Skip to main content

Vinyl Hunter 8: The Edden Hammons Collection

Behold, the latest addition to my old-music on vinyl collection. The Edden Hammons Collection was released in 1984 by the West Virginia University Press Sound Archives. The album was reissued on CD in 1999 as The Edden Hammons Collection: Volume 1. The two-disc second volume was released in 2000.

Hitherto finding this album at a reasonable price through an online dealer, this album was going for upwards of $125 or more on eBay. The outer sleeve has a couple small dings, but the vinyl is pristine and the accompanying booklet with contributions from the late, great Alan Jabbour is in good shape.

One of the big reasons I'm excited to get this album is because a couple years ago I learned Hammons' version of "Washington March" from  Bruce Molsky's Southern Old-Time Fiddle Tour. It's nice to finally have the source recording for that tune.

Edden Hammons died in 1955. He was recorded in 1947 by West Virginia University professor Louis Chappell. Ultimately, the 52 tunes recorded in that session represent the only known recordings of Hammons, who was renowned in his time as a great fiddler. His family was known for being independent, hard-working mountain men. However, Edden had a reputation for not wanting to work, preferring to fiddle instead. His first wife supposedly left him because he wouldn't give up his fiddle to get a job to support her. Regardless, this is a great collection of tunes.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Getting Blitzed with Tom Collins

A little more than a year ago, Salem, Massachusetts-based banjo player and teacher Tom Collins embarked on a yearlong project he called Banjo Blitz. The weekly YouTube series provided short banjo lessons on technique. Each video is about five minutes long, give or take, and presents a short pattern — or “ostinato” — designed to teach and improve a specific aspect of banjo playing.

The mission was to get the audience “to practice clawhammer in discrete chunks every day without the burden of trying to memorize tunes,” Collins says. He wanted to build skills rather than repertoire.

“Let’s take the tune off the table,” says Collins, who has been teaching banjo for 11 years. “Let’s focus on a simple, mantra-like ostinato that can train your body how to execute a technique properly, while training your ears how to hear it properly. Let’s also make it so that you can do this every day without it sucking every spare minute from your life. The big dirty secret about learning how to play an ins…

Clawhammer Picks and You: A Review

Clawhammer picks are a useful tool for increasing volume or to overcome fingernail challenges, such as broken, too short or weak nails. There are all sorts of commercial and homemade solutions available for banjo players, but it can be difficult to decide which options to choose. Thankfully, I've already done some of the work for you.
Just to be clear, I prefer my natural fingernail for frailing. However, there was a time when I experimented with regularly using a pick, and there are instances now where I find that a pick is necessary. Today, I'll take you through the five options I've tried. These are all available online at prices ranging from about $1 to $13.

Reversed/Reshaped Dunlop Pick ($0.75)
This was the most common suggestion before other companies started addressing the gap in the clawhammer pick market. Take a bluegrass pick, flatten it out and wear it backwards. The problem is that it's hard to get the fit right. While Dunlop picks are cheap and readily avai…

Erynn Marshall, Mark Olitsky, Doug Unger: An Old-Time Smorgasbord in Peninsula, Ohio, for Music on the Porches, Sept. 23

Old-time music and banjo fans alike would do well to aim their GPS units toward Peninsula, Ohio, the historic village nestled in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron. This Saturday is Music on the Porches, which features a number of musical acts playing all around town, starting at 11 a.m. 
The showcase event is Saturday night at the G.A.R. Hall, an evening concert that will feature fiddler Erynn Marshall and multi-instrumentalist Carl Jones, the married old-time duo based in Galax, Virginia; followed by Sean Watkins, formerly of the progressive bluegrass band Nickel Creek; and finally headliner Tim O'Brien, who has recorded with everyone from Steve Martin to Dirk Powell, including the excellent "Songs From the Mountain" album with Powell and John Herrmann (one of my all-time favorites). Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with Marshall and Jones set to start at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online via Eventbrite
But wait, that's not all! 
Marshall wi…