Updated: Dec 8, 2021
This is not *the* earliest music David made; that happened when he was five years old and learned to play the jaw harp. But this is the earliest recording of David that came my way during the research of this project thanks to Neal Hellman.
Have a listen to David and Alan Freeman sing the fiddle tune, "Whiskey Before Breakfast", one of the tracks on their 1983 album, Hogfiddler's Fancy. (A "hogfiddle" is one of the many terms for a dulcimer.) Both play dulcimers and David adds the jaw harp. This is the first "Whiskey Before Breakfast" I've heard sung.
Mind you, at the time they recorded this album, Alan Freeman was considered the greatest dulcimer player in the country, but David was nipping at his heels. And think on this: they recorded the album in a tiny recording studio in someone's basement in West Virginia. Not bad at all, right? You can read more about the recording of Hogfiddler's Fancy in Pluck.
I find their performance utterly charming: rough-and-tumble in spirit but technically flawless, at least to my untrained ears. The first time I listened to it, it evoked a Saturday night dance in the West Virginia hills a long time ago. If you are a professional musician reading this or even just someone hearing it for the first time, I'd love to read your "take" on what you hear on this track. Courtesy of Neal Hellman and Eric Schnaufer.