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Exploring Old Time Recordings and Artists 


Edden Hammons

West Virginia Fiddler


The Hammons family members are one of the few, sometimes the only, sources of many traditional songs that are popular today. In the early 1970’s an extensive study of the Hammons family music and stories resulted in a boxed LP set produced for the Library Of Congress titled “The Hammons Family: A Study Of a West Virginia Family’s Traditions.” However, this set does not include any recordings of Edden’s fiddling.

Fortunately for us though, folklorist and West Virginia University professor Louis Chappell conducted an ambitious field recording project to document West Virginia's fading musical traditions in 1947. As part of this effort, he captured 52 tunes by a then 72 year old Edden on  ten inch aluminum discs (a 1937 disc recorder). Chappell eventually donated these recordings to the University of West Virginia in 1977. In 1984, 15 of Edden’s tunes were released as a vinyl LP by the West Virginia University Press Sound Archives, titled "The Edden Hammons Collection.”

Some of these tunes included "Washington's March", "Shaking Off the Acorns", and "Fine Times At Our House". These records are now collector’s items, fetching hundreds of dollars. The album was reissued on CD in 1999 as “The Edden Hammons Collection: Volume 1.” A two-disc second volume was released in 2000 in a set called (with no points for creativity) "The Edden Hammons Collection, Volume 2", which contained more songs from the same recording session. This release contains such tunes as "Birdy", "Jake's Got the Bellyache", "Big Hoedown", and my new favorite not suitable for (most) jams title, "Old Black Cat Sh*t in the Shavings".

Forked DeerEdden Hammons
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