I’ve been stranded in my basement office pretty much all day working on PowerPoint presentations. Sounds like fun, right? Not! The only good thing is that I get to set my day to whatever theme I choose depending on which record tickles my fancy, and this afternoon my fancy chooses something from my slowly-growing Cornball collection, the awesome ‘Hatfields and the McCoys (The Great Vendetta)‘ by Jimmy Wolford.
Basically, this is a musical narrative of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud that raged between two rural families of the West Virginia–Kentucky area along the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River starting in 1863 and lasting until 1891.
Who said records weren’t fun?
This album was released on the label Wolf Records (catalog number WO 1000) in 1976. If you’re really lucky, the album will have a rare insert of an old newspaper from the time of the feud…such as min does.
Anyway, the facts presented on this album were researched over many years by Wolford and his two co-writers Bob Stanley and Larry Johnson. Together, they set the story to song in it’s entirety. Jimmy originally began his involvement with the Hatfield-McCoy saga many years before his Naval days. Since then, he has enlisted descendants of the feuding families to create something of a musical encyclopedia on the subject. And while millions of words have been written about this epic feud, this album is a first in presenting that story set to music.
That’s pretty fucking cool, right?
As far as the music itself goes, there’s a whole cast of amazing musicians in this ensemble including Charlie McCoy who has backed everyone from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan to Ween for God sakes! Then there’s popular Nashville session musician Bob Moore, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Kenny Malone, Dave Kirby, steel guitar guru Weldon Myrick, Dale Sellers, Western Swing disciple Johnny Gimbel, Bobby Thompson, Grady Martin, Ray Edenton, Jerry Shook, and Lloyd Green. So you’re in pretty good hands there too.
All in all, it’s an excellent, educational and entertaining listen for sure.