Many of the artists are contest winners, but others just have that funky festival sound unique to Topanga.
The tracks were recorded at the actual event at Santa Monica College at Corsair Field. Even though the event is no longer held there, the feeling of the event is the same: good times and good music.
This historic compilation is our gift to the old time music community and to the many musicians who got their start at Topanga.
"In a very real way, Topanga changed my whole life."
- Tom Sauber Just Pickin', Strummin' and Fiddlin'
Exercepts from a review of the 40th Annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest CD by Michele Johnson:
For those who've never had the pleasure of attending the annual contest, born in Topanga and still called Topanga for short, listening to the CD is the next best thing to being staked out on the grass on a perfect Spring day at Paramount Ranch with your cooler of refreshments at hand (legal and not), a floppy straw hat on your head and a smile on your face, listening to the best (and sometimes the worst) of bluegrass.
It includes many of the winners and others who have "that funky festival sound unique to Topanga...." The versatility and variety on display is awesome.
Some old-timers here in Topanga may remember the time in 1961 when Margot Slocum and Peg Benepe decided to hold a "Banjo Pickers and Open Fiddling Contest" as a fund-raiser of Ian Thiermann's "Friendly Acres" home in Topanga.
An amazing 500 attended the first event, so the following year it was moved to the Stewarts' Camp Wildwood, where it remained for eight more years.
In 1969, the spoil-sport County demanded there be more off-street parking and bathrooms, so in 1970 the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest left Topanga forever.
It moved then from Santa Barbara, to UCLA, to Santa Monica College and El Camino College, before finding what seems like a permanent home in 1990 back in the Santa Monica Mountains at Paramount Ranch.
It's a fitting choice, close to its spiritual home, Topanga.
The old wooden Western town built in the park has been home to fantasy pioneers and cowpokes from Mr. Dillon and Miss Kitty to Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
During Topanga, you can jam with musicians playing on every front porch and sample a variety of down-home arts and crafts for sale.
That is, when you're not on the lawn, sampling music and snacks.
But it's a long time between Sundays in the park.
Buy the CD and you can enjoy the flavor of the day hunkered down in your easy chair.
Check out the artist's website:
2. Medley, Handome Molly / Traveling Hobo
3. Follow the Leader
4. Lover Please Come Home
5. Cotton Patch Rag
6. Cluck Old Hen
7. Hamilton County
8. Bachs Eight Invention
9. Medley, Road to Lisdoonvarna
10. Rocky Road to Dublin
11. Applachian Clog Dancing
13. Lardners Reel
14. Monroes [sic] Hornpipe
15. Medley, Temperance Reel / Stoney Point
16. New Old Joe Clark
17. Fire on the Mountain
18. Blackrock Turnpike
19. Midnight Flyer
20. Topanga Waltz