Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sounds of Virginia: Fiddlin' Powers and Family


This week the Bus will not be straying far from home. Several weeks ago, management at the plant where I work decided that we each can't do the work of three people if we only work regular eight hour shifts, so we are back on overtime. Hell, we’ve had three weeks of working regular hours; we ought to be rested up. The latter half of last week I pulled some extra long hours. Along with the return of overtime, I have come down with an early autumn cold. The combination has left little time for writing and I’ve had to leave the Bus idling for a few days. As I am still feeling under the weather, the Bus will be staying close to home this week. Fortunately, my home state of Virginia has a rich musical heritage to explore.

The mountains of southwestern Virginia are a perfect place to start an exploration of Virginia music. After all, it was in the border town of Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee that the first commercial recordings of rural mountain music were made. Artist recorded at those famous first Bristol sessions included: The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest (Pop) Stoneman, J.P. Nestor, Blind Alfred Reed, and Uncle Eck Dunford, to name a few.
Russell County, Virginia was the home of a great fiddler by the name of Cowan Powers, known to all as Fiddlin’ Powers. Raising his own band members, Fiddlin’ Powers' band consisted of his three daughters, Ada played ukulele, Opha Lou played mandolin and Carrie Belle played guitar, and his son, Charlie, played banjo and sang for the group. Talented musicians, all. In addition to Powers' fine, clean fiddle, give a listen to Carrie Belle's lively guitar. And yes, Miss Ada's ukulele in a mountain family string band of the 1920s is proof of how influential the Hawiaain music craze at the turn of the century was.

Fiddlin’ Powers and Family – Did You Ever See The Devil Uncle Joe.mp3

Fiddlin’ Powers and Family – Old Virginia Reel - Part 1.mp3

Fiddlin’ Powers and Family – Callahan’s Reel.mp3

Fiddlin’ Powers and Family – Cluck Old Hen.mp3

8 Comments:

Blogger Monster Library Student said...

Feel better soon! People always say chicken soup for colds, but try a hot tottie, that's what I use. Hot tea, whiskey and lemon.

October 01, 2007 8:56 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Thanks MLS,
I have been drinking plenty of hot totties (with and without the tea). Don't know if it's helping my cold, but I sure feel better with each sip.

October 01, 2007 9:10 AM  
Blogger Steve Patterson said...

I really like your blog.

My bro's from VA.

October 01, 2007 1:31 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Hello ED,
Do hope you're feeling better. I'm still listening to Kat Eggleston - if someone gave you the power...
And now opha lou and the mandolin. Zounds those girls play well.
Working overtime doesn't help. Better dig out Pat Patterson and the Cat's Whiskers and get you dancing again.

all best wishes fly... k.

October 01, 2007 2:57 PM  
Blogger Louisa said...

Hello, Ed.

You get to feeling better best you can, considering.
Uncle Uncle Eck? I have an Aunt Sis. My cousin has a Grandma Sister. They are not the same woman, by the way. Funny how names morph as the family grows.

Feel better.

October 01, 2007 5:46 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

When I read today's post, I chuckled. I know nothing about your home area. Thanks for the education again. What made me chuckle was the thought of how each nook and cranny of North America has its own very rich local heritage. The musical beauty of these areas is exposed by people like yourself. Meanwhile, the dinks who spend their lives chronicling top 40 pap earn big bucks. Ed, you have at least one book in you. You owe it to yourself, and us, to write it. And I want the CD to accompany it.

October 01, 2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Thanks for the well wishes folks. It's just a cold. You know what they say about colds: Medicate a cold and you’ll get over it in just 14 days. Leave it untreated and it will linger for 2 weeks.

Black Dog, I see you believe in the power of music as much as I do. Some Pat Patterson is just what I need. Thanks.

Oh, Louisa, I swear I read that several times and missed the repeated word. Musta been those hot totties!

October 01, 2007 5:58 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Dan,
Thank you for your kind words.

In a way, Dan, I am writing a book. Only one day at a time, and the CD that accompanies it comes a few songs at a time.

There are many times that I feel I don't have enough time to write a decent post for the Bus, I could never find enough time to write an entire book.

I was not going to mention it, as it has been in the works for some time now, but I got a note from the publisher today, so I will. I have been hired by the the Arkansas State Library to write an entry for the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. It should be published later this year. I'm sorta excited, as this is my first real writing job.

October 01, 2007 9:21 PM  

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