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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Pike County Breakdown

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wilford - Posted - 05/09/2022:  14:18:50

Here's a banjo/fiddle tune I played probably 50 years (or more) ago when I was first learning Bluegrass. The banjo was by Earl Scruggs and the fiddle I think was probably Paul Warren (not sure on that one). Anyway, I like playing this tune but just can't play it like I used to.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 05/09/2022:  14:35:50

Awesome playing, Fred!

wilford - Posted - 05/09/2022:  17:48:35


Originally posted by groundhogpeggy

Awesome playing, Fred!

Thank You, Peggy. Glad you listened and like it. I finally figured out how to get rid of "layers" that I didn't even know were recording as I would keep trying different breaks. I really doubt that I will ever become proficient at this digital multi-track recording stuff. lol

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 05/09/2022:  18:44:49

Really? I don't even know what layers Glad you got 'em under control though. The recording sounds great.

DougD - Posted - 05/10/2022:  19:14:54

Nice job, Fred (although I don't know why you didn't post it in the "Sound Off" forum). Not such an easy tune to play, and not so easy to try to be a one man band either.
For the record, I think Benny Sims played fiddle on the original recording of this number, as he had on "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" too.

TuneWeaver - Posted - 05/11/2022:  07:26:46

That fiddler, if it IS  Paul Warren, is in the Bluegrass Hall of Fame!!!

Edited by - TuneWeaver on 05/11/2022 07:27:26

wilford - Posted - 05/11/2022:  07:45:18

Thanks, Doug. I'm having a bit of trouble with loading MP3 files in Sound off forum and since I had made a video, it was easier to post a MP4 for me. (somehow, not sure why. :) I'll keep working on it though, because I'm sure I've done it before.

Lee, Paul Warren is one of my absolute favorite fiddlers. :) (Not to take anything away from Benny Sims, 'cause he was fantastic, too.)

Edited by - wilford on 05/11/2022 07:49:25

NCnotes - Posted - 05/11/2022:  07:50:11

Amazing....both banjo and fiddle!!

wilford - Posted - 05/11/2022:  08:01:15


Originally posted by NCnotes

Amazing....both banjo and fiddle!!

Thank You, NCnotes. Glad you listened and liked. :)

DougD - Posted - 05/11/2022:  09:03:03

Lee, the fiddler is NOT Paul Warren. "Pike County Breakdown" was recorded for Mercury Oct 20, 1950 at a radio station in Tampa, FL. The session had been scheduled for somewhere else, but there were hurricane warnings there, so the producer, I think Murray Nash, moved the session to Tampa - which is where the hurricane actually hit, as it turned out!
When I first moved to this area in 1978 I knew three college girls who were taking fiddle lessons from Benny Sims at a music store in Johnson City. He published two instruction books that you can still find online. I met him once at ETSU. I think this was long before you were in this area, Fred.
BTW, I just learned that Bill Monroe also recorded this tune - once in the early 50's with Charlie Cline on fiddle and Sonny Osborne, banjo (with Jimmy Martin playing guitar) and again in the 60's with Kenny Baker and Bill Keith.

Edited by - DougD on 05/11/2022 09:07:29

DougD - Posted - 05/11/2022:  09:23:37

Not to detract from your recording, Fred, but here's a video I'd forgotten about with Bill and Kenny playing the tune with Blake Williams on banjo.
I think this tune might be almost unique in the Scruggs style repertoire for its use of the thumb - first finger passages, almost like a flatpick. I think that's the way Wayne Henderson plays fiddle tunes on the guitar too.

DougD - Posted - 05/11/2022:  09:46:27

I may have garbled that hurricane story over time. Flatt and Scruggs were working at WDAE in Tampa when that recording was made, so that would have been a logical place to record. There was a hurricane warning, and I think they consdered moving the session but decided to stay put. As it turned out the hurricane hit wherever they'd thought of moving to, and missed them. In any case there was a lot of electricity in the air that day!

TuneWeaver - Posted - 05/11/2022:  12:02:00

Doug, you seem to be a Master at research... that is a good thing.

pete_fiddle - Posted - 05/11/2022:  12:22:45

He He... Great playing, seems to me to have a certain "Vintage" quality to it...Nice  yesyes

wilford - Posted - 05/11/2022:  17:09:41

Thanks, Pete. :)

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