Uploaded on Jun 12, 2010
Cover photo on the LP shows Sen. Byrd in his office -- which is where he ended up recording this album. See below for more information.
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Senator Robert Byrd (1917-2010) of West Virginia (fiddle and vocals) is accompanied in this 1978 recording by Doyle Lawson (guitar), James Bailey (banjo) and Spider Gilliam (bass). I recorded this track from the LP, "U.S. Senator Robert Byrd - Mountain Fiddler," produced in 1978 by Barry Poss and distributed by County Records (serial number County 769). (Mr. Poss is the 2006 recipient of the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his accomplishments in music as a record executive. He has served on a variety of Boards including the Association for Independent Music, North Carolina Folklife Institute, Blue Ridge Institute, Foxfire Fund, International Bluegrass Music Association and others.) All the program notes on the rear LP jacket cover are included in this video.
Excerpts from a July 1, 2010 article from the Charleston Daily Mail website - http://www.dailymail.com/News/2010063... - about how Sen. Byrd approached the recording of this LP:
Byrd's recordings were originally released in 1978, during his first stint as U.S. Senate majority leader from 1977 to 1981. Barry Poss, the eventual founder of Sugar Hill Records but then a graphic designer at County Records, was chosen to produce the album.
Freeman said Byrd started putting the songs on tape in a northern Virginia recording studio, backed by top bluegrass musicians and Country Gentlemen members Doyle Lawson on guitar, Spider Gilliam on bass and James Bailey on banjo.
Byrd played his fiddle and sang traditional tunes like "Turkey in the Straw," "Rye Whiskey," "There's More Pretty Girls Than One" and "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."
But recording didn't go very well at first, Freeman said.
Intimidated by the professional studio surroundings, Byrd's nerves got to him and his performances suffered, he said.
The session's recording engineer suggested taping the performances in a more comfortable setting, so the entire operation - recording equipment and all - moved to the senator's Capitol Hill offices.
A 1978 Time magazine writeup of Byrd as fiddler can be viewed here:
More information about the genesis of this recording here: