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I've been to Hell and back in - I bought a round trip ticket. To Hell, Norway that is. Good little blues festival, but I just couldn't get into the Norwegian band names - Blind Arne Bjornson and the Tundra Gators? - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 99

Author Topic: Estil Ball  (Read 1253 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Estil Ball
« on: February 17, 2010, 06:48:13 PM »
Hi all,
The recent posts in the Lomax Nuggets thread made me dig out the two E.C. Ball albums put out by Rounder in the early '70s and give them a listen for the first time in a long while.  They are titled "E.C. Ball" and "E.C and Orna Ball--Fathers Have a Home Sweet Home".  They are excellent Old-Time albums, featuring E.C.'s very strong finger-picked guitar and banjo (on "Pretty Polly" only), and Orna's accordion and pump organ.  On the second album, Blair Reedy joins them on mandolin and second guitar, as does his sister, Elsie Reedy, on vocals (they were Orna's brother and sister).  There are some stirring gospel quartets on a lot of good songs I've not heard done elsewhere, which is always nice.  E. C. also does several instrumentals and some sentimental numbers and a couple of blues.

E.C. was really a nice guitar player.  In the course of the two albums, he plays songs out of C, D, A, G and E in standard tuning, and he's quite comfortable playing up and down the neck out of a variety of shapes.  In his solo on "When I Kneel And Pray", which he plays out of D, he starts out playing it out of the C shape, 5-5-4-X-3-5, later plays a D6 out of the A shape, X-5-7-7-7-7, and finishes up the solo playing a conventional D chord at the base of the neck.  One of his instrumentals, "Raggin' The Wires" employs a VI-II-V-I progression in A, a key you almost never hear that progression played in, and he handles the various F#7 chords he's required to play with aplomb.  For the instrumental "Chow Time", played in G, he hits a variety of harmonics that fit beautifully.  He had a big rich sound on the Martin dreadnought he played.  He and Orna (whom I mistakenly called Orna Mae in the Lomax thread) were both strong singers, as were the Reedys.  
I'd recommend these records very highly to any of you who enjoy strong mountain fingerstyle guitar, and if you enjoy hymn-singing so much the better.  There's a lot of great material on these discs.
All best,
« Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 10:11:12 PM by Johnm »

Offline RB

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Re: Estil Ball
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 12:19:43 PM »
I've very much enjoyed the Ball recordings since the late 1960's (when I heard three or so of them on the Prestige Lomas 'Southern Journey' LP--which I still own, I'm sure--I was pretty sure that music didn't get any better than that).

I had a nice conversation with their neighbor, Wayne Henderson, in 2000, or 2001, about the Balls.  I think I believed the Martin dreadnought guitar that Mr Ball played was a D-45--as it appeared to have the top pearl in the photographs (on those Rounder albums mentioned) but Henderson told me that it was a modified D-28.  I think he told me that he owned it, which was fitting, I thought.

Offline rjtwangs

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Re: Estil Ball
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2010, 08:43:25 AM »
I'd like to say that I am also a fan of E.C. Ball's. Besides the mentioned albums, there is a recent cd on County Records(CO-CD-2744) called "Rural Parlor Guitar", there are 4 home recordings from E. C. that are well worth hearing.


Offline David Kaatz

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Re: Estil Ball
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 10:51:59 PM »
Thanks for the tips, John, and RJ.  I'll have to look for those.



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