Banjo Songs of the Southern Mountains LP

Banjo Songs of the Southern Mountains front by you.
On today’s show I continue Down Home Radio’s “Awesome Out of Print Records” series with and old Riverside LP, “Banjo Songs of the Southern Mountains.” These recordings were made at the 1955 Mountain Dance & Folk Festival held in Asheville, NC – directed by Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The record features Obray Ramsey, George Pegram & Walter “Red” Parham, Harry and Jeanie West and “Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner.  Pegram and Parham are an excellent example of an old-time banjo/harmonica duet.  They’re great!

CLICK HERE to download the album Mp3s, divided up into tracks.

See below for track information and album notes:

Side A:

1. Little Maggie – Obray Ramsey
2. Cripple Creek – George Pegram (banjo) & Walter “Red” Parham (harmonica)
3. Keep My Skillet Good & Greasy – Harry (banjo) and Jeanie West (guitar)
4. Old Reuben – George Pegram & Walter “Red” Parham
5. Careless Love – Harry and Jeanie West
6. John Henry – Pegram and Parham
7. Way Down On the Island – “Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner
(On the back of the record it says there is an 8th track on side A, but there’s not.)

Side B:
1. Poor Little Ellen – Obray Ramsey
2. Arkansas Traveler – George Pegram
3. The Boston Burglar – Harry and Jeanie West
4. Old Mountain Dew – George Pegram & Walter “Red” Parham
5. Lost John – Harry and Jeanie West
6. Pretty Polly – Obray Ramsey
7. Finger Ring – Harry and Jeanie West
8. Cumberland Gap – Pegram and Parham
9. Fly Aroun, My Pretty Little Miss – “Aunt” Samantha Bumgarner

Banjo Songs of the Southern Mountains Back by you.
Click Image to Enlarge


  1. Paul Sampson

    Thanks! Even if I could find my copy of the vinyl, it’s probably even scratchier than yours….

  2. john

    Thanks a bunch. I havent heard Obray Ramsey in years.
    Now for a bit of shameless begging.

    I’m desperately waiting for those three Electra classics:
    Old Time Banjo Project EKS 7276
    String Band Project EKS 7292
    Folk Banjo Styles EKS 7217

  3. Hi John,

    I will look out for those records. Hopefully I will find them and be able to post them. I feel ok I think about posting them. The Riverside records such as this one are super out of print, so no problem reissuing here, but I think those Elektra ones should be ok.

    Thanks for listening!

  4. john

    I’d buy ’em in a minute if they re-issued them. But Elecktra probably thinks there’d be little market for them and so many of their other classics. They’re wrong!

  5. carrie

    Thanks for sharing this music Eli – the only Obray Ramsey I’d heard before this was his version of Rain and Snow. I’m learning to play the banjo so the inspiration is mcuh appreciated.

  6. Joe

    Thanks for the great site. I’m enjoying making my way through the interviews and recordings.

    I’ll second the vote for the Elektra LPs mentioned above, and add one for the Rounder Records Library of Congress banjo album. I wonder why Rounder hasn’t reissued that on CD?

    Keep up the great work!

  7. Done deal, I just posted the Library of Congress Banjo Collection. I will work on the Elektra stuff an hopefully have that up some time soon.


  8. paul dubin

    Oh what I’d give to find the record that used to be in the RLP 12-610 case Banjo Songs of the Southern Mountains. Or a CD. Or a casette. To hear Obray Ramsey.

  9. Topher Stephens

    Hey Eli, thanks for this post. These are the only recordings of Samantha Bumgarner I’ve heard, other than the “Worried Blues” released in a number of places. Im very grateful to have these, she being one of the formost banjo players of Cullowhee/Webster NC, my home town.

  10. Willy Gewitz

    I have been looking for these fantstic records for a long time.
    Hard to get here in Denmark.

    Thank you very much

  11. John Karlsson

    I woke up in the wee hours last night thinking about Obray Ramsey. Now, after a quick Google search, here he is, along with the record I’ve been trying to find for years. Thanks for the memories!

    What model Orpheum is that on the cover?

  12. john. sept 10 2008:—– did you ever get the 3 LPs you asked about ?I could supply self-produced CDs,with the notes etc from the sleeves. Yours etc, Erik Grainger [UK]

  13. tarheel

    best country lp of all time, I learned the harmonica, and finger picking banjo from this (O.Ramsey) Met Harry west, he had some interesting stories about Ramsey! Also have met friends of Obray’s they were also influenced by his style. Ramsey’s picking on this lp is by far the best I have ever heard of his. Also some great 2 finger picking here, George Pegram, Walter Parham at their very best

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