Appalachia Heritage Music

March 13, 1979

Pictures-what’s the best thing about them? They freeze a moment in time forever. The same can be said of videos/recordings-keeping a moment-a memory-a part of somebody’s life for others to look back on with fondness-to discover something they may have forgotten or maybe they never knew.

1979 was the year I turned nine. My world revolved around what me and my younger brother Paul could come up with to entertain us. We liked baseball, exploring the woods, fishing, and listening to our older brother Steve’s music when he wasn’t home.

Recently I found a recording of J. Roy Stalcup-a piece of his history frozen in time for folks like me and you to enjoy some 30 years later.

On March 13, 1979 Lee Knight recorded J. Roy Stalcup in the Martins Creek community of Cherokee County NC. Mr. Stalcup plays a banjo tune and talks a little about the old song-500 Hundred Miles.

For a history buff like me it’s been hard to shake the powerful feeling I got after hearing J. Roy Stalcup. I keep thinking of the scene of J. Roy and Mr. Knight sitting around a cassette player-while just down the road me and Paul were probably sitting around listening to Steve’s tunes with one ear listening for Steve’s car so we could skadaddle before he caught us. It also doesn’t hurt-that 500 Hundred Miles is one of my favorite songs-and J. Roy mentions 2 verses I’ve never heard. The year also stands out to me because I suffered my first great loss of a loved one-when Mamaw died suddenly in August of 1979.




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  • Reply
    June 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    I wish we could freeze time with pictures. In 1979 my husband and I had been married for a year and were starting out our life together.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    June 27, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Tipper: you are forever bringing up great memories,1979 i was 41years young,had a wonderful 12 year old daughter,and a fantastic wife of 17 years and also loved 500 miles .still sing it when i am alone.cant carry a tune in a bucket.k.o.h.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Enjoyed the music! 1979–I was starting nursing school in Little Rock and had just met the sweet guy that would be my husband in another couple of years.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    June 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    wow … 1979… gosh i was in san antonio texas with my husband who was in the airforce… my daughters were only three and two… and you are adorable in that picture… i can see the kind and caring tipper we all know and love . that seems like so long ago… thing is.. we need to cherish each day.. as the people we love slowly fade away.. and the years keep ticking by.
    have a wonderful week
    and big ladybug hugs..
    p.s are the fireflies out your way ? they are sure sparkling in our nights here 🙂

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Loved the picture…pretty in pink!
    In 1979 we were trying to turn this place into a farm…chickens, rabbits and goats…A big garden coming in summer and lots of canning….
    Two boys and a big boy coaching, umpiring and playing ball…
    Those were the good old days…
    Loved the music…I found some of his songs after googling his name…Wish I could play the banjo..but the 4 string I learned to play was the Ukelele…ha
    Thanks Tippe

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    June 26, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I can’t figure it out because I am not from there, but this kind of music makes me homesick for the south. Maybe it is because that is where my family is originally from~who knows but I love it. 1979 I was eleven..and didn’t have a care in the world!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    So clear, I can’t believe how clear that banjo sounds.
    1979 was the end of a life and the beginning of a new one. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….and surely, the hardest of times!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Like Sandra 1979 was the most trying time of my life. But it only took me 3 years to recover.
    Thats the year I started a new
    business, was moving and worked
    the business real hard to insure
    a success for my two daughters.
    (And she’s still a best friend)
    Nice picture of you at 9 years old, now a young woman sharing
    her world of Appalachia with the
    touch of her fingers…Ken

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Nice tune! Back in 1979, I was 21 and a student at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Reply
    Old Rose
    June 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Summer 1979: I was 36, one and a half years into my second marriage to a beautiful woman, and enjoying sailing every weekend. It was a tough life, but someone had to live it!!! ;-D

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    My little girl was 5. I had been married for about 9 years. The Ex-man had a record shop and was going thru male menopause…lots of little teenaged girls hanging around. We split in 1979 for a year. I dated a couple of cute guys…one that I met in Atlanta was a Patterson from Murphy. LOL. The Indigo Girls and Georgia Satellites played at Little 5 Points Pub in Atlanta. I fell in love with a friend..a Tech Boy from Macon. There is a picture someone took of us at Lake Lanier. I was nearly 27, but I looked like I was 16 in that pic and Monty looked pretty swoof too! I love that pic, a kind of Zeitgeist of a long ago southern summer and the fun that we had!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 26, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Atlantic Ocean’s deep and wide,
    I’m plumb on the other side –
    More than 500 miles away from home.
    Eating crumpets with my tea.
    Ain’t no cornbread here for me
    More than 500 miles away from home.
    Miss my mountains, high and blue
    These little mole hills just won’t do
    More than 500 miles away from home.
    Just another day or two –
    Then cheerio and pip-pip, too;
    I won’t be 500 miles away from home.
    When this mountain boy gets home,
    He’s a-gonna stay – no longer roam
    More than 500 miles away from home.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    The summer of 1979 was my last before starting high school. My grandfather on my dad’s side passed away the week before school started. We came to NC for the funeral and I remember (selfishly) thinking I’m glad it didn’t happen later because I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the first days of High School. Had a lot of misguided thoughts back then.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 26, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Tipper–I seem to know someone who resembles that nine-year-old!
    What a great musical find. I have to wonder if J. Roy Stalcup was related to a Rev. Stalcup who lived in Bryson City when I was a boy.
    As for 1979, I have several memories. I became a full, tenured professor that year. Also, the Winthrop University soccer team I coached won the NAIA District 6 championhsip and I garnered district and area coach of the year laurels. Back on the academic side, that was, I believe, the year my second scholarly book appeared. Strangely enough, if you had asked about 1980, I don’t believe I would remember anything.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Bob Dalsemer
    June 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Wow! It’s great to hear Mr. Stalcup play! I never did get to hear him in person but I heard a lot about him after I moved to the area 20 years ago. Interestingly, that tune, sometimes called Reuben or Old Reuben is the first tune Earl Scruggs figured out how to play with three fingers and it was in that same tuning which bluegrass banjo players now refer to as open D tuning.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Oh my in 1979, I think my husband and I just bought our first home. Our children were 11, 10, and 7. Life was good and it was so busy!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    hahaha the player is coming on automatically again! not a problem, but that church bell sure startled all the good folks eating brunch buffet here at the blue mountain grill in peachtree!!:D
    in 1979 i was in los angeles, just starting my first year at otis art institute. i remember 500 miles from the 60’s, too (hi, rooney!:)

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Cute young girl! Yes, I enjoyed the tune; love the banjo! I have one, sitting in the closet because I can’t play it. 🙁 In 1979? well all I can remember right now is that I had three teenage daughters; need I say more?

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Let’s see….1979, I was desperately searching for recordings of folk music. It was so much harder to find then, in pre- CD and internet days. You had to cultivate the right group of friends then borrow beg or steal third-hand taped copies of imported albums. It’s great that some of this stuff is now available on the internet.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    i like the tune and in March of 1979
    my life was crumbling into divorce. i was 35 and headed in a downward spiral that took 10 years to come back from, but i did

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    June 26, 2011 at 9:35 am

    It was good to hear J. Roy again–he played after supper at JCCFS my first year in 1978 and on until he was no longer able. We enjoyed him then too as he was really entertaining, but so sincere also. I also love 500 Miles–I wore out my Peter, Paul and Mary album with it back in the early 1960’s.

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