Travelin’ Along “With My Dog Named Sam”

T and I picked up Erv Howell’s Travelin’ Along “With My Dog Named Sam” in the Autumn of 2008 in a Goodwill somewhere on the road between Huntsville, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee — probably in Fayetteville, Tennessee. We had a plane to catch in Nashville later that day, so we were hurrying to shop as many thrift stores as possible before the flight. We were in and out of this particular Goodwill in about 5 minutes — both of us in power-finger-sort mode. This stop yielded the album being presented here, plus a crazy electroniweirdo album of “sensuously sinthesized” music.

Erv Howell is something of a character, if this album and its cover photo are any indication. He appears to (have) be(en) a trucker who does (or did) music on the side, or vice versa. He’s released at least one other album (see pic below), and a number of singles. He may be the same Erv Howell who was/is living in Lake County, California, performing sporadically in 2006 at Lakeport’s Cafe Victoria. And, one of his songs made it into the Library on Congress on the compilation tape, Turkey’s Greatest Hats. On Travelin’ Along, Erv whoops it up in a Tennessee drawl, peeling off self-penned lyrics like:

Oh the hambone, them good,
And the bacon, them sweet,
And the ‘possum fat, very, very fine.
But give me, oh give me,
Oh how I wish you would,
That watermelon smilin’ on the vine.

from “The Watermelon Song”

Howell’s band, Joel Aderhold on banjo, George English on guitar, Roy Fowler on mandolin, and Tim Talton on bass, are a tight bluegrass unit, adding nicely to Travelin’ Along‘s charm. Check out the songs “Smokey Mountain Drive,” “Tallapoosa Georgia,” and “Talladega Polka” in the audio player below (best using Chrome or Safari). If you like them, feel free to download the entire album (Ky Tenn Records KT-101) here.
[audio,,|titles=Smokey Mountain Drive,Tallapoosa Georgia,Talladega Polka]

This post is humbly dedicated to Margaret, who recently moved out here to the San Francisco Bay Area from Maryville, Tennessee. We hope she gets a kick out of the music.

Mr. Howell’s other album. (This pic was lifted from