Welcome to Spring Fed Records
THE INDIAN CREEK DELTA BOYS
GARRY HARRISON … Fiddle
LYNN ‘CHIRPS’ SMITH … Mandolin
DAVE MILLER … Banjo
DAN BAIRD … Guitar & Mandolin
1 Pappy’s Hornpipe (1) 2:10
2 Rush And The Pepper (1) 2:06
3 Devil In The Hay Stack (1) 2:28
4 Widow’s Jig (1) 2:39
5 Golden Grip (1) 2:11
6 Bonaparte’s March (1) 2:09
7 Wolf Creek (1) 2:14
8 Forty Miles From Georgetown Without Any Whiskey (1) 2:11
9 Jump In The Well, Pretty Little Miss (2) 2:08
10 Mouth Of Dry Run (3) 1:29
11Run Down Boot (1) 1:52
12 Bell Cow (4) 1:53
13 Going To London (1) 2:14
14 Old Mother Flannigan (1) 2:02
15 Tombigbee River (5) 2:18
16 Brisk Young Soldier (1) 1:52
17 Stella’s Jig (3) 1:56
(1) Garry Harrison (fiddle), Dan Baird (guitar), Lynn Smith (mandolin), Dave Miller (banjo). (2) Same as 1, except Dan Baird (mandolin). (3) Garry Harrison (fiddle). (4) Garry Harrison (fiddle), Dan Baird (guitar). (5) Same as 1 except no banjo.
THE TUNES ON THIS ALBUM
The tunes on this album are but a few of those which we have learned from senior old-time fiddlers in southern and central Illinois. Of the several sources for the tunes listed below, the youngest fiddler is 72 years old. This record is our way of saying thanks to those who have shared their music with us and of paying tribute to their generosity and talent which has allowed the salvaging of many significant tunes, songs, and ballads from probable extinction. It is such a rare honor to hear the old tunes being played just as they were learned by fiddlers who themselves may personally recall the turning of the century.
Our objective on this record has been to preserve the historical integrity of the tunes we have recorded on tape from our various sources. We have attempted to present these tunes with as little modification of structure, timing, and melody as possible. Though we are a young group, our teachers have been of respectable vintage; and who would care to question the authenticity of a 90 year old fiddler?
It is with this sincere respect for the traditional fiddling we have personally witnessed on such repeated occasion that we would encourage other musicians to uphold the tradition and spirit of old-time music. Too often we have seen it spoiled by “hot licks,” theatrics, and the insertion of “contest tricks.” Though we would not contest the value of show tunes and “hyped” string band music in its proper context, we would also maintain that the traditional forms are equally deserving of separate billing, and respectful segregation.
To those who share our conviction that the tunes, ballads, and songs of our American heritage represent one of the most enjoyable and satisfying forms of music, we say the time is now for searching your own neck of the woods. You may be surprised at what you’ll find. After all who would have guessed Illinois to be such a rich hiding place for centuries old, and heretofore unrecorded, songs and tunes.
Our special thanks goes out to Beef Easter for his encouragement, inspiration, and without those untiring guidance this album would have undoubtedly been accomplished anyway.
PAPPY’S HORNPIPE; (Key of A): Harvey “Pappy” Taylor of Effingham. This is one of our favorite tunes. Dave picks the second part of the banjo, rather than frailing. (Fiddle: AEAE)
RUSH AND THE PEPPER; (Key of D): Jesse James Abbott of rural Toledo said that he learned this hornpipe as a young boy in Missouri. J.J. turned 82 in the Fall of 1975.
DEVIL IN THE HAY STACK; (Key of A): Pappy Taylor. This is one of the tunes which Pappy says was played “way back before the Civil War.” (Banjo: a-EADE)
WIDOW’S JIG; (Key of D); J.J. Abbott. Jigs and hornpipes that have kept their original rhythms are fairly rare in southern Illinois. J.J. really had to search his memory for the title of this one.
GOLDEN GRIP; (Key of G): Pappy Taylor. We’ve heard this tune as Temperance Reel, and as Johnny’s Favorite on a 1938 recording of Irish Music.
BONAPARTE’S MARCH; (Key of A): Pappy Taylor. Notice how the first part sounds sort of minor, while the second part sounds major. We were told that the structure is probably Scottish. (Banjo: a-EADE)
WOLFE CREEK; (Key of G): Pappy Taylor. Pappy said his grandfather, who was born in England around 1815, played this tune. Pappy plays a similar tune called Four-and-Twenty Blackbirds Dancing on a Fawn Skin. (Banjo: f# - DGBD)
FORTY MILES FROM GEORGETOWN WITHOUT ANY WHISKEY; (Key of C): Benny Woods of Ingraham. Benny, who at age ninety and minus two finger of his left hand, still fiddles regularly at local gatherings. He learned this “old square dance tune” from his father. The Georgetown referred to in the title is not the town now know as Georgetown, but some time there after discovered that there was already a Georgetown, Illinois. They had to rename the town, and decided on Bible Grove.
JUMP IN THE WELL, PRETTY LITTLE MISS; (Key of A): Noah Beavers. This tune would seem to be one of the older ones we have encountered. Dan plays the second mandolin on this one. (Banjo: a-EADE)
MOUTH OF DRY RUN; (Key of G): Noah Beavers. Noah learned this tune from a harmonica player, as best he can recall. He didn’t have a name for it, so we supplied this one in honor of the best sponge mushroom woods in our area, near the mouth of Dry Run Creek. (Fiddle: GDAD)
RUN DOWN BOOT; (Key of D): Pete Priest of Mattoon. Pete, who was born in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, learned this tune from his father.
BELL COW; (Key of A): Pappy Taylor. We have yet to encounter anyone besides Pappy who plays this unusual tune.
GOING TO LONDON: (Key of G): Noah Beavers. Though Noah plays a completely different tune he calls Cotton-Eyed Joe, the tune given here appears to be more widely known by that title. In fact, the verse and title appear to be the only difference. This version, however, is quite different from the Cotton-Eyed Joe played by Southeastern groups like the Skillet Lickers.
OLD MOTHER FLANNIGAN; (Key of A): Pappy Taylor. This is yet another version of this widespread tune. We have heard other fiddlers call it “The Route” or “Jenny on the Railroad.”
TOMBIGBEE RIVER; (Key of G): Benny Woods. Benny says that an old girlfriend of his used to sing this “old-fashioned waltz.” Unfortunately, Benny could not recall any of the vocal lines.
BRISK YOUNG SOLDIER; (Key of D): Pappy Taylor. This is a unique member of the Soldier’s Joy family of tunes.
STELLA’S JIG; (Key of A): Stella Elam of Brownstown. Stella learned this nameless jig from her Uncle Jack. Jigs in A are particularly unusual in southern Illinois. Mrs. Elam plays it in the standard GDAE fiddle tuning, but Garry found it easier to play in the AEAE tuning. It is our hope that this fine old tune will escape its previous obscurity and that the title we have given it will be accepted with appreciation for Mrs. Elam’s willingness to share her music with us.
THE INDIAN CREEK DELTA BOYS
Indian Creek joins the Embarras (Am-Braw) River about five miles south of Charleston, Illinois. It is here that the Harrisons have maintained a secluded campsite for better than 15 years. Most of us learned how to swim, row a boat, work trot lines, and make music here, and are occasionally heard to mumble something about making a permanent retreat to the Delta for the life of a river rat.
Fiddler Garry Harrison was born into a musical family. His father, several great uncles, one grandfather, and at least one great-grandfather were old-time fiddlers. His mother played guitar and sang, and there were several banjo pickers in the family as well. Garry was born August 16, 1954 in Charleston, Illinois, where he now lives and works as a carpenter. His twin brother, Terry, accompanies on guitar on one cut and is also a fine fiddler and banjo player. An older brother, Steve, claims to have taught them all they know about music, and everything.
David Miller, the banjo player, was born in Macedonia, February 23, 1936. He learned his first music (in the days before paved road and electricity) at church pie suppers, and house parties. He is a school teacher.
Lynn “Chirps” Smith plays mandolin. He was born October 11, 1952 in Pekin, Illinois, and has recently graduated from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston with a degree in Botany.
Guitar player Dan Baird was born February 27, 1954 in Oneonta, New York. After moving several times, the Bairds settled in Charleston, where they have resided since Dan was six years old. Dan presently works as a fabricator at the Trailmobile plant in Charleston.
On occasion one may find the Indian Creek Delta Boys at Chink and Kate’s Tavern in Charleston. During the “Chink’s sessions” the Delta Boys have been known to snowball into a small orchestra. Some of the musicians who participate on these and numerous other occasions include Fiddlin’ John Bishop, harmonica players A.C. Chano and Chris Grigoroff, guitarists Marc Grigoroff, Mike Goodrich, “Doc” Holliday, Dave Harper, Dave Mott, and Teaude Veach, and banjo players John Conrath and Jim Battenburg.
For the past three years, I’ve had the pleasure of announcing the winners in several categories at the Mid-Tennessee (1974 & 1975) and Tennessee State Fiddlers Championships. The competition in the old-time string band and old-time banjo categories has been unusually fierce and musically excellent drawing individual musicians and groups from a number of surrounding states. Just to survivie the eliminations and “make” the finals is an honor. The Indian Creek Delta Boys attended the convention for the first time in 1975, and placed 4th in the Old-Time String Band category! I was pleased to make that announcement. They were back for more competition in 1976. This time I announced that they had won 2nd place! And that their banjo player, Dave Miller, was the 1976 Tennessee State Old-Time Banjo Champion! Yes, they are indeed excellent musicians.
During the two days that I spent in Charleston, Illinois for the recording of this album, I found all of the Delta Boys all multi-talented with a wide range of interests. Without fail, I also found each member of the group quite sensitive too, and with a genuine feeling for, old-time music. This is reflected in the playing and discussing of the music, and even in the name of the group! Unlike many contemporary old-time bands who have chosen a name for their group because it sounds catchy, The Indian Creek Delta Boys chose their name to represent something that had a special meaning for them - - - the delta area of Indian Creek that is just outside of Charleston, Illinois. It was here that Dave Miller and I located Garry Harrison just prior to the recording session. Like many other summer days, Garry had spent the night camping at the delta, and was in the process of landing some really nice looking lunker catfish. After discussing the fine points of fishing for a while, the talk turned to the music that was going to be played that day, and this led into a discussion of the main project that the Delta Boys are involved in, preserving and documenting the old-time music heritage and traditions of Illinois. A most admirable project as this area has been virtually overlooked! Despite the seriousness and intenseness of the discussion, there was always time for a light-hearted comment. Yes, there is a real serious interest in old-time music, but this interest isn’t so overpowering that it totally dominates. A recording session is a long, drawn-out affair that usually leaves one with the “thank goodness that’s through” feeling. Not so with the Indian Creek Delta Boys session! Good music in a relaxed atmosphere (which I hope you’ll be able to be part of by listening to this album) plus good conversation can go on forever. I found myself wishing it was still going on when I was back in my car headed toward Clarksville and home. The only regret that we had at the session was that Dan Baird’s brother, Wendell, who had been injured by a fork lift couldn’t attend. But, the music is here for all to enjoy.
DAVIS UNLIMITED RECORDS
PRODUCED BY: The Indian Creek Delta Boys & Steve Davis RECORDED: June 7, 1976 in Charleston, Illinois TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: Bill & Ellyn Trigg (Kim-Pat Enterprises); P.O. Box 654; Fayetteville, Tn. 37334-COVER PHOTOS BY: Robert Themer, Charleston, Illinois 61920.
The fine instrument played by Dave Miller is a GOOSE NEST PRAIRIE Banjo. It is the same instrument Dave used to win the title of Tennessee State Old-Time Banjo Championship in Clarksville, (April, 1976). The banjo was handmade by Thomas Phipps, a local craftsman whose instruments can all but speak for themselves. If you like what you see and hear, then all the Indian Creek Delta boys would definitely suggest that you drop Thom a line (and a dollar) for his catalog. In addition to building open-back and bluegrass banjos, Thom will put a tenor, plectrum, fretless, or left-handed neck on one of his extraordinary pots at no extra cost. His address is: THOMAS PHIPPS/GOOSE NEST PRAIRIE BANJOS; R.R. 1; Lerna, Illinois 62440.