Tag Archives: Joseph Sargent Hall

Rediscovering the Roots of Bluegrass: Historically Significant Recordings from the Great Smoky Mountains Released

According to Olson, the recordings he discovered, made in Haywood County, NC, by folklorist and linguist Joseph S. Hall in the 1950s, represent “the missing link between old-time string music and bluegrass, two music genres . . . whose connections are not widely understood.”These historically significant recordings, featuring music performances by the late five-string banjo master Carroll Best and some of his friends, document that Best was a pioneer of the melodic, three-finger banjo style.

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Used today by numerous banjo players, including Bill Keith, Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka, the melodic style allows the banjo player to play more melody notes than the more widely known “Scruggs-style” bluegrass banjo. A new CD, “Carroll Best and The White Oak String Band: Old-Time Bluegrass from the Great Smoky Mountains, 1956 and 1959,” is a collection of informal jam sessions that occurred during Hall’s postwar forays into the Smokies.

In 1956, Hall recorded such local musicians as Best, destined to become one of the most significant banjo players of his generation, along with his wife, Louise Best, S.T. Swanger and Don Brooks, while in 1959, he recorded Best, Raymond Setzer, Billy Kirkpatrick and French Kirkpatrick.

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When my stories are true, why, I don’t yodel to the end of the story

“I’ve been a guide now for quite a few years, and I was borned and rared in the Great Smoky Mountains, at the foot of Mount Leconte, and when I was a boy, I didn’t do anything but hunt. One day I went out to, to shoot some turkey, and just as soon as I […]

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Letting the mountain people tell their own stories

Please welcome guest writer Arthur McDade. McDade recently retired from Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a park ranger. He is the author of ‘Old Smoky Mountain Days’ and ‘The Natural Arches of the Big South Fork,’ and a contributor to ‘The Encyclopedia of Appalachia.’ He’s also written many magazine articles about the cultural and […]

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