Lonesome Dove

Mac Traynham's Tune of the Week

Thanks to old time fiddler Ole Rossel of Copenhagen, Denmark for this take of Carroll County’s Uncle Norman Edmonds and band playing the melody to the old folk song “Lonesome Dove”. Ole has been into playing Appalachian old time fiddle music since the 60s and long ago zeroed in on the more primitive and rustic sounds in his taste for American fiddle music that is truly from the heart and that is old time without a doubt. As for such music from our local area, Uncle Norm’s music fits the bill for me. Developing a taste for the primitive sounds of American fiddlers from an untrained background doesn’t come overnight. Neither does a taste for West Coast style IPA’s.   

Norman Edmonds & The Old Timers Volume 1

This recording was digitized from the reel to reel tapes that Norm’s group called The Old-Timers made to be played on the air at local AM radio Station WHHV back in the 1960s.  This is NOT the same take that is on the collection of tunes on the two CD volumes of these shows as issued by the Field Recorder’s Collective.  

Uncle Norm is the fiddler for sure. Either Rufus Quesenberry or Rufus Burnette played banjo. In my opinion Uncle Norm was so lucky to have been able to play with either of them.  They both played in a solid clawhammer style that helped drive the band’s sound. Norm’s sons John, or Paul, or Cecil Edmonds played guitars. They were adequate for the most part and had the basic elements of rhythm & runs as can still be heard today in the playing of Chester MacMillian. In general and on certain tunes, their chord choices were brilliant, but sometimes they were not. It may have depended on which one or combination there was. Here they did some interesting runs to keep from just boom chucking the whole time.

Lonesome Dove by Norman Edmonds & The Old Timers

Comment from Ole Rossel

Thanks Mac – let me add that Lonesome Dove was recorded in the Hillsville/Galax-area by Alan Lomax in 1959. This and a few more great recordings of the Old Timers may be found at the Cultural Equity website: http://www.culturalequity.org/.

Likewise Lomax’s recordings of Wade Ward, Uncle Charlie Higgins and Dale Poe may be downloaded from this site – not forgetting Hobart Smith and a few recordings by Mainer’s Mountaineers, by the way.

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