The Dust Busters are Eli
Smith, Walker Shepard, and Craig Judelman. They are young men, but the music they play is 80 to 100 years old,
sometimes more. American old time: fiddle tunes, ballads, breakdowns, rags, blues, early
country, minstrel songs. If you lived in the South in the early part of
the 20th century and played music for your own enjoyment, as a lot
of folks did back then, you probably made music like this.
|The Dust Busters performing at the Raccoon County Music Festival|
Using old 78's, field recordings, and
commercial recordings from a bygone era as their guide, The Dust Busters tackle
these diverse American folk music styles as a string band.
They not only dust off these old tunes and songs, they inhabit them...time-traveling
this music forward with as close to the original style as possible still
intact. As a contemporary band with an ardent focus on tradition, The Dust Busters create an opportunity for today's listeners to discover music that they might not have sought out otherwise.
On their new album Old Man Below,
released on the prestigious Smithsonian Folkways label, the Dust Busters
collaborated with their mentor and elder John Cohen, co-founder of the New Lost
City Ramblers. Back in the 1960's, when
this music was not quite as much of a distant memory, The New Lost City
Ramblers were the original musical archeologists – approaching folk music from
an intellectual standpoint in an attempt to highlight and preserve its
stylistic integrity. The Dust Busters’
own interpretations of this music carries on that legacy.
Man Below was recorded in accordance with modern day standards of
fidelity, but it still has a natural sound:
there is no over-dubbing and no reverb; everything was done live. The 20 tracks come from a number of different
sources, as shown in the track list information below. The Dust Busters manage to honor the various individual
styles of the sources while simultaneously bringing a sense of uniformity to
the album as a whole. All that aside,
it’s just plain fun to listen to! Old Man Below is definitely one of the
most refreshing, and, ironically, original releases to come out this year in
the world of old-time, folk or Americana music.
Track List: The Dust Busters with John Cohen - Old Man Below
Source: John Carson, OKEH 40411 (1925). Vocals-
Instrumental. Source: Various.
Chandler: The End of an Old Song,
Folkways 2418 (1975); Vocals- John Cohen.
Source: Rufus Crisp, unissued library of
congress recording. Vocal Influence: Doug & Jack Wallin, Family Songs and Stories from the North
Carolina Mountains, Smithsonian Folkways 40013 (1995). Vocals: Eli Smith.
Old Man Below
Source: Gaither Carlton on The Doc Watson Family, Smithsonian Folkways 40012 (1990). Vocals-
Instrumental. Source: Theo & Gus Clark,
OKEH 45339 (1929).
He Loved Her So
Source: Georgia Crackers, Okeh unissued, 1929;
Released on Marimac 9110 (1986). Lead vocals- Craig Judelman. Harmony Vocals-
Instrumental. Source: Hobart Smith, “What did
the Buzzard say to the Crow,” In Sacred
Trust, Smithsonian Folkways 40141 (2005); Doc Roberts & Asa Martin,
“Rye Straw,” Gennett 7721 (1930); and WALKER’S VERSION’S OF “Old Hen Cackled.”
Source: Prince Albert Hunt, OREN 45375 (1929);
Jimmie Rodgers. Vocals, Walker Shepard.
Instrumental. Source: The Grinnell Giggers,
VICTOR 23632 (1930).
Instrumental. Source: East Texas Serenaders,
Columbia 15229 (1928).
Lazy Farmer Boy
Source: Buster Carter and Preston Young,
Columbia 15702D (1931). Vocals- John Cohen.
Lost Recording of Banjo Bill Cornett, FRC304 (2002); Dykes Magic Trio,
Brunswick 129 (1927); Clarence Ashley and Doc Watson Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley,
1960-1962, Smithsonian Folkways 40029 (1994). Vocals- Walker Shepard.
Hawes on Lonesome Valley: A collection of American Folk Music, Folkways
2010 (1951). Lead Vocals- Eli Smith. Harmony Vocals- Walker Shepard.
Instrumental. Source: Luke Highnight and His
Ozark Strutters, Vocalion 5339 (1928).
Booker (Old johnny booker wouldn’t do)
Source: Jerry Jordan, Supertone (SEARS) 9407
(1929). Vocals- John Cohen.
Gevedon, Library of Congress field recordings 1556B/1557A (1937), Issued on The music of Kentucky, Vol. 2: Early
American Rural Classics, 1927-37, Yazoo 2014 (1995). Vocals- Craig
Your Time Ain’t Long
Source: Al Hopkins and his Buckle Busters,
Brunkswick 183 (1927). Lead Vocals- Eli Smith. Tenor Vocals- Walker Shepard.
Bass Vocals- Craig Judelman.
Rose of Texas
Source: Da Costa Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters,
Gennett 6143. (1927) Vocals- Walker Shepard.
Instrumental. Source: Fiddlin’ Bob Larkin and
his Music Makers, OKEH 45229 (1928).