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Showing posts from February, 2012

Joe Thompson (1918-2012)

Joe Thompson, 93, the last known black string band musician, died Monday night.

He was born in 1918 in Orange County, in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and moved near Mebane in 1948, where he spent the rest of his life.

Thompson learned to play the fiddle from his father, Walter Thompson, and played square dances with his brother Nate and cousin Odell Thompson for many years.

He received the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007 and the North Carolina Heritage Award in 1991. You can view his performance at the Kennedy Center website from the NEA ceremony in 2007.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops credit Thompson as an inspiration and mentor for their music, and released a live album with the fiddler from a 2008 performance at Merlefest.

The Dust Busters visited with Thompson in 2010 and recorded the meeting for an episode of the Down Home Radio Show (which is where we swiped the photo above).

To learn more about Thompson, you can view his ob…

Old-Time and Bluegrass Sale

County Sales, one of my favorite places to order old-time music, is having a sale on its surplus stock. While supplies last, these extra CDs are $5 each. If you buy seven or more albums, you'll get one of five "collector" items free. How can you lose?

After a quick look at the surplus list, I saw a few items that may catch the interest of Glory-Beaming Banjo readers, such as Bad Dog (with Mark Olitsky on banjo), Bob Carlin, the Chicken Chokers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and that's just what popped out.

There are a bunch of compilations on the list, which at $5 might be worth a gamble to find a gem or two.

The collector items you can get, if you buy seven or more CDs, include albums by Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, and Bill Monroe. Happy shopping ...

Musical Listening Timeline

After finishing my three-part series "Tracing the Banjo Addiction," I decided to compile my musical listening timeline to show all my shifts in taste over my lifetime. These date ranges are as accurate as I can remember and include my favorite artists at the time.

1979 / I Am Born: Disco tops the charts, New Wave emerges, and Bob Seger pleads for that "Old Time Rock and Roll."

1979-1987 / The Early Years: Memories of popular hits like the Police's "I'll Be Watching You" and Hall & Oates' "Private Eyes," going to my first Kent State Folk Festival, and my parents' influence of the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, and the "folksingers" of the 1960s.

1986 / First Album: Bon Jovi, "Slippery When Wet," a Christmas gift from my uncle.

1986-1992 / Hair Bands: Poison, Gun N' Roses, and Aerosmith.

1992-1993 / Blowing in the Wind: A brief period of Bob Dylan worship.

1993-1999 / White Boy Blues: My dad always loved B.B. Kin…