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Monday, May 31, 2010

Allen Brothers - Clara's Boys (1982)

The Allen Brothers on this recording, three brothers, should not be confused with the Allen Brothers, a pair of brothers, who were active in the 1920s and 30s. A number of sources mididentify this recording as one by the older Allen brothers. I can find very little about the Allen Brothers on this recording, except that they released three albums: Sweet Rumors (1977), Are You Feeling It Too? (1980), and the present album, Clara's Boys (1982).

These guys make traditional country music with a dose of blugrass. I can't put my finger on it, but their choice of songs is unique and makes listening to this recording a bit of an adventure. A few of the songs are covers, including the last song, "Blue Eyed Darlin'," by Roy Acuff, but most appear to be originals. This is the kind of stuff you'd expect from Rounder Records and is a nice discovery. Too bad it's now out of print. Hope you enjoy it.

  • Harley Allen Guitar, Mandolin, Lead and Tenor Vocals
  • Greg Allen Banjo, Lead and Baritone Vocals
  • Ronnie Allen Electric Bass, Lead and Baritone Vocals
  • Buddy Griffin Fiddle
  • Danny Milhoun Dobro
  • Rick Stacy Mandolin
  • Larry Nager Acoustic Bass
  • Allen Eiseman Fiddle on "Louise" with Rick Stacy and the Allen Brothers
Track List:
  1. Is It True
  2. The Girl And The Dreadful Snake
  3. The Way I Am
  4. How Come You Do Me Like You Do
  5. Suzanne
  6. Dream
  7. Send Me Your Address From Heav
  8. Louise
  9. Where Do The Good Times Go
  10. Blue Eyed Darlin'
Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gustav Mahler - Des Knaben Wunderhorn (1991)

Mahler has always been one of my favorite composers. I especially like his symphonies, but his Lieder are on a par with the symphonies, and Des Knaben Wunderhorn is my favorite in this genre. This recording is good. I have heard better interpretations, but this one is skillfully done, and I have always liked Mackerras' approach to Mahler.

Liner Notes:

Here we feel the heartbeat of the German people... Here German passion burns and German jesting makes merry; here German love blooms. Here sparkle truly German wine and truly German tears. The book contains some of the loveliest flowering of the German spirit.

The enthusiasm of the celebrated poet Heinrich Heine confirms that the collection of over seven hundred verses entitled Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Boy's Magic Horn) is an important expression of German nationalism. The anthology was the work of Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, and was published in three volumes between 1805 and 1808. The source material, some of it three centuries old, was collected throughout German-speaking Europe, probably in response to the trauma of the Napoleonic occupation.

The title Des Knaben Wunderhorn is derived from the opening poem of Volume One. Its dedicatee, Goethe, had recommended the verses 'to all intelligent people', and in his view their varied subjects—fairy tales, ghost stories, miracles, murders, nursery rhymes and recollections of war—were well suited to musical treatment. Although neither Beethoven nor Schubert showed interest, Weber certainly did, for it was in the Leipzig library of Weber's grandson Karl in 1888 that Mahler, who had already set several of the poems for voice and piano, discovered the edition to which he would return so often in the years to come. Together Karl Weber and Mahler embarked upon an operatic project which was abandoned, but eventually gave rise to the song 'Der Schildwache Nachtlied', completed in 1892.

Mahler was the first composer to make extensive use of Des Knaben Wunderhorn, setting twenty-one poems in all, of which the finest are those with orchestra composed between 1888 and 1901. Furthermore, the verses became so important to him that they pervaded the symphonies of these years: the Second, Third and Fourth are collectively known as the Wunderhorn Symphonies, and incorporate song material both vocally and orchestrally.

Like Arnim and Brentano before him, Mahler had no qualms about changing the verses to suit his own expressive ends. To achieve brevity for instance, he omitted stanzas in 'Das irdische Leben' and 'Verlor'ne Will'', while elsewhere he sought musical balance by repeating words or sentences, and occasionally by adding words of his own. In keeping with the nature of the originals, he avoided complex musical structures, though in the more extended songs there is thematic development and a unifying role for the orchestra. Instrumental textures often have a chamber music clarity, emphasising contrasted colours rather than rich sonorities. Although the orchestra is not large it is always varied, with percussion frequently significant; for these songs typify the subtle calculation of Mahler's orchestral language.

The moods of the poems suited Mahler well, contrasting humour and sadness, jesting and bitterness, with recurring macabre images. The songs fall into three groups: the military songs which use march-like music; the lyrical, mainly love songs and those in humorous vein. But such classifications must be approached with caution, since each song has its own special sound world.

'Revelge' (Reveille) is one of Mahler's most sinister creations: a regiment returns from battle to stage its last parade, but the soldiers are skeletons. The military aspect is vividly drawn both in the accompaniment and in several interludes, while the opening phrase of the orchestral prelude, the basis of the spectral atmosphere, was later used in 'Nachtmusik I' in the Symphony No. 7.

'Das irdische Leben' (Earthly Life) is a short song of considerable psychological depth. A hungry child appeals to its mother, only to be given empty promises of bread tomorrow. Mother and child have their own themes which are doubled by the woodwind, while the strings scurry relentlessly on towards the bitter conclusion, the child's death.

The playful love song 'Verlor'ne Müh" (All in Vain), in Swabian dialect, is a sensuous ländler for male and female singers in which the girl's personality is wittily drawn by the grace-notes in her vocal line.

The charmingly Schubertian 'Rheinlegendchen' (A Little Rhine Legend) is in the form of a ländler; here the most subtle musical feature is the extent of the tonal range beyond the home key of A major.

'Der Tamboursg'sell' (The Drummer-Boy) of 1901, the last of the songs to be written, concerns a drummer-boy awaiting execution as a deserter. A funereal tread expresses his melancholy as he bids farewell to life.
In 'Der Schildwache Nachtlied' (The Sentinel's Night Song) a sentry is killed because the apparition of his lover lures him from his duty. The effect created is suitably eerie: the girl's music has a sustained lyrical flow, while the sentry is characterised by a march tune and military motifs.

'Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht?' (Who made up this little song?) is a light-hearted nonsense verse set to a flowing moto perpetuo. Again the model is that of the ländler, the vocal line doubled by strings or woodwind.

'Lob des hohen Verstandes' (Praise from a lofty intellect) is a comic verse in which a singing contest between a cuckoo and a nightingale is judged by a donkey. It mocks pomposity and self-importance characterised especially as the donkey's braying 'Ija' motif. Interestingly, Mahler used the opening theme of this song in the complex Rondo-finale of the Fifth Symphony. Of 'Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt' (Anthony of Padua's Sermon to the Fishes) Mahler wrote: 'Not one of the fish is the wiser for the sermon, even though the saint has performed for them! But only a few people will understand my satire on mankind.' A smoothly-contoured ostinato represents the swimming fish; this parodistic song became the basis of the orchestral scherzo of the Resurrection Symphony.

'Lied des Verfolgten im Turm' (Song of the Prisoner in the Tower) concerns a prisoner who maintains his thoughts of freedom while locked in his cell. All the while his sweetheart stands outside the tower, and her music has a gracefulness and charm which contrasts with the prisoner's passionate vigour.

While 'Trost im Unglück' (Solace in Sorrow) is a lively duet between a Hussar and his former sweetheart, it is also a negation of love with an undercurrent of bitterness.

'Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen' (Where the shining trumpets blow), a lovers' rendezvous at midnight, became in Mahler's hands an eerie meeting between a girl and the ghost of her dead soldier sweetheart. The mood is tender and intimate, though the structure is among the most sophisticated in the Wunderhorn songs, with recurring quasi-military music for woodwind, horns and trumpet. Fanfare figures surround the soldier's ghost, while his sleeping lover has string music of melting lyricism.


In 1899, Mahler published twelve orchestral songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn, under the title 'Humoresken'. Of these twelve songs however, two had been later incorporated into symphonies ('Urlicht' into the fourth movement of the Second and 'Es sungen drei Engel' into the fifth movement of the Third). For this reason they are usually omitted from modern performances of the songs, and are not recorded here.
The two remaining songs which make up the twelve on this disc—'Revelge' and 'Der Tamboursg' sell'—were published independently in 1905.

Hailed by the Guardian newspaper as the leading baritone of the day, and perhaps the best British baritone ever, THOMAS ALLEN has received international acclaim for his operatic performances, concerts and recitals in the major musical centres of Europe, America and the Far East. Particularly renowned for his interpretations of Count Almaviva, Papageno and especially Don Giovanni, his repertoire ranges over a broad spectrum to include such roles as Eugene Onegin, Rossini's Figaro, Orestes in Iphigénie en Tauride, Valentin, Pelléas, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Mandryka, Prince Andrei in War and Peace, Busoni's Doctor Faust, Malatesta and Billy Budd.

On the concert platform he appears regularly with all the great orchestras under such conductors as Abbado, Davis, Muti, Haitink, Giulini, Sawallisch, Rattle, Tate, Ozawa, Sinopoli and Solti. As a recitalist he works closely with Roger Vignoles and Geoffrey Parsons, and has appeared at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Prague Spring Festival, the Salzburg Festival and the Aldeburgh Festival. He has made numerous highly-praised recordings.

Thomas Allen has received honorary degrees from the Universities of Newcastle and Durham, an Hon RAM from the Royal Academy of Music and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. In 1989 he was invested with the order of Commander of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen.

ANN MURRAY has built a formidable international reputation and is one of the world's most sought after mezzo-sopranos in the repertoire of Handel, Mozart, Rossini and Strauss. She sings with the world's great orchestras working with such conductors as Levine, Muti, Solti, Boulez, Ozawa, Harnoncourt and Sawallisch.

She has sung in all the world's great opera houses. In the UK she is a regular guest with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the English National Opera. Her career now centres on the Munich and Vienna State Operas, La Scala Milan (where she has sung all her major roles—Cherubino, Dorabella, Donna Elvira and Sesto) and the Salzburg Festival, where she has appeared every year since her debut there in 1981.

  • Thomas Allen, baritone
  • Ann Murray, soprano
  • The London Philharmonic
  • Sir Charles Mackerras, conductor
Track List:
  1. Revelge (baritone)
  2. Das irdische Leben (soprano)
  3. Verlor'ne Müh (duet)
  4. Rheinlegendchen (baritone)
  5. Der Tamboursg'sell
  6. Das Schildwache Nachtlied (duet)
  7. Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht? (soprano)
  8. Lob des hohen Verstandes (baritone)
  9. Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt (soprano)
  10. Lied des Verfolgten im Turm (duet)
  11. Trost im Unglück (duet)
  12. Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen (soprano)
Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.

Other recordings of Des Knaben Wunderhorn:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arthur Honegger - Symphonies 1 and 4 (1973)

Liner Notes:

The work of Arthur Honegger (1892-1955), a Swiss composer with close ties to French musical life and French culture, matured in the stormy and contradictory twenties and thirties of this century, when art discarded romantic subjectivism and mysticism to embrace openly the dynamism and variety characteristic of modern times. Honegger's early symphonic works, above all his Pacific 231 and Rugby, confirmed his affinity with the fresh and original aesthetics of The Six of Paris, but the philosophing composer's later works were inevitably different departures, in which he sensitively sought scope for spiritual, meditative activity of a musical creator in the less restricted opportunities for musical expression. Honegger's style becomes more monumental, more programmatic, and strives for greater general impact. The composer of much incidental music for the stage, radio and film, Honegger sought new outlets for music's social !unction, as well as an appropriate approach to the average listener. It was for the latter that he composed, above all, his eloquent oratorio frescoes on texts by French poets of the period, such as R. Morax (Le roi David, Judith), J. Cocteau (Antigone), P. Valéry (Amphion), P. Claudel (Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, La danse des morts), and others. In these works, one can discover the essential elements of Honegger's creative confession. In his symphonic works, above all in his five symphonies, we can trace the process of his maturing as composer: his respect for musical tradition (particularly Baroque and early Classicist), his non-ostentatious programmatic and subjective approach (2nd Symphony, a reflection of the anxious wartime moods, 3rd Symphony, "Liturgical", of 1946, a dramatic protest against war, and 5th Symphony, "Di tre re", which reflects moods of depression which the composer felt towards the end of his life), his touch for clear, transparent form, his masterful polyphony, plus the sharp, expressive and dynamic rhythm that constitutes the source of Honegger's dramatic pathos.

The 1st Symphony of 1930 was not the product of a creative urge. Serge Koussevitzky, the Boston Symphony Orchestra's farsighted chief conductor, recognized the potential of Honegger's youthful talent and the promise inherent in Le roi David, and the 38-year-old composer never thought of rejecting a commission from a conductor of world renown. The result was a work which echoes—and, in a way, breaks with—the urgent, tumultuous onslaught of Pacific and Rugby. A break with the composer's initial creative stage, the 1st Symphony foreshadows the brilliancy of a work that was to emerge five years later, Jeanne d'Arc au hitcher. The restless and impatient chromatics and atonality of the 1st movement gives way to a more melodically expressive character of the 2nd movement, until the 3rd movement produces the becalming clear diatonics, simple form, and youthful flair.

The 4th Symphony for Chamber Orchestra of 1946 beers the sub-title "Deliciae Basilienses" (Pleasures of Basle). Written for Honegger's friend, conductor and patron Paul Sacher on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the latter's Basle Chamber Orchestra, the work is something in the nature of a benevolent divertimento, after the two symphonies of somewhat dramatic and tragical character. Indeed, Honegger himself considered the work to hate been conceived on Mozartian and Haydnian lines. The relaxed Swiss milieu of Paul Sacher's seat at Schönenberg, where Honegger often stayed and composed, is reflected in the 4th symphony's idyllic, even pastoral, parts. As the various themes of the Symphony's 1st movement merge to make the shape of the sonata form increasingly vague, that movement comes to assume the character of a free-form rhapsody. On the other hand, the 2nd movement is based on merely two themes, the second of which cites the old Swiss traditional song "Z'Basel an mim Rhy". The 3rd movement is "Swiss" as well: rondo-like in form, it mutes all other themes in the finale to give prominence to the quotation of the "Basler Morgenstreich" tune of 1200, the traditional carnival opening song. However, in the symphony the tune is the culmination of the fresh stream of music inspired by a happy moment in the composer's life.

Credits: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Serge Baudo

Track List:
  1. Symphony No. 1 - I Allegro marcato
  2. Symphony No. 1 - II Adagio
  3. Symphony No. 1 - III Presto
  4. Symphony No. 4 - I Lento e misterioso - Allegro
  5. Symphony No. 4 - II Larghetto
  6. Symphony No. 4 - III Allegro
Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.

Other Recordings of works by Arthur Honegger:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Electronic Music from the University of Illinois

Liner Notes:

The Studio for Experimental Music at the University of Illinois was established in 1958, and placed under the directorship of Lejaren Hiller, Professor of Music, to provide facilities for the creation, research and teaching of electronic music techniques, to investigate the application of computers to musical composition, and to encourage original instrument design and construction. These related roles the studio has fulfilled admirably, and from its relatively modest beginnings it has developed into one of the best equipped in the world.

The works on this recording provide a representative selection of the more than forty works which have been composed in the studio since its inception.

LEJAREN HILLER (b. 1924) came to music by way of science. He has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton University and was a research chemist for some ten years, first with DuPont and later with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois. At Princeton, however, Hiller also studied composition with Milton Babbitt and Roger Sessions, and he later continued his musical studies at the University of Illinois. As a chemist, Hiller became familiar with the use of electronic computers for the solution of scientific problems, which knowledge he subsequently applied to the problem of using computers for musical composition. In 1956, in collaboration with L. M. Isaacson, he composed the "Illiac Suite for String Quartet," using the ILLIAC digital computer of the University of Illinois, and he is the author (with L. M. Isaacson) of Experimental Music, the first book to deal with the problems of computer compositional techniques. In 1958 Professor Hiller joined the faculty of the School of Music at Illinois.

KENNETH GABURO (b. 1926) studied at the Eastman School of Music, the Conservatory of Santa Cecelia in Rome, and the School of Music of the University of Illinois, where he received a D.M.A. degree in composition. In 1959 he was a participant in the Princeton University Seminar in Advanced Musical Studies. He has also been the recipient of a Fulbright grant, a UNESCO creative fellowship, and commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitsky Music Foundations. His Compositions include a series of Antiphonies for live performers and tape, two operas, and works for chamber ensembles, orchestra, and the theatre. Previously recorded works are "Line Studies," "Two," "Three Dedications to Lorca," and "Stray Birds." The earlier of the two works on this recording—"Lemon Drops" (1965)—was composed entirely on the Harmonic Tone Generator developed by James Beauchamp, of the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois. The later work—"For Harry" (1966)—was composed for Harry Partch.

CHARLES HAMM (b. 1925), composer and musicologist, studied at the University of Virginia and at Princeton University. His teachers in composition were Randall Thompson, Bohuslav Martinu, and Edward Cone. Prior to his appointment, in 1963, as Professor of Music at the University of Illinois, he taught at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and at Newcomb College, Tulane University. His compositions include six operas, an orchestral work—"Sinfonia 1954"—which was commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony, and numerous chamber, piano, and vocal works. Among his more recent works are "Mobile for Piano and Tape," "Portrait of John Cage" for piano and three tape recorders, and "Round" for unspecified instrumental or vocal ensemble.


For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses:
Rain; empty river; a voyage,
Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight
Under the cabin roof was one lantern.
The reeds are heavy; bent;
and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

Autumn moon; hills rise about lakes
against sunset
Evening is like a curtain of cloud,
a blurr above ripples; and through it
sharp long spikes of the cinnamon,
a cold tune amid reeds.
Behind hill the monk's bell
borne on the wind.
Sail passed here in April; may return in October
Boat fades in silver; slowly;
Sun blaze alone on the river.

Where wine flag catches the sunset
Sparse chimneys smoke in the cross light
Comes then snow scur on the river
And a world is covered with jade
Small boat floats like a lanthorn,
The flowing water clots as with cold.
And at San Yin they are a people of Leisure.

Wild geese swoop to the sand-bar,
Clouds gather about the hole of the window
Broad water; geese line out with the autumn
Rooks clatter over the fishermen's lanthorns,
A light moves on the north sky line;
where the young boys prod stones for shrimp.
In seventeen hundred came Tsing to these hill lakes.
A light moves on the south sky line.

State by creating riches shd. thereby get into debt?
This is infamy; this is Geryon.
This canal goes still to TenShi
though the old king built it for pleasure

K  E I   M  E N  RAN    K  E I
K  I U  M  A N  MAN   K  E I
T A N   FUKU  TAN    K A I

Sun up; work
sundown; to rest
dig well and drink of the water
dig field; eat of the grain
Imperial power is? and to us what is it?

The fourth; the dimension of stillness.
And the power over wild beasts.

("Canto XLIX" Copyright 1948 by Ezra Pound. Used with permission of the publisher, New Directions Publishing Corp.)

HERBERT BRÜN was born in 1918 in Berlin, Germany. As a pupil at the Jerusalem Conservatory of Music in Israel, he studied composition with Stefan Wolpe. Further study has included work at Columbia University, New York, and at the electronic studios in Paris, Cologne, and Munich. A partial list of his compositions includes: "Mobile for Orchestra," "Sonoriferous Loops," "Gestures for Eleven," "Non Sequitur VI," "Gesto for Piccolo Flute and Piano," "Trio for Flute, Double-Bass, Percussion," "Trio for Trumpet, Trombone, Percussion," 3 String Quartets, and numerous scores for the theatre. Since 1955 he has given many lectures and seminars dealing with the function of music in society. He came to the School of Music of the University of Illinois in 1963, primarily to do research on the significance of computer systems for the composition of music, and is presently a member of the faculty there.


If you were
not yet to understand
the meaning which was conveyed
to these events of sound
it would be understandable

for it is believable
that you do not yet believe
in hearing the sound of events
as they call on you
to create the suitable language
which might let you say to yourself
that which is said to you
just once and never again
for the first and the last time

there is no second time
since a language gained
is a language lost

And to even try
to tell you this
seems a sheer waste of time
for it is language
and thus lost

-Herbert Brün

SALVATORE MARTIRANO (b. 1927) studied composition with Herbert Elwell, Bernard Rogers, and Luigi Dallapiccola. He has been the recipient of many grants and awards for musical composition ("Underworld" was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation), and is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Illinois. His works include the "Chansons Innocentes" for soprano (a setting of texts by e. e. cummings), an a cappella Mass (Sal M's Solemn Psalm), and "O, O, O, O, That Shakespeherian Rag" for mixed chorus and instrumental ensemble.

Notes by R. B. MacDonald

Track List & Credits:
  1. MACHINE MUSIC Lejaren A. Hiller (1964) for piano, percussion and tape. Phyllis Rappeport, piano; Thomas Siwe, pecussion
  2. LEMON DROPS Kenneth Gaburo (1965) (Tape Alone)
  3. FOR HARRY Kenneth Gaburo (1966) (Tape Alone)
  4. CANTO Charles Hamm (1963) for soprano, speaker & chamber ensemble. Helen Hamm, soprano; Elizabeth Hiller, speaker, The Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Illinois; Jack McKenzie, conductor
  5. FUTILITY (1964) Herbert Brün for speaker and tape, Marianne Bran, speaker
  6. UNDERWORLD Salvatore Martirano (1965) The Contemporary Chamber Players of the University of Illinois, David Gilbert, conductor
Director of Engineering: Val Valentin

Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.

Other recordings featuring composers on this recording:
Lejaren A. Hiller
Kenneth Gaburo
Salvatore Martirano

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Abe Horton & Harold Hausenfluck - Sweet Sunny South (1984)

Here's a little traditional country/bluegrass music recorded in the relaxed fashion of yore. I always relish finding albums like this.

Liner Notes:

Abe Horton was born in Carroll County, Virginia. on April 11, 1917. He was raised near Big Reed Island Creek and came from a musical family; his father, Denny A. Horton, played banjo and fiddle. Abe started with the fiddle at age eleven and played with his brothers often.

Many of the musicians Abe played with were on up in years when he was young. He credits these older musicians as being the source of a lot of the old songs he knows, as well as, his style of playing. A partial list would include the names of Hermon Edmonds, Glen Smith, and Orville and Preston Cox. Perhaps Abe's greatest musical influence was his wife, Annie Mae's grandfather, Friel Webb. Abe's recollections of past days in Carroll County offer a deeper understanding into the music of this region.

Following his tour of duty during World War II, Abe dropped out of music for twenty-three years. Around 1970 he started the band, the Pine River Boys and Maybelle. Heritage III and XXI feature their distinctive sound. A solo album, Heritage XIX, portrays other old one songs and tunes by Abe.

Harold Beatty Hausenfluck was born March 26. 1952, in Charlottesville, Virginia. From 1956 to 1971, he attended the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton. It was during those years that he first became interested in country music.

Some of the first music Harold remembers hearing were older songs his father used to sing. Around 1961, his grandmother found him a "wind up" record player and a few 78 r.p.m. records. The records were of Fiddlin' John Carson and the Virginia Reelers, and he recalls this as the first really old timey music he had heard and it "stuck right with me."

The first instrument Harold learned to play was the harmonica at age eight. Soon to follow was the "jawharp" and the guitar. With the guitar he started with an open tuning style and often used a slide. He admits playing some modern type country tunes at first and even a little rock music. Harold's back up guitar praying can be heard on some tunes on this album.

The WCKY Jamboree out of Cincinnati and the Grand Ole Opry on WSM Nashville were favorite radio shows during the 1960's. Through them, he heard the banjo styles of Grandpa Jones, Kirk McGee, Oswald, and Stringbean.

In 1968.a girlfriend brought Harold an album of the clawhammer banjo music of Wade Ward of Grayson County, Virginia. It was here that "things started clicking." The album notes mentioned the fiddlers' conventions, and in 1969, he and his dad came to the OLD FIDDLERS' Convention in Galax. Harold comes right to the point in describing it as an "eye opener” for him. One lesson he learned at these early conventions, and a good one to pass along to others is "to learn the old time way—you learn from the old timers."

From 1971 to 1973, Harold moved to Vancouver, Washington, to further his education in piano servicing. While there, he come into more contact with reissued old time music by such record labels as County and Rounder. In 1973, Harold returned to Richmond, Virginia, where he lives today.

Harold first met Abe Horton and his band, the Pine River Boys and Maybelle in 1972 at the fiddlers' convention in Saltville, Virginia. He says he was a "little sheepish" at first, but as he ran into them at other conventions a real friendship developed. Harold and Abe's first album of authentic songs and tunes is available on Heritage XXIII.

Harold credits the following musicians as having influenced his fiddling style: John Corson, Norman Edmonds, Lowe Stokes, and Eck Robertson. To a lesser extent he also credits, Tommy Jarrell, Crockett Ward, Boyd (Hick) Edmonds, Glen Smith (Hillsville). and Joseph Hurly (Slim) Smith. Another fiddling Influence of the last few yews is Joe Birchfield of Roan Mountain, Tennessee.

Harold's banjo picking, for the most part, has been influenced by Lu McRay, Glen Smith (Hillsville), and Wade Ward. He says he has listened to others, but these three are the main ones of influence.

Concerning this present album, Harold states, -if there's not enough dance tunes, gospel songs, or folksongs to suit everyone; considering I'm only thirty-one years old, and that the good die young, I've got a long, long time to live. So Lord willing, there will be more to come."

The tradition of passing the music from one generation to the next continues. Abe and Harold's deep respect for the foundations of the music is very evident. It is also more than a relic of the past to them. Old time music is still alive, and it’s played here with spirit and with discriminating good taste. Certainly, these are qualities worth continuing, and ones we should hold high.

Dale Morris
Elk Creek, Va.
Track List:
  1. Shake That Little Foot Dineo
  2. Sweet Sunny South
  3. Little Darling
  4. I Wish I'd Stayed In The Wagon Yard
  5. The Death Of Floyd Collins
  6. Tempie
  7. Mother's Prayer
  8. Old Dan Tucker
  9. Lost Indian
  10. The Honest Farmer
  11. Sallie Gooden
  12. Susan Pines
  13. I'm Going Down To The River Of Jordan
Download Links: Enjoy the Music, or here.