Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill string Band | Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill string Band

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Folk: Traditional Folk Folk: String Band Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill string Band

by Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill string Band

Reissue of classic West Coast string band music
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Angeline the Baker
2:23 album only
2. Stony Point
2:28 album only
3. Campbells Are Coming
2:08 album only
4. Old Mother Flanagen
2:31 album only
5. Wearing of the Green
3:41 album only
6. Little Girl Dressed in Blue
3:22 album only
7. Crying Holy
3:45 album only
8. Devilish Mary
2:14 album only
9. Cotton-Eyed Joe
2:12 album only
10. Willow Garden
4:02 album only
11. Little Beggerman
4:24 album only
12. Policeman
3:08 album only
13. Little Rabbit
3:37 album only
14. Leaving Home
3:14 album only
15. Susanah Gal
3:29 album only
16. Highland Pipe Medley
2:17 album only
17. Lonesome Road
3:43 album only
18. Old and Gray
3:42 album only
19. Sweet Sunny South
4:20 album only
20. Kenny's Farm
2:43 album only
21. Katy Nora
3:40 album only
22. It's Nice To Get Up In The Morning
1:32 album only
23. Dinah
2:33 album only
24. Maggie Walker Blues
4:10 album only
25. Golden Slippers
2:47 album only


Album Notes
Kenny Hall and the Sweets Mill String Band were recorded in three long sessions in the spring of 1972. Thirteen of the tunes were released that year by Bay Records (TPH 727). Volume 2 (Bay 103) was released sometime later and was a collection of 14 songs and tunes from that same recording session. This CD contains most of both volumes 1 and 2. The band includes Kenny Hall on mandolin, Jim Ringer on guitar, Ron Tinkler on banjo, Harry Liedstrand on fiddle, and Cary Lung on mandolin. Larry Hanks plays the jew's harp on several tunes.
The Sweets Mill String Band had its musical birth in the Central San Joaquin Valley in and around Fresno, Sweets Mill, Pierce's Park, and the orange groves of Centerville. The music is old-time style in the tradition of the Skillet Lickers, the North Carolina Ramblers, and Valley folks such as Ron Hughy, Otis Pierce, and Kenny Hall.
In the mid 1960s Ron Tinkler and Jim Ringer were teaming up with Kenny Hall for music jobs around the valley. In 1967 Harry Liedstrand and Cary Lung joined the informal music making that was happening in the homes of friends and out at Pierce's Park. By 1969 Kenny, Jim, Ron, and Harry were playing up and down the West Coast at universities and folk festivals as the Sweets Mill String Band. Cary formally joined the band in 1971 to stand in for Kenny when the Sweets Mill String Band gathered together with a host of other west coast musicians to form the Portable Folk Festival. Kenny kept the home fires burning in California while the Portable Folk Festival toured the country, playing at festivals, colleges, pot-lucks, and coffee houses.
As the 1970s and 1980s wore on, the movements of life took everyone in different directions, though we occasionally got together for a party, a reunion concert, or just a visit and some informal tunes. While balancing the challenges of raising families and pursuing careers, everyone continued to play music, be it old-time, country, or Irish.
Kenny recorded several albums including a solo album "Kenny Hall," with Philo Records in 1974; "Kenny Hall and the Long Haul String Band," with Voyager Records in 1980; "The Happy Neighbor Club," with the Fresno Folklore Society in 1988; and "Raise the Roof: Kenny Hall and the Long Haul String Band." Kenny has appeared on albums with the Boys of the Lough, U. Utah Phillips, Jean Ritchie, and others, as well as on anthologies from San Diego and Fox Hollow Folk Festivals, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. 1999 saw the publication of Kenny Hall's Music Book, Old-Time Music for Fiddle and/or Mandolin by Mel Bay Publications. Kenny, with his wife Marta, has made two trips to Ireland, and played many festivals across the U.S. He still lives and plays music in Fresno, California.
Jim Ringer traveled far and wide, singing and writing songs before leaving us on St. Patrick's Day in 1992. He recorded many fine albums, including "Waitin' For the Hard Times to Go" for Folk Legacy, and "Good to Get Home" and "Any Old Wind That Blows" for Philo Records. Now we like to think he's playing music with Hank Williams and Otis Pierce. Virgil Byxbe, who named the Sweets Mill String Band after his Sierra Mt. music gathering, also passed on shortly before Jim in 1992.
Cary Lung moved to Tucson Arizona where he became a toy-master and created an enchanting toy store. Playing with toys, laughing with children, and playing Irish music all while raising two beautiful daughters, Chloe and Haley, have kept Cary young at heart and full of fun.
Ron and Ellen Tinkler are working and teaching in Mendocino County. Together they have raised two new Tinklers, Omie and Jesse, and countless gardens, flowers, and vegetables. Playing music and singing together have kept their home country-cozy and a great meeting ground for old-time country music around Northern California.
Harry Liedstrand is teaching children and playing music in Walnut Creek, California. He and Cindy play music together and have two musical kids; Terrell plays guitar and violin, and Farrin plays violin and dances. When joined by Harry's father Al, three generations fiddle old-time music together at the annual Liedstrand Family Show in the giant redwoods of California's north coast.
It was the love of this old music that sparkled and drew us together some 35 years ago. Now, in this new millennium, it still brings us spinning together for a rare reunion concert or festival. Celebrating the currents of life through rhythm, melody, and harmony have merged us together in wonderful ways, meaningful not only to us, but to others as well. Through playing, listening, dancing, and singing we have enhanced our celebration of joy. Just tapping your foot to the rhythm of an internal melody, or humming that wistful tune you feel emerging can make all the difference. Perhaps it would be fun to write some liner notes that read "We're back! And we're better than ever!" But really, this is just a fresh look at a snapshot from long ago.
The Sweets Mill String Band exists as an entity mostly in spirit...gathering
together occasionally to make a joyful noise...glad you noticed.
H. Liedstrand and R. Tinkler, April, 2001



to write a review

Gregory Ringer

It takes me back to a time long ago... A better time.
I must have been only six or seven years old when dad (Jim) brought the first of the two LPs home. He was so proud, and for good reason. The music presented on this CD is timeless and uplifting... even the "tragic" selections (Wearing of the Green, Willow Garden, Lonesome Road, etc)never fail to bring a smile to my lips, and and Kenny's fondness for Irish Ballads moves me... I cant keep my feet still! Since the original release, the few copies I had found were in poor shape at best. the release of the CD is an inspired move. it further immortalizes the performers and a brand of music teetering on the edge of extinction.

Claudia Bigelow

exactly like Sweet's Mill camp
I attended the folk music camp at Sweet's Mill in the early 1970's, when I was only 16 years old. I have wonderful memories of the music that was played there, I could remember that it went on all night and you could hear it anywhere you camped. The last thing we heard at night as we went to sleep was this beautiful music, and it was also the first thing we heard in the morning as we slowly awoke. it was like heaven on earth. When I listened to this album, I thought " That's it!" - it is exactly what we heard at Sweet's Mill back in the day. There were so many great musicians at the camp, and these guys not the least of them. If you like bluegrass and old time music, go for it.

Charlie Kowallis

Excellent choice of tunes played well. Recorded happiness!
This CD makes me happy every time I play it. The tune selection is great and even non-singers such as myself cannot help but sing along. Musical instruments are played simply but very well. Great lyrics to some tunes often heard as instrumentals are included. I especially like Little Beggerman, Policeman, Devilish Mary, Little Girl Dressed in Blue and Crying Holy being sung on the CD. A great addition to any traditional collection. Thanks for re-releasing this wonderful music.

Bill Graham

I've gone in a circle
Back in the 1970s I found Jim Ringer albums and really loved them.
Early in 2009 a friend introduced me to Kenny Hall albums including the Sweets Mill String Band. I absolutely loved the music, the musicianship and the joy with which they play.
To find this site and realize Jim Ringer was on this, too, has taken me in a beautiful circle. Gave me the chills, and took my memories back to a beautiful time.