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Jan 17, 2021 - 2:02:24 PM
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447 posts since 6/12/2017

Thought others would be interested. Film maker David Hoffman just released this documentary of Appalachian music from his archive.


Edited by - 6stringedRamble on 01/17/2021 14:02:50

Jan 17, 2021 - 2:26:31 PM
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Jbo1

USA

992 posts since 5/19/2007

Thanks for sharing this. I watched some and look forward to seeing the rest.

Jan 17, 2021 - 7:06:20 PM
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259 posts since 10/16/2011

I found this very interesting and some things very familiar . We live 75 miles west of Ashville so this is like a in the neighborhood story . Nice find !

Jan 18, 2021 - 12:12:42 PM
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janolov

Sweden

40912 posts since 3/7/2006

I observed that there was no clawhammer in the video. There were some three-finger playing that seems to be a little between OT three-finger and Bluegrass. Bascom Laamar Lunsford and Bill MacElreath (I think it is him) played up-picking but seem to use different up picking techniques.

Jan 18, 2021 - 1:54:58 PM

447 posts since 6/12/2017

I really gotta a kick out of the story of how Ole' Mountain Dew became a song. I first heard it from Grandpa Jones, and thought it was hilarious. I didn't realize it was based on a true store.

The guy got caught running a still, and the lawyer gave the judge a taste of the moonshine. The judge liked it so much he acquitted him. OMG that was funny

Jan 20, 2021 - 4:52:18 AM
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2496 posts since 4/7/2010

It is a great video and I have shared the link with many people.

The one thing that I noticed is that in zeal to preserve individual traditional dancing styles, Bascom Lamar Lunsford homogenized them. In current times most of the clogging troupes all dance the same steps, use choreographed dance moves, and all dress similarly all because of dancing contests. It makes for a good show, but quirky individuality has no place in modern competition clogging.

Bob Smakula

Jan 20, 2021 - 7:18:24 AM

5567 posts since 12/20/2005

I watched the documentary, and really enjoyed it.

I grew up in a different part of the country. East Texas.
My mother's family was large and they had a small farm. Mother was in the middle of 14 kids. Her father passed away when she was 13.
So they were poor. They worked hard, but lived in poverty.
Most of the people in that small community were not much better off.
When I was a kid, we went there all the time. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen the final days of an era.
Here's what I have never been able to understand.
Much of the culture in that region was based on the music they made.
And it was great.
Where I grew up, that didn't happen. I don't know why. To this day I have never seen anyone playing music on a front porch. I wish it would have been different.
Perhaps the culture of home grown music was somewhat limited to that area of the U.S. I don't know.

Jan 20, 2021 - 7:44:11 AM

447 posts since 6/12/2017

quote:
Originally posted by Leslie R

I watched the documentary, and really enjoyed it.

I grew up in a different part of the country. East Texas.
My mother's family was large and they had a small farm. Mother was in the middle of 14 kids. Her father passed away when she was 13.
So they were poor. They worked hard, but lived in poverty.
Most of the people in that small community were not much better off.
When I was a kid, we went there all the time. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have seen the final days of an era.
Here's what I have never been able to understand.
Much of the culture in that region was based on the music they made.
And it was great.
Where I grew up, that didn't happen. I don't know why. To this day I have never seen anyone playing music on a front porch. I wish it would have been different.
Perhaps the culture of home grown music was somewhat limited to that area of the U.S. I don't know.


Well I grew up near Pittsburgh in what is really the beginning of Appalachian culture, it actually started there after coming from Northern Ireland in the 1700s. The mountains really cut all the communities off from each other, let alone big cities or the coasts, and fads that pass quickly  in other parts of the country take a really long time to catch on. And that was in the 90s. I think mostly the communities were very isolated because of the mountains and preserved the 19th century tradition common in every part of america, even NYC, of using the family parlor as family music time, as opposed to tv time, much longer than the rest of the country, also in large part due to not having money for radios, tvs, a power grid, etc. In the same vein they preserved many of the ballads from hundreds of years ago in the British isles that had already died out in other parts of america. IMO you can see mostly only a few old timers had knowledge and skills in this art form by the 1960s. And if not for collectors like Alan Lomax, and Bauscom Lungsford it would have be lost long ago. I mean Bauscom was known as an old local eccentric 

Edited by - 6stringedRamble on 01/20/2021 07:51:20

Jan 20, 2021 - 7:34:18 PM

Paul R

Canada

13886 posts since 1/28/2010

Some of this has been out there for some time, but this fills in the gaps.

I used to think that, because he was a lawyer, Bascom was well-off. The story here shows it differently. He's seen as someone whose musical mission makes a comfortable living secondary.

I think Pete Seeger's up-picking style was influenced by Lunsford.

Jan 21, 2021 - 4:20:07 AM
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janolov

Sweden

40912 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Paul R

.....

I think Pete Seeger's up-picking style was influenced by Lunsford.


If I remember the history right, Pete Seeger was more influenced by Samantha Bumgarner who had a style similar to Pete's "basic strum". There seems to be no live recording available but here is how she sounded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWfszrzc51Q

Lunsford seems to have his hand anchored to the banjo head and his playing "bum-di-ty" pattern is up---up-thumb, as you can watch in the video above. Pete Seeger also described Lunsford's style in his book as an alternative to his own "style".

Pete Seeger's basic strum is more to have the hand free in the air and the pattern is up---down-thumb (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rrfs2uaGQag)

Jan 22, 2021 - 3:02:02 PM
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WAWest

USA

4 posts since 1/2/2016

6stringedramble
Thank you for the link. Great footage. I have seen parts of that film before but was not sure about some of the musicians names. Nice to get a glimpse of what it looked like, and sounded like around here.

janolov
Here in this part of Madison county and some surrounding counties in western North Carolina- East Tennessee two finger index lead banjo ( up picking) seemed to be the most common style in some communities.

Years ago I was lucky to get to know several older local musicians that learned from their families... All of them that played banjo used some version of two finger index lead. Most all of them told me they had never even heard clawhammer style when they were young.

Bill West
Shelton Laurel, Madison county NC.

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