Monday, September 7, 2009

George Pegram Riverside LP

This is surely a pretty un-common LP. The Riverside label (what few records I have saw on this label) usually has pretty interesting stuff on them. From what I can tell, Riverside must have concentrated on old-time and folk type music. I`d like to see a discography of this label just to see what other rarely heard material there is to be found out there.
Now----a little about George Pegram (banjo) and Walter "Red" Parham (harmonica). I know very little about George Pegram other than to say I believe he was a discovery of the great folk & old-time music collector & performer, the great Bascom Lamar Lunsford (of which I`ll be posting some material of in the future). I know next to nothing about Walter "Red"Parham. I believe this LP was likely recorded in the early to mid 60`s, these men may still be living, I don`t know of it if they are though.
So---since I don`t really know anything about these fellows, I`ll just copy a little information off of the LP cover-----"George Pegram of Union Grove, North Carolina, and Walter Parham of Leicester, North Carolina, have been playing and singing together for many years. They appear together, and with other instrumentalists, performing for square dances all over western North Carolina, and are the annual stars of Bascom Lamar Lunsford`s Mountain Folk Music And Dance Festival held each year in Asheville, North Carolina, during the first week of August. When not performing, Pegram and Parham work as farm laborers and odd job men.
These recordings were made at Bascom Lamar Lunsford`s home in South Turkey Creek, Leicester, North Carolina. Pegram and Parham may also be heard on Riverside in Banjo Songs Of The Southern Mountains (RLP 12-610) and Southern Mountain Folk Songs And Ballads (RLP 12-617)."
The cover also says---"George Pegram uses a technique much like the well known "double-thumbing" style. It is a three-finger movement employing single notes; the melody is picked with the thumb and the drone is alternated between the first and second strings, using the index and middle fingers.
As companion to the banjo in this album, Walter "Red" Parham plays the harmonica, a traditional instrument whose music represents a blending of melodic elements from both Negro and white folk songs. In combination with the banjo, it brings to life many of the sounds familiarly heard in the farmyards and on the back porches of the peoples in the Southern Mountains."
So---there you know about all I know about these great old-time musicians. Listen & ENJOY!!

Track listing---
Old Rattler
The Wreck Of The Old 97
Lost John
Georgia Buck
Cackling Hen
Sourwood Mountain
Wildwood Flower
Down In The Valley
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
Roll On Buddy
Old Joe Clark
Downfall Of Paris
Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Listen To The Mocking Bird
Johnson`s Old Grey Mule
Chicken Reel
Turkey In The Straw
Foggy Mountain Top

Click here to download Pickin` And Blowin`


  1. hi allen, thanks so much for this post. here is a link to riverside discography

  2. Thanks for this all I can find is a OOP cd release date of 2002 , is there a release date on the back cover or record label Steve

  3. Just an historical sidenote. Rounder records very first release (Rounder 0001) was a George Pegram LP in 1970. Pegram died in 1974. Love your site. Keep 'um comin'!

  4. Yes, I forgot to mention there is a George Pegram cd on the Rounder label.

  5. thank you very much
    Can you tell me why do tracks number from 16?
    Its disc 2 in a set?
    All the best

  6. Hi cianfulli---the reason the tracks start at 16 is that ALL my postings on here are off of my own records. The cd I had burned this LP onto has other material on it in front of this LP, an Obray Ramsey LP I believe. And yes----I will be posting some Obray Ramsey stuff too!!!

  7. thank you again
    you answer has been faster than light

  8. Thank you so much for this post. Had no idea he even existed. Wonderful.
    Keep up the good work,

  9. George Pegram was born in Guilford County (main town is Greensboro),NC but grew up in Statesville. If I recemember correctly, he died of cancer sometime in the mid-1970s. He was definitely holding forth at Union Grove & Galax in the late 60s (and boy could that man HOLD FORTH!J)-to about 1973 or 4. Before clawhammer became the main accepted old-time banjo style, interesting self-taught fingerpicking banjo styles like his were what you'd hear from many old-timers at fiddlers conventions. search for more of this kind of playing.

  10. Riverside was mainly a jazz label. recorded lots of wonderful jazz.

  11. Red Parham was a tennant farmer for, and a good friend of Mr. Lunsford. He was a gifted guitar player but reached virtuoso levels on the Harmonica.

  12. Legend has it that at his appearances in NC, George would down a fifth of bourbon before he really started to wail, and wail he and Red did! Pegram's banjo style is unique, combining a lot of pinching of first and fifth strings with double-thumbing. But no stylistic analysis can do justice to the pure joy and excitement in Pegram's playing and in the extraordinary musical simpatico between him and Parham.

  13. Hello David, "feeling" in a performance is a great thing. Not all artists can make you "feel" their music, especially through a record. These two could!

  14. Sorry to say, but Red is dead as well. Can't say when or how. I used to drink with his son Steve in an Asheville honky tonk, when Asheville still had Honky Tonks. He also gave me a CD of them performing together that is not this. It sounds like just a live show. Cheers.

    1. Hi Brody,
      do you still have a copy of that live show. I absolutely love Walter "Red"'s harmonica playing and would love to hear more of it.

    2. Hi Brody,
      do you still have a copy of that live show. I absolutely love Walter "Red"'s harmonica playing and would love to hear more of it.

    3. Hi Brody,
      do you still have a copy of that live show. I absolutely love Walter "Red"'s harmonica playing and would love to hear more of it.

  15. My family bought Pickin' and Blowin" in the late 1950's, after I started playing harmonica on my birthday in 1957. I just loved the record and almost wore it out. I had it Texas to copy to tape when our house burned in 1991. I am researching it now, and just saw on another site that it actually was released in 1957! Here is a site of interest: