1972 - 1981

The Musicians
The Music
Photo Album
Blurred Time
(Bill's history of the band)
Diamond Studs
(Their first NY musical)
(Articles, flyers, calendars)
Poster Gallery


Red Clay Ramblers
on stage at the A.P. Carter Store (photo from the Smithsonian)
before and after
Site Map
Fuzzy Mountain String Band
Hollow Rock String Band
Jesse's Letters

Tribute Sites
Bill Hicks
Tommy Thompson
"...the legendary Red Clay Ramblers... the much-loved Triangle area band that set the standard for acoustic fusion, melding bluegrass with jazz and rock long before anyone else had thought of it."...Ogi Overman, ESP Magazine, Greensboro NC They were gods in Johnson City...
The Red Clay Ramblers began in 1972 as a trio of musicians who had been playing in and around Chapel Hill, N.C.  The original lineup included Tommy Thompson, Jim Watson, and Bill Hicks, with Mike Craver joining in 1973.
"Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!...the Red Clay Ramblers are authentic...they play like angels auditioning for Gabriel"...Clive Barnes, NY Times
"their traditional material is refreshingly original, while their original songs manage to keep an old-time flavor" ...Wheatland Festival

 "...a most excellent original Red Clay Ramblers site
 (with) loads of great information"
...Keith Weston -- folk music director, WUNC-FM 91.5 Chapel Hill 

"America's premier whatzit band" ...Audio magazine
"Their music is a living, ongoing, growing continuation and recreation of history, a breathing flesh-and-blood museum." ...Ed Davis, Daily News "One of the most authentic of the string - band revival groups...such talent and authority that for years they have been considered among the best of the modern revivalists of string - band music"...tunes.com "the quintessential roots band" ...Green Man Review
“the finest old time string band now playing anywhere”...Folk Life magazine "The Ramblers really have something for everyone -- they are bawdy, bright, funny and establish instant rapport with their audience." ...Joe Wilson, executive director, National Folk Festival Association "old-timey visionaries" ...Bill Ellis, GoMemphis.com
"The Red Clay Ramblers must have the highest aggregate IQ and the most university degrees of any string band that ever lived" ...Hal Crowther, Oxford American "The Red Clay Ramblers are the most important group formed during the string-band revival that occurred in the 1970s around Durham, in central North Carolina." ...Smithsonian Folkways "A band that might have existed in 1930, but didn't."...Original fiddler Bill Hicks
"The best old-time music show bar none of the folkie revival of the seventies." ...John McLaughlin, "Roots and Wings" WESS Pennsylvania
These pages are a fan's effort to honor the Red Clay Ramblers as they existed from 1972-1981 and to follow the careers of the original musicians after they left RCR. 
"One of the most versatile bands in the business ... consistently high standard of quality"...MusicHound Country: The Essential Album Guide
Contact us
April 30, 2019