Bull at the Wagon, the third CD from the Buck Mountain Band, again features a lively variety of old-time songs and favorite traditional fiddle tunes. Debuting on this CD, Harrol Blevins contributes powerful guitar work, as well as lovely singing. The CD includes a beautiful rendition of “Sweet Marie,” with lyrics composed by the late Larry McPeak, a member of the band from 2006 to 2013 and featured on the two earlier CDs. Special guest Sam Gleaves, who sings "Sweet Marie," has performed throughout the United States and internationally in Ireland and Japan with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble. He has recorded four albums, most recently an album of his own original songs.
The band's earlier CDs received excellent reviews from the Old-Time Herald ("They have done their forebears proud"), Bluegrass Unlimited ("A treasure trove and entertaining from start to finish"), and Rambles.net ("The music is lively, fresh-sounding, beautifully played and imaginatively constructed, with strong, well-chosen material”).
Ain’t Gonna Rain No More probably dates back at least to the minstrel shows of the 19th century. Wendell Hall, accompanying himself on ukelele, recorded it in 1923, claiming it as his own composition, and selling several million copies. Over the years, many verses were added to the song; Amy sings the verses she likes best.
Boatman, written by Dan Emmet and published in 1843, was another minstrel show favorite.
Sweet Marie, a popular melody from the 1890s, has lyrics that don’t quite match up to the melody the way Bob learned it from Benton Flippen. Larry McPeak wrote the words that Sam Gleaves sings so beautifully here.
Banjo Tramp has been traced back to the fiddling of Ed Haley.
Milwaukee Blues comes from Charlie Poole, of course.
Fat Meat and Dumplings is a Missouri tune that Bob learned from the fiddling of Vesta Johnson.
The Evening Star Waltz that we play comes from the Shelor Family of Southwest Virginia. The version recorded by DaCosta Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters bears no resemblance to it, though pretty in its own way.
Bull at the Wagon is a Texas tune recorded by the Lewis Brothers in 1929.
Shady Grove is an old English ballad. Harrol learned it from the singing of Doc Watson.
The version of Hangman’s Reel commonly played in Southwest Virginia derives from Albert Hash’s playing. Bob first heard it played, in dazzling fashion, by Brian Grim and the Konnarock Kritters.
Beware, Take Care was recorded by Blind Alfred Reed in 1931. Amy was inspired to learn it from the singing of Elizabeth LaPrelle.
Peacock Rag is a Fiddling Arthur Smith tune.
Westphalia Waltz, a beautiful tune often attributed to Texas fiddling, is derived from an old Polish melody.
Golden Slippers, a minstrel tune written by the African-American composer James A. Bland in 1879, was composed as a parody of a popular spiritual. The tune soon became more popular than the subject of its parody, but the lyrics, sung here by Amy Boucher, are seldom heard.
Waiting for the Boatman comes from Melvin Wine, who based it on a hymn that his mother used to sing.
Miss Emily’s Waltz was composed by Larry McPeak as a tribute to his granddaughter. Dan plays Larry’s old Gibson LG guitar on this tune.
Train 45, or Reuben’s Train, is commonly played by both old-time and bluegrass bands.