Red Clay Ramblers
Photo Album
page 1 - 1972 to 1974 - in the beginning
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | table of contents
photo by John Rosenthal
In the beginning, it was Jim, Mike, Tommy, and Bill in Tommy's basement.  The autoharp and two guitars hint that the music was Carter Family.  It's 1973 or '74, about the time of Stolen Love.  Tom Ashley Thompson  has a front row seat.

Click on any pic below to see a larger version in a popup window.

[click pic for a whole page of Ivydale 1972]
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[click pic for a whole page of Endangered Species]
 Ivydale 1972 (The earliest of the early)
Bill Hicks and Tommy Thompson play a memorial set for Bobbie Thompson who died the previous winter.  These pictures are video captures from the "Morris Family Old Time Music Festival" by Bob Gates.   Click on the pic for a page of Ivydale photos which also include Fuzzy Mountain's Eric Olson and ordering info for the film.
Endangered Species 1972 (The first RCR gigs)
"Tommy Thompson, Jim Watson, Bill Hicks form the Red Clay Ramblers at the Broadmore Apts., Hiway 15-501, between Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.  First gigs at Endangered Species"...thus begins Bill Hicks' history of the RCR Blurred Time.

[ read Blurred Time | see the Endangered Species Pics ]

 On stage at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill '73 back when they still had day jobs. (larger pic)
The very first "East Coast Tour." New Haven Picking Parlor, Connecticut, Summer of '73 
Chapel Hill, l974
Raleigh News and Observer, April 24, 1974
The little crowd was itching for some music.  The toe tapping and...(click for the rest of the article)
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1972 - Bill Hicks, Dick Zaffron, Jim Watson, and Tommy Thompson (l-r, first picture) play for Bobby Barrett's wedding.   It was this very day that Bobby used the phrase "You were only f**king while I was making love." Bill wrote it into a song, Mike Craver arranged it, and the Cat's Cradle audience literally fell out of their chairs laughting at its debut.  You can hear it on Debby McClatchy's CD with the Red Clay Ramblers or on finer bootlegs everywhere.  (Photos courtesy Bobby Barrett)
From the Everyman Company's production of Shakespeare'sAs You Like It.  Chapel Hill, l974. 
Left to right: Liz Cullington, Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, Susan Smith (sitting), Marcia Wilson, Tommy Thompson, Doug Hill, Jim Watson.  Photographer unknown.
(larger pic)
Lexington Native Mike Craver, second from right, plays guitar, bass, and piano for the Red Clay Ramblers, who will be featured on a UNC-TV bluegrass special "Wild Turkey".  The Durham-Chapel Hill group plays "old time music," especially 30 and 40-year-old tunes like "Tell It to Me" and "I Hope That You Are Payin' for the Way You Left Me Cryin' Here Alone and Blue." (from the Dispatch)
(larger pic)
Red Clay Ramblers play the Bottom Line, 4th Street in the Village - the best venue in NYC for acoustic music in its time  (larger pic) Diamond Studs began here at the Ranch House in Chapel Hill before going on to Broadway in 1974-1975 (larger pic)
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A Fiddler's Convention in 1971
Jesse has more pics of her dad Tommy Thompson on her section of the site.  Go to Jesse's Letters and look at her Photo Album, too.
Tommy Thompson,  July 1968 at Ripley, WV, with his fretless banjo.  The piece of kilt to his right is Frank George.  Photo by Leonard Koenick.
click on the pics for larger versions
Photo by Cece Conway

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May 31, 2010