The Cumberland Trail on WDVX: Blast from the Past with New River Boys, Mac & Bob, John Sharp, Sr., and More…

Last night we revisited a classic Cumberland Trail program from June 30th of 2003. Park Manager Bobby Fulcher introduced us to the New River Boys, Bob & Mac (McFarland and Gardner), John Sharp, Sr.,  and Earl T.

We started off with 3 selections from the “Hardcore” New River Boys. A CD given to Bobby by Ranger Leslie (then at Norris Dam State Park). Here’s a nice slideshow video showing pictures of the New River Boys, set to their 1963 version of “New River Girl”:

Next we heard two cuts from McFarland and Gardner, also known as Mac & Bob. They met while students at the Kentucky School for the Blind (below).

McFarland and Gardner met at the Kentucky School for the Blind, where they were both students.
McFarland and Gardner met at the Kentucky School for the Blind, where they were both students.

Woman Suffrage (video below) is the B-side from Tennessee Jailbird (Brunswick 316, 1929). They were East Tennesseans, both buried in Oliver Springs, up the road from us, along the original route the Cumberland Trail was planned to make: 

John Sharp, Sr. is no stranger to our program or listeners. We’ve covered him extensively, but this program in 2003 was the world premier of the recordings now available on Sharp’s Hornpipe, Vol 1. The recordings played in this program came from a home recording session in 1964.  Sharp’s daughter Evelene had preserved that recording session and played it for Bobby to record in 1977 for the Library of Congress.

Evelene Sharp (Left), John Sharp, Sr. (middle) and family friend Red Morris (right).
Evelene Sharp (Left), John Sharp, Sr. (middle) and family friend Red Morris (right).

Finally, we heard a laid-back version of Summertime by Papa T, one of our great East Tennessee bluesmen and father to notable blues singer Earl Thomas (Bridgeman).  The cd this comes from, 516 Rockford Road, is highly recommended and available at CDBaby.com.

The show will be available online until July 16th via the WDVX archives.  Selections broadcast included:

  1. New River Boys – I’m as Blue As I Could Be
  2. New River Boys – Lonesome River
  3. New River Boys – My New River Girl
  4. McFarland & Gardner – Tennessee Jailbird
  5. McFarland & Gardner – Good Lord Takin’ Care of Poor Folks
  6. John Sharp, Sr. – Wagner
  7. John Sharp, Sr. – Shortnin’ Bread
  8. John Sharp, Sr. – Leather Britches
  9. Papa T – Summertime

The Cumberland Trail on WDVX is a weekly program of music connected to the Cumberland Trail and the Cumberland Plateau. It airs Sunday evenings at 8:30pm. WDVX broadcasts on 89.9 FM in Clinton, 102.9 FM in Knoxville and 93.9 FM Seymour/Kodak. You can also listen live online at WDVX.com.

For questions, comments, corrections, requests & complaints about the Cumberland Trail on WDVX, contact Marcianne.ODay@tn.gov.

 

 

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