Dec. 5, 2018: Can You Run? It’s going to be an especially good Route 60 Saturday Night later the month, because as part of our house band duties for the Dec. 15 show, we’re going to have songs featuring lead vocals by Michelle, by Randy and by Paul, all of which we were rehearsing at last night’s practice session. On this week’s podcast, the three of them bring their voices together on Randy’s featured number, a tune, incidentally, that we expect to put on our new CD when we start working on it in a few months. Here’s the great Chris Stapleton’s “Can You Run?”

Dec. 12, 2018: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. We’ll be sharing a bit of Christmas cheer this weekend at the final Route 60 Saturday Night show of the season. For our usual house band duties for the evening, we’re adding several seasonal tunes to the mix, like this classic that over the past 75 years has been among the most performed Christmas songs of all times. Remember, it’s Route 60 Saturday Night, THIS Saturday night, Dec. 15, at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street, in Barboursville. Our featured performers this month are Debbie Grimm and Alan Brown. And we’ll have a special treat: songwriters Rob McNurlin and Paul Callicoat will be on hand to share a couple of original tunes. It’s going to a memorable evening. Admission is $5 and this month all proceeds go to help the good work of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The fun starts at 7 p.m. Come on out and get your jingle on!

Dec. 19, 2018: The Dutchman. Here’s a song that has been with us since the earliest days of The Flood. The band was just coming together about the time that the late, great Steve Goodman released his version of it in 1972. Roger Samples, falling deeply in love with that album, learned the song and taught it to the rest of us. For a decade or so, Rog sang it to our harmonies, then when he moved away, Charlie took over the Santa Joelead vocals. Since then, in every configuration of the band, this song has been played regularly, often at the end of an especially sweet session, like the one last night. Here’s the latest version, from last night’s rehearsal, with Randy’s harmonies and tasty solos by Doug, Paul and Sam. This is Michael Peter Smith’s “The Dutchman.”


-- Don't Think About Your Thumb. Charlie tells the two-part story of "Hello, sailor, new in town?" that traced its origins to this particular show.

Dec. 24, 2018: Santa Joe. Welcome to the special Christmas Eve edition of The 1937 Flood podcast. You know, hardly a day goes by that we don’t think about our old friend and bandmate Joe Dobbs, who died a little over three years ago. But we especially miss Joe at this time of year. Not only did our old fiddler love the Christmas season, as you can no doubt hear in this happy rendering of “Winter Wonderland” from a jam session almost a decade ago, but because of his white beard and the twinkle in his eye, Joe was perceived by many kids from 1 to 92 to be the Jolly Ol’ Elf himself. And that led to interesting stories, often told between the tunes at the rehearsals. As a little Christmas treat from our dusty, musty archives, here’s a minute’s worth of Santa Joe stories, starting with Sam telling of a boast his young son James once made and ending with Joe’s tale of encountering a dissatisfied customer in Cajun country. Merry Christmas from your friends in The Flood!

Dec. 26, 2018: Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor. Here’s a song with roots that are long and deep, going back well over a hundred years. The first printed reference to it was in 1911, when it was reported to be a favorite of New Orleans jazzmen in the legendary Buddy Bolden Band. Hundreds — maybe thousands — of renditions of it have been played over the past century, with versions in blues, folk, bluegrass and jazz. Louis Armstrong's 1954 recording of “Atlanta Blues" tips its hat to the song because the great composer W.C. Handy borrows a bit of it for his lyrics in the chorus. Our version comes from a 1961 Folkways recording by the late great bluesmen Rolf Cahn and Eric Von Schmidt. Here is “Make Me a Pallet On Your Floor.”