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:

Best of the Down Home “Awesome Out of Print Records” series vol. 1

Hello everybody- well for the past couple months pretty much all I’ve been doing here is digitizing and posting up old out of print LPs from my collection, for what has been known as Down Home Radio’s “Awesome Out of Print Records” series. I’m gonna be doing that in fits and starts from here on out, but I think I’m gonna call this first round complete and start back producing regular episodes of Down Home Radio. I’ve got a lot of good interviews waiting to come out!

On this show I have put together a play list of a bunch of my favorite tracks drawn from all the records I’ve posted up. It was hard to choose which tracks to play, because there are so many great ones on these albums! This show serves as a sampler, and you can go back and download all the records and listen to them in their entirety!

Track list for today’s episode:

Oh Mother It Hurts Me So: Traditional Music from Central Pennsylvania

Cover of the LP: Oh Mother It Hurts Me So
Click Here to Download

Here’s the latest addition to the Down Home “Awesome Out-of-Print Records” series, and I think the last for a little while since I want to get back to producing regular radio shows, I got a lot of good interviews that are waiting to be posted.

This record is great! Its a collection of fiddle, harmonica and vocal music (sometimes accompanied by 4-string banjo and guitar) from central Pennsylvania recorded by Ray Allen in 1979 and originally released by the Union County Historical Society’s Oral Traditions Project. This is not your typical “old-time music;” the musicians represented here are the decedents not only of early Scots-Irish settlers, but also of immigrants from Germany and Italy and the songs and tunes they play reflect that in a wonderful way. Great stuff! And I love that cover photo.

As usual, I have selected this LP from my record collection, played it into my computer, chopped up the tracks, scanned the front and back of the LP, and here it is!

See below for track information:

Big Bill Broonzy: Live at Club Montmarte, Copenhagen 1956

Big Bill Broonzy Live in Copenhagen 1956
Click Here to Download

While looking through my record collection the other day, I realized that this had to be the next addition to the Down Home “Awesome Out-of-Print Records” series. This record is awesome. I first heard it coming over the PA before a show my band was playing at the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, Poland in 2004! All I heard that day was Big Bill’s version of “The Glory of Love,” but I was blown away. Eventually I found out that it was from this record and tracked down a copy. What a revelation. This is possibly my favorite Big Bill. Maybe that’s because his set at this live show is kind of a greatest hits of folk music, so he does a bunch of favorites. But he does them so well! There’s great versions of songs you might not think he had covered like “Take This Hammer,” “Midnight Special,” “I Get the Blues When It Rains,” and even “Sixteen Tons”!

See below for notes from the back of the record and more track information.

Traditional Music From The Cumberland Plateau Vol. 1 & 2

Traditional Music From The Cumberland Plateau

Here’s another record in Down Home Radio’s continuing “Awesome Out-of-Print Records” series. This is a collection of field recordings made in Tennessee in the 1970’s by folklorist Bobby Fulcher. Included here are volumes 1 & 2. If anybody has vol. 3, send it along!

This album is actually available to buy, please check out Sandrock Recordings!

These are incredible records, and very hard to find. They were digitized and sent to me by Norm over at, an awesome website which is well worth checking out. Huge Thanks to Norm!

I first heard brief selections from these records while listening to a podcast of an interview with Bobby Fulcher.
When Bobby played a bit of one of his field recordings of Retta Spradlin, I was completely floored and had to find the record as soon as possible! She sings and plays banjo and is incredible.  The whole record is great but she really hit me hard.

Another of my favorite musicians is banjo player Virgil Anderson, also recorded by Bobby Fulcher.  Anderson appears on three cuts in this collection.  Fulcher released a full LP of Anderson which is really great.  I have posted it here: Virgil Anderson – On The Tennessee Line.

Leadbelly on Capitol Records

Leadbelly Capitol Records with zither, etc. photo by E. Gomez

This is an incredible Leadbelly record, which he did for a mainstream commercial recording company, Capitol Records (as opposed to Folkways), out in Hollywood, CA in 1944. These were his last sessions for a major label and he really seems to have put everything into the recordings he made here. They’re great! This might be my favorite Leadbelly. He plays 12 string guitar, piano, and is accompanied by Paul Mason Howard on what is supposed to be zither, but seems to in fact be a Dolceola, a very small piano like instrument seen below. This record was loaned to me by a friend and as with all the records I post here I fed it into my computer, chopped it up into tracks, and here it is! Hope you enjoy.

CLICK HERE to download Leadbelly on Capitol Records
If you have problems downloading this leave a comment
or email me at .

See below for the back of the record / notes / song list


Virgil Anderson – On the Tennessee Line

Virgil Anderson - On the Tennessee Line photo by E. Gomez
I think Virgil Anderson is my favorite banjo player right now. He’s great. I picked up this old out of print County LP last summer when I was at the Clifftop banjo and fiddle convention and I’ve been listening to it a lot ever since. Virgil Anderson has such a mellow feel, very bluesy and laid back. This record is great for the early morning and late at night, or any time!

The material on this record was recorded, I believe in the late 1970’s, by folklorist Bobby Fulcher. Bobby Fulcher also produced a film called “Chase the Devil: Religious Music of the Southern Appalachians (1986) which features great footage of Virgil Anderson.

CLICK HERE to download On the Tennessee Line
If you have problems downloading this leave a comment
or email me at .

See below for the back of the record and notes:

J.B. Smith: Ever Since I Have Been A Man Full Grown

Ever Since I've Been a Man Fullgrown

“Been returning recently to one of the more intense and affecting albums I’ve experienced in my short life of trouble: recordings made by Bruce Jackson in 1965 at Texas’s Ramsey Prison Farm (now the Ramsey Unit) of a fellow named Johnnie B., or J. B., Smith. The record was released in 1966 on John Fahey’s Takoma label, and is as far as I can tell the only LP devoted to a single unaccompanied singer of prison work-song (or field hollers, if you prefer). Not only that: the LP, “Ever Since I Have Been A Man Full Grown,” devotes nearly all of its second side to a composition of Smith’s of that same name, a 24-minute opus drawing on imagery and lyrics most fans of African American work songs, hollers, and blues will find familiar, but strung together and performed with an artistry and delivery both unsettling and incredibly moving.” – Nathan Salsburg , excerpt from his entry on the Root Hog or Die blog.

I was first made aware of this record, and its incredible title track, by Nathan Salsburg, host of the fantastic internet radio show Root Hog or Die. I listened to the record and was blown away. Then Nathan played it again on his show last week and I realized the gravity of the situation and that I had to jump on this bandwagon and post the album on my site as well. This song, “Ever Since I Have Been A Man Full Grown,” is a masterpiece, it draws together moving lines and imagery from all across the spectrum of folk music. Smith’s performance is apparently completely relaxed and masterful. Give this 24 minute song the time it deserves. Listen closely or intermittently, or both as it bears many repeat listenings.

This record was digitized and is available for download on the Magic of Juju blog.

Click Here To Download the Record directly!

Bruce Jackson, the folklorist who made this field recording is currently a distinguished professor of American Culture at State University of New York at Buffalo and edits the online journal The Buffalo Report, mostly covering politics but also some cultural stuff. He mentioned Down Home Radio last year when Henrietta and I rebroadcast the program she produced on WNYC back in 1940 featuring Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. In 1966 Bruce Jackson, together with Pete, Toshi and Dan Seeger made a film called “Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison.” An incredible film, you can watch it for free on your computer at Bruce Jackson continues to do great work, definitely check him out.