Cluck Old Hen: Celebrating 150 Years of the Rhode


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Its a birthday party . . . for a chicken! And these old-timey songs performed by Bob Webb, Craig Edwards and Helen Richmond Webb celebrate them: chickens real, chickens metaphorical, chickens symbolic, even an inferred chicken. Theyve all gathered to wish the Rhode Island Red a happy 150th! The Rhode Island Red breed began in Little Compton, a seaward-turned village on the eastern shore of the Sakonnet River between Newport, Rhode Island and New Bedford, Massachusetts: a portion of the sales of this CD supports the Little Compton Historical Society, incorporated in 1937 to preserve landmarks and identify historical sites in the town. The song list of Cluck Old Hen include old-time fiddle & banjo favorites like Cacklin Hen, Crow Black Chicken and Soldiers Joy, as well as country-roots songs first made famous by regional 78rpm phonograph records in the 1920s: Mornin Blues, Ragtime Joe (C-H-I-C-K-E-N), and Who Broke The Lock (on the Henhouse Door)? Theres also a fretless banjo solo by Bob Webb and an unique rendition of Charlie Pattons Banty Rooster Blues by Craig Edwards, accompanied on bottleneck-guitar and five-string banjo. And of course, the title track, Cluck Old Hen, set in the old mountain-modal style. Bob Webb picked up the banjo-a fretless banjer at that-in 1963. Later he owned The Heritage, a folk-music club in California; toured with Tom Waits; and played banjo with his True & Trembling String Band. In 1984 he developed the first museum exhibition about the banjo: the accompanying publication, Ring the Banjar!: The Banjo in America from Folklore to Factory is still in print (Centerstream Press, 1996). His sea-music CD, Bank Trollers is also available at CD Baby. Craig Edwards childhood memories include the fiddling at square dances where his father was caller, walking in civil rights marches in the South, and the gospel music in Black churches. He began to sing folk songs at age 11 and has played everything from Southern rock to bluegrass on fiddle, banjo and button-accordion. He performs solo and with Wild Goose Nation, the Zydecats, Grand Bois (a Cajun band) and Forebitter. Helen Richmond Webb is a freelance graphic designer and former museum educator. Her family arrived in Sakonnet (Little Compton) a century and a half before Tripps red cockerel. She has accompanied Bob and other musicians as a guitarist and vocalist for two decades.


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