OLD BLUE-707 TED LUNDY & THE SOUTH- ERN MT. BOYS What a gem of a record for fans of “early” Bluegrass! This is tough, mountain style Bluegrass by one of the finest bands of its time—the 1960s. Recorded at a few different sessions by Charlie Faurot, only a few of these wonderful tracks have been on CD before. The 18-track disc features not only the banjo work of Lundy (one of the finest pickers of the time), but some fine fiddling by Sonny Miller, Jerry Lundy, and Joe Edd King, and vocals by Bob Paisley and Fred Hannah (who play guitar and mandolin respectively) (Sad to say, Lundy and most of the musicians here died well before their time). Five or six tracks feature the fine, lyrical fiddle of Sonny Miller—an underrated fiddler who played with Del McCoury, Alex Campbell & Ola Belle and others in the Delaware & eastern Pennsyl-vania area: his treatment of GREY EAGLE (a fiddle- banjo duet with Ted) is super, and his versions of KATY DID, BLACKBERRY BLOSSOM, and SALLY GOODIN show why this band was a perennial winner at the annual Galax Fiddlers’ conventions. WELL RECOMMENDED! DAVE FREEMAN COUNTY SALES
These early recordings (1962-1963) of Ted Lundy and the Southern Mountain Boys offer a rare glimpse into a time when traditional musicians along the Virginia-Carolina border were evolving a new band style that featured long-bow fiddle, three-finger banjo, driving rhythms, and close vocal harmonies. At first these new bands reflected unique contributions of distinct musical communities. However, the appearance of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys on clear channel radio in 1946 changed all of that. Monroe had assembled a band composed of the best musicians he could find, plucked from vastly different musical communities. And the effect of hearing this ‘super band’ is undeniable. Local bands eager to copy the vocal and instrumental prowess of this elite set of musicians changed, geographically distinct styles were lost, and bluegrass was born.
Ted Lundy stood in stark contrast to this trend to conform to a single musical formula. Lundy had inherited the rich musical traditions of the Lundy and Edwards families of Galax, Virginia. His father, Charlie Lundy, played fretless clawhammer banjo and his mother, Rena Edwards Lundy, played guitar and sang the old songs to a growing family of talented young musicians. Ted initially played guitar and mandolin, but when he was 14, he heard local banjo prodigy Raymond Swinney playing three-finger banjo with fiddler Glen Neaves and the dye was cast. Swinney had developed his unique playing style on an isolated farm on the side of Iron Mountain prior to 1940 and was now using three-finger banjo to accompany his brothers and the spectacular Fries fiddler Glen Neaves on the Grayson-Carroll Hoedown, a popular Galax radio show. With the encouragement of his father, Ted sought Swinney out, copied his unique banjo style, and blended it with the new sounds he heard from Monroe’s band on the radio and the old tunes he heard his father play at home. Within a year, Ted’s unique banjo style had emerged. He was now being featured with Glen Neaves and the Grayson County Boys on the Grayson-Carroll Hoedown.
In 1959, Ted formed his own band, the Southern Mountain Boys, which included Sonny Miller on fiddle, Fred Hannah on mandolin, Lew Childers on guitar, and Don Baer on bass. The Southern Mountain Boys immediately had a distinctive sound that resonated with Ted’s musical upbringing and the rich musical traditions of his home. The Galax Sound would become the enduring trademark of Ted’s band. To make ends meet, the Southern Mountain Boys also traveled with Alex Campbell and Ola Belle Reed as the New River Boys. In 1962, Alex and Ola Belle recorded two Starday LPs and, after that session, the New River Boys stayed to record some of their own material. Two of the cuts on this CD are from that Starday session with Sonny Miller on fiddle, vocal trios by Ted Lundy, Fred Hannah, Don Baer, and John Jackson, and dobro by Deacon Brumfield who was a regular member on Alex Campbell’s shows.
By 1964, Ted Lundy and the Southern Mountain Boys had garnered a regular weekend job playing at the Eagles Club in Oxford, Pennsylvania. At one of those weekend shows, Ted met Bob Paisley. Paisley had grown up in a musical family in Ashe County North Carolina and an impromptu session between sets at the Eagles Club proved him to be an exceptional lead singer and rhythm guitarist. The vocal trios took on new life, flowing guitar runs perfectly complemented Ted’s banjo and the fiddling of Sonny Miller, and Paisley soon became a regular member of the Southern Mountain Boys. It was this band that made Ted's first appearance on LPs. County Records LP-705 had four tracks, including Grey Eagle, a quintessential Galax style fiddle-banjo duet.
In 1970, East German country music aficionado Gerd Hadeler heard Ted Lundy’s band at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention as they swept every contest they entered. By then Sonny Miller left the band. He was first replaced by Joe Edd King, a friend of Ted’s from home, and then Jerry Lundy, one of Ted’s cousins who had also relocated to Delaware. Jerry had learned to play from his father, Fiddling Buck Lundy, and his grandfather, the legendary Galax fiddler Emmett Lundy, and his fiddling further cemented the Galax Sound. Gerd arranged 1971 recording sessions which resulted into Ted's band first LP. It is not surprising that two of the fiddle tunes on the LP, Dusty Miller and Ryestraw, had been by Jerry Lundy from his grandfather, Emmett Lundy.