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John Haywood - Upon My Word and Honor - CD

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5 in stock

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1. Cold Icy Mountain
2. Hey John D
3. Jenny Git Around
4. Jack Monroe
5. Little Sparrow
6. Bunkers Hill
7. Red Rocking Chair
8. Snow White Shirt
9. Cumberland Gap
10. Buck Creek Girls
11. Southern Texas
12. Coal Creek March
13. Jay Gould's Daughter
14. Bloom Of Her Youth
15. Rocky Road Up Doubles
16. Tom Cat's Kitten
17. Uncle Henry's Tune
18. Never Get Drunk Anymore
19. Ball N Chain
20. Take Me Back To East Kentucky
21. Coy Morton's Fox Chase

Kentucky mountain music was described by Pete Seeger in 1987; "I have no proof, but I suspect that the Kentucky mountain style (of singing a short verse in a high intense voice, and then playing for 20 or 30 seconds some lightning quick notes on the banjo) is descended from the West African style in some way." The music Seeger described came to east Kentucky from Virginia with the enslaved, mixed-race people (some known as Melungeon), and white musicians whose ancestors socialized with African Americans beginning in east Virginia. Banjo songsters, once common in the Kentucky mountains, are now scarce.

John Haywood is one of the last of the Kentucky mountain banjo songsters. When listening to Haywood's recording, "Upon My Word and Honor," one can hear echoes of West African music through his high, intense singing and his outstanding banjo playing. Haywood's selection of tunes are a tribute to songsters who are no longer with us: the Couch family of Harlan County, Lee Sexton, Dewey Shepherd, Morgan Sexton, Willy Chapman, Gran Hudson, Roscoe Holcomb, Reverend Buell Kazee, WL Gregory and Clyde Davenport, Jack and Henry Bunch, Rufus Crisp, Banjo Hill Cornett, and Coy Morton.

--George Gibson, Knott County, KY
Winter 2023

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