Folks who are interested in southeastern folk music may remember Will McLean, the ethnic genius who preceded almost everyone else in the region as a singer-songwriter. I recently came across this photo from 1978, taken at Stephen Foster State Park, in Florida, during a special program for Will:
Everybody was having a good time, and there’s a lot of nostalgia in this picture. Many inspiring folk characters are shown, some of whom are now gone forever: our hero Gamble Rogers is standing near the left of the photo; Will McLean himself is near the center; toward the right, in an elaborate old-fashioned dress is "Cousin Thelma" Boltin, the organizer and driving force for many years behind the Florida Folk Festival; and next to her is Don Grooms, the well-known Gainesville-area performer. These folks are all missed.
But speaking of people who are still around, take a look at the right edge of the photo. You'll notice a young couple with their baby. Murphy is holding Casey, who was just 6 months old, and I'm holding my favorite drink, which was a big mason jar full of fresh iced tea. (As you can see from everyone's appearance, it was a warm day.)
Memories abound from this event. Earlier in the afternoon, Murphy and I had had the pleasure of playing a set of music with the great Chubby Anthony playing fiddle. That was certainly a time to remember! And a little later Jim Fee and Bill Pruitt arrived, and Chubby played a set with his own band. That was some powerful music!
(P.S. --- A special note to Banjo Newsletter and Banjo Hangout fans, some of whom have discussed a certain mystery for years: the Flint Hill Flash is in this picture. No, I'm not going to tell you which one he---or she---is!)