Rounder Records has recently re-released a classic album from 1973, Fire On The Mountain by Highwoods String Band. This LP, and the band that recorded it, had a powerful impact on the early ’70s old time scene, helping to transform it from a somber, preservationist mindset to a raucous, joyful celebration of the music.
The group included Walt Koken and Bob Potts on fiddle, Mac Benford on banjo, Doug Dorschugs on guitar and Jenny Cleland on bass. They played old time Appalachian music the way they imagined its early practitioners must have done (as evidenced by recordings from Gid Tanner & The Skillet Lickers and Charlie Poole, among others), which formed quite a contrast with the more scholarly and stately performances that were common at the time.
Highwoods cut this project after a long season on the road in 1972, where they developed their trademark sound and stage persona, and it comes through on the recording. Rounder is now offering this fine album in a limited digital reissue, sold only through online outlets.