More about the tune: June Apple from the playing of Benton Flippen and the Camp Creek Boys

(C) Field Recorders Collective

Back in August we posted our version of the wonderful old-time tune June Apple – here’s a bit more information about its source and why we love it!

We got this one from the playing of the Camp Creek Boys, recorded by Ray Alden in 1970 at the Galax Fidders convention. On this recording Benton Flippen takes the helm on fiddle, with band mates Kyle Creed on banjo, Paul Sutphin on vocals, Ronald Collins on guitar and Verlin Clifton on mandolin.  The recording is available through the Field Recorders Collective entitled Band in Transition – FRC 102. It’s a must have recording charting the band sound of the Camp Creek Boys through the changes of band members and morphing of the band into the Smokey Valley Boys. It includes 6 tracks with Tommy Jarrell joining on banjo recorded at his New Years Eve Party in 1971.

The Camp Creek Boys formed in the 1930’s in Surry County in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Led by banjo player Kyle Creed with Fred Cockerham on fiddle and Paul Sutphin on guitar, the band was also joined by Ernest East on fiddle, Ronald Collins and Roscoe Russell on guitar and Verlin Clifton on mandolin. Even then they were interested in preserving the musical traditions of their home. During the folk revival of the 1960’s the band came into focus again and in the late 60’s invited Benton Flippen to join on fiddle after Fred Cockerham’s departure.

Benton’s playing on this recording is amazing – deeply syncopated, full of slides and slithers and driving along like a freight train! In writing this bit of background about the tune I’ve read that his hands were so large that he would often slide his middle and index fingers around the neck of the fiddle instead of fingering the scale with all fingers as is more common – it certainly explains the fantastic, unique textures in his playing.

All of The Firecrackers are massive fans of the Camp Creek Boys and the fiddlers have been having a lot of fun emulating Benton Flippen’s style, and the spirit of this particular recording.

Photo by kind permission of The Field Recorders Collective


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