"1937 Flood " Celebrates Anniversary

Edited from a Press Release
"1937 Flood " Celebrates Anniversary

Eighteen years ago this weekend at a New Year's Eve party in Ashland, Ky., The Flood for the first time jammed with Doug Chaffin. Now, for a quite a while, DavidJoe and Charles had been looking to add a bass to the ensemble.

Joe, who always said "if you don't have a bass, you don't have a band," was nonetheless skeptical about  prospects. "We're not going to find a bassman who wants to play the weird stuff we're doing these days," he said, referring to the band's eclectic mix of folk, blues and swing.

"1937 Flood " Celebrates Anniversary

And so far he had been correct. (For instance, during the previous summer, Joe had brought around one bass player to the rehearsal. "Don't scare him away, boys," Joe had said. "He's a preacher."

The session initially went well enough, but later in the evening, when they morphed into some of the rowdier jug band tunes, and could tell by the newcomer's expression that he wouldn't be back. Joe just grinned and shook his head; we never saw that bass player again.) Therefore, by the end of the year, as Joe and Charlie headed to the late Nancy McClellan's year-end bash, they  pretty much figured we'd have to remain bass-less.  

However, at the party, The Flood kicked into some of of the swing tunes we'd lately been playing ("Sunny Side of the Street," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Star Dust") and suddenly Doug picked up his bass and jumped in.

"1937 Flood " Celebrates Anniversary

Now, for years, they  had been hearing Doug play beautiful, solid bass behind fiddlers like J.P. Fraley, but  had no idea he was interested in swing stuff too. Listening as Doug's sweet bass lines cleaned up all the ragged edges of what they  played  that night, Joe winked and nodded, and before the night was through, the band begun a none-too-subtle campaign to draw Doug Chaffin into the Family Flood.

Here, from Nancy’s recordings of the evening, Dec. 31, 1999, is the very first tune Doug played with us, a rowdy rendition of “Somebody Stole My Gal.”

By the way, if you enjoy these more-or-less weekly Flood Time Capsule posts and want to do a little binge-browsing, check out our “Five Decades of Floodishness” page on The Flood website:

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