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LUTHER DAVIS 'Some of the Very Oldest' - FRC-745-CD

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These recordings were made in 1973 and 1974 as part of a year-long study of traditional music along the central Blue Ridge. I worked with my close friend Blanton Owen. We met Luther Davis (1887-1986) in the spring of 1973. He was 86 and living with his wife, Alverda (Verd), in the Delhart/Baywood section of Grayson County, Virginia, just west of Galax. Joe Caudill, an equally ancient fiddler from just over the North Carolina line in Alleghany County, had told us that we had to hear Luther Davis play, that Luther knew all the old tunes. And he certainly did. During the next year, Blanton and I visited Luther often, each time finding him remembering more and more of the tunes he knew as a young man growing up in the music. Luther and the Caudill boys, Joe and his older brother Hus, spent long hours listening to, learning from, and playing with older local fiddlers like Emmett Lundy (1864-1953), Sidney Caudill (1852-1936), and Isom Rector (1858-1926) and his brother Fielden (1857-1929). The cuts on this CD catch Luther just starting to play again after years working and raising a family. But the magic was still there, and what you hear here is the old style Galax fiddling at its very best. Thank you again, Luther Davis.

I must say that fieldwork is always a hit or miss proposition. You never know what’s on the other side of the door. A welcoming smile, a gruff refusal, good music, bad music. Every now and then you’re lucky and meet a Luther Davis. As those who knew him can attest, Luther was indeed one of a kind. A character, a wit, a performer, a charmer, a musician’s musician. But always unforgettable. — Tom Carter

1. Sheep Shell Corn by the Rattlin' of His Horn
2. Shady Grove
3. What'll I Do With the Baby
4. Poor Johnny's Gone to the War
5. Belle of Lexington
6. Grasshopper Sitting on a Sweet Potato Vine
7. Piney Wood Girl
8. Talk about Piney Woods Girl and Mississippi Sawyer
9. Mississippi Sawyer
10. Round Town Girls
11. Talk about Emmett Lundy
12. West Virginia Farewell
13. Walking in the Parlor
14. Fanny Hill
15. Old Dad
16. Talk about the Lowe family
17. Evening Rainbow Waltz
18. Talk about learning the Evening Rainbow Waltz
19. Jackson's March
20. Talk about school breakings
21. Sourwood Mountain 
22. Train on the Island 
23. Pretty Little Girl 
24. Talk about the Rector brothers
25. Breaking Up Christmas
26. Holly Ding
27. Sally Ann
28. Western Country 
29. Cousin Sally Brown 
30. Forked Deer
31. Polly Put the Kettle On
32. Black-Eyed Susie
33. Down the Road 
34. Flying Indian (Waves on the Ocean)
35. Sweet Bird 
36. Sail Away Ladies