The Complete Recordings of The Red Fox Chasers

Album Reviews, Features — By on October 12, 2009 8:18 pm

Sitting around a camp fire in the woods of North Carolina, Guy Brooks and Paul Miles begin to play. They play songs they learned from their fathers, from hunters, from farmers, from the people of the mountains. The fire crackles and they play real appellation mountain music. It’s been a long day hunting foxes along the blue ridge mountains and the two men drink, smoke, and share their songs. This is the beginning of the Red Fox Chasers. A band that not only played memorable music, but were the embodiment of the mountain men that they sang about. They were, in fact, red fox chasers.

The Red Fox Chasers had a very short, but lasting, life span as a band. They were only together for three short years, between 1928 and 1931 and these two disks document the bands entire history. The music hisses like the fire crackled, and the songs are as authentic as they can be.

In 1928 Miles and Brooks attended the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention. After hearing A.P. Thompson and Bob Cranford, the four decided to form a band and make a record. In the next two years, the band put down the forty two tracks that you hear on these recordings. The banjo, fiddle, guitar and harmonica gracefully play classic tunes like “Arkansas Traveler,” Honeysuckle Time,” and “Turkey in the Straw.”

But The Red Fox Chasers did more then play traditional songs, in fact, they were considered a little reckless for the time that they were playing. They performed skits, which can be found on these recordings, about bootlegging liquor and recorded songs like “Virginia Bootlegger,” and “Makin’ Licker in North Carolina.” These songs caused controversy, and even got Brooks, a Baptist preacher, kicked out of his church.

The Red Fox Chasers were shortly lived, but their music leaves a lasting impression. It not only tells the story of the time, but it is told by the people who lived it. Listening to the album makes you feel the warmth of the fire, and the cold of the night. You can hear the laughter between friends, and the genuine love for the music.

I’m Going Down to North Carolina: The Complete Recordings of the Red Fox Chasers is a documentation of mountain life in the 1930’s. From moonshine to hunting, from traditional ballads new age comedy skits. The Red Fox Chasers are a band that should not be forgotten.

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