Posted by rrode on Tuesday, April 23, 2013
As you might gather from my profile here, my playing to date is exclusively clawhammer-style. When I started I tried three-finger but somehow the clawhammer just felt more natural. Musically I am more drawn to the more modal tonalities, and more vocal tunes. Hard-core, high-energy bluegrass just doesn't do-it for me.
Lately I've been feeling a little stylistically limited, and have started exploring some finger-picking styles. Especially when 3 finger bluegrass folks, like Steve Martin, start recording more clawhammer style stuff. I picked up an old Hedy West record album - Volume 2. And the liner notes (which is part of what makes these old LPs so wonderful!) led me to the playing of Obray Ramsey. He plays in a 3 finger style, but with more of that old-time mountain sound that I find so compelling. So I've added a couple of 3 finger style tunes to my NEW grouping and have started working on them.
You will probably find it difficult to find Obray's recordings -- at least I did. The album referenced by Hedy is long out of print. Copies of the album are available, but at collector-level pricing ($50+). But thanks to the internet you can find copies here:
http://allensarchiveofearlyoldcountrymusic.blogspot.com/2010/09/obray-ramsey-blue-ridge-banjo.html - Obray Ramsey Blue Ridge Banjo
http://allensarchiveofearlyoldcountrymusic.blogspot.com/2009/09/obray-ramsey-sings-folksongs-from.html - Obray Ramsey sings Folksongs from the Gateways to the Great Smokies
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'“Builders Special”' 27 min
'Banjo Ben Clark' 1 hr
'Drop in the Bucket' 2 hrs