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Traditions of a West Virginia Family & Friends
Hammons Family
Traditions of a West Virginia Family & Friends
Genres: Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (22) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Hammons Family
Title: Traditions of a West Virginia Family & Friends
Members Wishing: 5
Total Copies: 0
Label: Rounder Select
Release Date: 2/10/1998
Genres: Folk, Pop
Style: Traditional Folk
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 712136150428

CD Reviews

Ancient & wonderful
John Andrew Deskins | 01/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recording is one of the most valuable historical records of traditional life and music in the Appalachian that has ever been made. Recorded by Alan Jabbour for the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture, this two-cd set documents the music of the Hammons family, a large clan in the Allegheny Plateau of central West Virginia. Featured on the recording are Burl Hammons, Sherman Hammons, Maggie Hammons Parker, and Lee Hammons (who may or may not be kin to the other three).The album is an embarassment of riches. There are over a dozen fiddle tunes, most of which are unique to West Virginia (e.g., "Old Sledge"), some of which are unique to the Hammons family (such as "Big Scioty"). Even those fiddle tunes which are common to the repertoire of other regions are given unique treatment (e.g., "Turkey in the Straw"). A number of tunings are used and all the tunes are played without accompaniment. The playing is impeccable - haunting and lonesome stuff. There are also about nine banjo tunes, including many standards in the old time repertoire of West Virginia banjo players, such as "Walking in the Parlor." Both the banjo and fiddle pieces are almost all from the 19th century or earlier and seem free from any commercial influence whatsoever, even though the family was recorded in the early 1970s. This is traditional music of the region in its rawest (and rarest) form.Also featured is the singing of Maggie Hammons Parker, who adds about a dozen a cappella songs to the set. Maggie sings everything from old ballads (such as "Young Henerly") to camp meeting hymns (e.g., "When This World Comes to an End"). Her voice is pure and natural, without a hint of self-consciousness.Those with historical interests will be enthralled by the tales told between musical selections, such as the origins of the song "Camp Chase," stories of ghosts and deer-riders, and riddles from years gone by. The story-telling style of the family is of almost as much interest as the music.Included with the two cds is a 120-page (!) booklet which includes a history of the Hammons clan and their migrations throughout the region, many photographs of the performers and their musical ancestors (such as the renowned Edden Hammons) and very detailed liner notes to each track.I would highly recommend this recording to fiddlers, banjo players and ballad singers, anyone with an interest in old time music, or anyone interested in the history and culture of the region. These cds are worth far more than the cost."
Martin P McGreal Jr | St. Louis, MO | 10/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I agree fully with everything John Andrew Deskins wrote in his review. It really is a priceless collection. These recordings are as genuine as it gets. There are a multitude of songs native to the region, as well as historical and supernatural tales, riddles... it's amazing. Alan Jabbour, from the Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture, sat down with these wonderful people and recorded everything they offered up. While listening to these recordings, you're sitting in the kitchen with them. You're completely immersed. Any fan of mountain music and/or culture will be glad they bought this."