Appalachia Music

The Year I turned 9

Tipper I am From

1979 was the year I turned nine. My world revolved around what Paul and I 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.

Pictures freeze a moment in time forever. The same can be said of videos and recordings. Each of them keep a moment, an actual part of someone’s life for others to look back on with fondness and discover something they may have forgotten or maybe they never knew.

I found a recording of J. Roy Stalcup—one of those pieces of history frozen in time for folks like you and me to enjoy 40 years later.

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

To listen to J. Roy visit this page.

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 him and Lee sitting around a recorder while just down the road Paul and I were probably sitting around listening to Steve’s music with one ear listening for Steve’s arrival so we could skadaddle before he caught us. It also doesn’t hurt that I really like the song and J. Roy mentions two verses I’ve never heard. The year also stands out because I suffered my first great loss of a loved one when Mamaw Wilson died unexpectedly in August of 1979.


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  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 13, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Was J Roy Stalcup a brother of Blaine Stalcup, Sherriff of Cherokee County?

    I’ve been all day trying to figure out why J Roy Stalcup is familiar.

  • Reply
    Wil Ford
    March 13, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Wonderful story, Mrs. Tipper! I also turned 9 in 1979 and lost my great-grandmother, Birdie Thompson, the same year. Granny was a full-blooded Cherokee who always kept a chaw of Showpeg backer in her cheek and the newest Harlequin romance at her side. It was also during these days that I would stay out to the farm with my dad’s parents, Big Paw and Big Maw. Their little black and white tv only got one channel, so we usually listened to the radio. We listened to reruns of As the World Turns. On Friday nights, we listened to the Grand Old Opry coming live from Nashville. I still love the old country songs. As always, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    March 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Tipoer, I am so thankful you preserve all these sights, sounds & emotions from our pasts. What a treasure for all of us who are connected somehow to Appalachia. As a teen, I did not want to listen to that sound & now I love to turn on our local Christian station on Sunday afternoons to listen to bluegrass & gospel singing.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    March 13, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Good story!

  • Reply
    Sallie the apple doll lady
    March 13, 2021 at 9:10 am

    I never heard my grandmother play but I expect her “banjer” music would sound a lot like this. As a teen I remember thinking that her singing as she worked was great for her but I thought she sounded awful! Many years later when I heard the old-style music captured from the people in “The Songcatcher” I wished I could go back in time and listen to her again. It was only then that I learned to appreciate how she sang. Now I am thankful for recordings such as this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    March 13, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Just listened to a couple of those old recordings a plan to go back later and listen to more. They and the antics of the performers remind me of my very early days in the country, listening to the old battery-powered radio and also my mother and Aunt Ruby playing harmonicas, guitar and dulcimers – anything to make music

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 13, 2021 at 8:21 am

    I remember 1963, especially that fall. I turned 10 then. That was the year President Kennedy was killed and the year I got glasses. It was also the year I learned that some Americans had another identity that was in front of being just plain ole American. (I understand that a lot better now, but it was new to me then. I never think of myself as Appalachian American but that is woven throughout my life just the same.) Interesting that for the most part childhood memories have no date. Sigh, that was a very different America.

    Your post reminds me of Tom T. Halls “I Remember the Year That Clayton Delaney Died”. I think I have posted this before but my earliest dated memory is of my step-grandpa dying. i didn’t think of the date then but put them together later. I still have to recheck my memory of the date but I’m pretty sure it was the summer of 1957 when I was about 4 years and 8 months old. I have memories of him before that but without dates.

  • Reply
    Cindy Pressley
    March 13, 2021 at 7:13 am

    That is a treasure, that banjo is so clear and beautiful. Thanks Tip, this little bit of music has made my day!

  • Reply
    Rebecca Freeman
    March 13, 2021 at 6:20 am

    I’ve always been amazed at the way a song or a scent take me instantly, and unexpectedly, back many years to a specific moment in time. Feelings experienced many years before are rekindled. It is truly powerful.

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