|Roots of the Red Clay Ramblers
Traditional Dance Tunes
|Tommy and Bobbie Thompson, Bertram Levy and Alan Jabbour|
Hollow Rock String Band Remembered a Generation Later
by Alan Jabbour
We can no longer say exactly when the Hollow Rock String Band was
created. We started playing together in the mid-1960s. By 1966
we were probably “a band,” though it is not certain when we adopted our
band included Tommy Thompson on five-string banjo, Bobbie Thompson on guitar,
Bertram Levy on mandolin, and me on fiddle. A circle of other friends
from the Durham/Chapel Hill area played with us, yet it was somehow clear
who was “the band” and who was “the circle.”
January, 1997 (from
Hollow Rock String Band CD - Traditional Dance Tunes
Coming to Hollow Rock
Fuzzy Mountain String Band
Jesse Thompson's Letters
The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress presents
FIDDLE TUNES OF THE OLD FRONTIER: THE HENRY REED COLLECTION
online through the Library of Congress American Memory Web
A note about the Henry Reed site:
Alan Jabbour has just unveiled (April, 2000) a enormous document devoted to the life and work of the fiddler Henry Reed. This site includes much about the origins of the current vibrant revival of traditional fiddle music, which Alan describes as an historical hourglass, where men of Mr. Reed's generation became the "neck" of the glass, the music flowing down thru them and then out again to many---and in the case of Mr. Reed and his wonderful tunes, out around the world. Mr. Reed's music, once Alan had "discovered" it, formed the core repertoire of the Hollow Rock String Band, the Fuzzy Mountain String Band, and to some extent the instrumental repertoire of the early Red Clay Ramblers. As all these bands recorded, the tunes found their way everywhere--I saw a Fuzzy Mountain String Band album in the bookshelf of Israel Young, a folk expatriate who'd hired the Red Clay Ramblers to play in Stockholm in 1977. I commend this wonderful Henry Reed site, then, to all interested readers here. Give yourself plenty of time with it. --Bill Hicks
A HENRY REED REUNION
"The CD has (if I may say so) attractive fold-out cardboard packaging (no jewel case). The package includes my essay describing our relationship to Henry Reed, telling how we came to make this CD together, and talking about some of the tunes. There are some photographs, too.
The CD has 21 tracks and 22 tunes, all from Henry Reed:
"THE PERFORMERS. My mentor Henry Reed (1884-1968) taught me these tunes and many more when I visited his home in Glen Lyn, Virginia, in 1966-67. My recordings of him, along with an accompanying essay, photographs, and musical analysis, are available on the Library of Congress website FIDDLE TUNES OF THE OLD FRONTIER: THE HENRY REED COLLECTION.
"In the 1960s I taught Henry Reed’s tunes to a group of musicians in Durham and Chapel Hill, NC. Some of us became the Hollow Rock String Band, which introduced some great Henry Reed tunes to the world with an album in 1968, just after Henry Reed passed away. Bertram Levy was a member of that band and carried the tunes off to the West Coast in 1968. He is now a doctor in Port Townsend, Washington, where he founded the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in 1977.
"James Reed learned to accompany his dad on guitar when he was a youngster in Glen Lyn, and Henry Reed carefully instructed him about the proper chords. A retired boilermaker, he now lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He and I have been playing together since the 1990s. We gather every Labor Day weekend at Dean Reed’s house in Rich Creek, VA, for a musical reunion with other members of the family. On Labor Day weekend in 2000 I took Bertram with me, and the rest is – well, music."
HOW TO ORDER. You can purchase copies of A HENRY REED REUNION directly from Alan. The cost of the CD is $15, plus $1.50 for postage and handling. Write Alan for the address, and be sure to include yours!
Alan Jabbour and Jim Watson - House Concert
January 25, 2001, Durham, North Carolina
"It was very much vintage Alan Jabbour--each tune (all tunes except for two songs from Jim Watson) annotated with stories of the musician it came from, mostly Henry Reed, but also others, including Stokes County, NC, fiddler John Lewis. Alan's playing gets more subtle with time--small variations within the framework of the original style, great power, and some humor from time to time--he must have found six or seven ways to play a 'high-D' on one tune from Maestro Reed. Jim's backup was, of course, tasteful. At the end, banjoist Joe Newberry arrived and jumped in for a rousing 'Liza Jane.' The room was packed; the smiles were constant. It was a great time."