Friday, January 14, 2011
Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers
Here is an interview with one of the members of Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers. Good reading.
They were a short lived group that did some fine work. All those interested in Ozark Old Timey should know about these folks.
They were more or less from the Searcy Arkansas area. This is on the more eastern side of the state N.E. of Little Rock and on the edge of the Mississippi delta on one side and the ozark foothills on the other. I believe most of them are from the hill side.
Having lived on the border with Arkansas and attending college in Walnut Ridge, I can tell you there is a huge diffence between the two areas. I am not surprised that the musicians come from the hills and only rarely from the flatlands.
Why? I am not sure about that. There were some fiddlers that worked and lived there but left few recordings behind. One of the exceptions to that were The Grinnel Giggers who worked out of the New Madrid County area.
I have read that the Scotch-Irish tended to settle in hill lands like the Ozarks and that this concentrated it's culture there. Maybe so.
I think that the history of the eastern Arkansas flatlands is more interesting than you might imagine. I have read a little bit of it and will be doing more of it soon.
It's good to remember that much of eastern Arkansas was swampy and settled relatively late. As in more towards the turn of the century and later. That probably has as much to do with it as anything. I know this is only marginally related to the music but I want to comment on the sociology of the unique area of the divide between the flat and the hill having lived there.
Anyway, I really like the band. Listen to Jawbone and think of a now current OT band in Arkansas that sounds very similar on occasion. I really like them too. Who do you think I am referring to?
I have become increasingly convinced that Arkansas is a big part of keeping this music alive and well. I think I have said that I intend to spotlight Arkansas more in this blog to show you the life there.
My Mother was conceived in Corning Arkansas which is in NE Arkansas just in the flatlands. Her Mother left there and Mom was born in Northern Illinois.
My children live not far away. I always wondered if my ancestors pulled us back there somehow. I don't live there myself having left long ago. Frankly, I dislike the flatlands of Arkansas. I would never live there. Sorry if you live there and like it.