Freebies from The 1937 Flood, West Virginia's Most Eclectic String Band! The Flood, the Original Old Boy Band, has been around since the 1970s playing their own brand of mountain music, from blues and jugband to swing and traditional folk. These podcasts feature Flood Freebies, recordings captured on the fly, as it were, at the guys' weekly jam sessions in Huntington, WV
Here’s a tune that has drifted in and out of The Flood repertoire many times over the years. It drifted back in recently when we gathered on a sultry summer night that had a decidedly New Orleans tang to it. Here’s our take on “Buddy Bolden’s Blues.”
Well, this has been Bowen’s “Banjo Summer.” In early June, he dropped in to visit Paul Callicoat at Route 60 Music and, on a whim, Charlie traded an old guitar he had for a shiny new five-string that he spied on the wall there. Charlie didn’t know a thing about banjo, but he started watching some videos he found on YouTube from the remarkable Dr. Josh Turknett and his “Brainjo Academy.” He practice a bit every day and has been having an absolute ball...
We always try to have a few novelty tunes in our back pocket to lighten the mood at shows — or just to amuse ourselves at the weekly rehearsals. And this one, of course, is how we get all that big grant money, because it’s about history. Well, sort of…. There is some dispute about whether George Washington actually played the ukulele, but we do think it may have known a few red-hot mamas…
This song has marvelous lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer, as Floodster Emerita Michelle Hoge demonstrates whenever she’s in the room. But she’s not here to sing it, the song also is an extraordinary vehicle as an instrumental. Here from last week’s rehearsal, Danny Cox lays down a lovely melody, then his old friend and our guest for the evening — Bob Murnahan, in town for a visit from his Colorado home — takes a couple of choruses to mine gold in all those cool chords.
Twenty years ago this summer, we were in the midst of planning our third studio album, when our friend and producer, the late George Walker, showed up with a rare Cootie Williams recording. George thought this novelty tune would a good fit for us. We fell in love with it and learned it in time for the recording session. Ever since then, whenever this song comes to mind, as it did at a recent Flood rehearsal, our thoughts race back to our good times with you, George.
For this old folk song, we follow the well-established narrative about a love affair that goes tragically wrong, but we take a lot of liberties with the traditional melody. Well, our unique tune goes back the very beginnings of The Flood. When Dave Peyton and Charlie Bowen were just starting out as a duet a half century ago, they found that odd string of chords seem to set just right with their simple guitar and Autoharp accompaniment...
This song has been in The Flood’s repertoire for about 30 years now. Early on, it was an instrumental showcase for Joe Dobbs’ fiddle. Then about a decade or so, it was part of Michelle Hoge’s remarkable songbag of ballads and swing tunes. Lately, Randy Hamilton has taken over the lead vocals. On this track from last week’s rehearsal, Charlie Bowen brings a little harmony and Danny Cox finds all kinds of interesting opportunities for guitar goodies in those cool old chords.
Roger Samples and Charlie Bowen worked out our arrangement of this old tune about 50 years ago. We sang and played it at many parties and jam sessions, but then it remained retired for the next three or four decades. That is until one night this summer when the tune popped into Charlie’s mind during a weekly rehearsal. Right away, Danny Cox, Randy Hamilton and Sam St. Clair jumped in and gave new life to an old number.
When we roll into Sal’s Speakeasy tomorrow night for our monthly gig, we’ll be bringing with us a tune that has been rocking audiences for more than eight decades. And that, brothers and sisters, is the definition of a hit! It’s a Duke Ellington composition that was given a whole new lease on life through some evocative lyrics by the great Bob Russell.