About The 1937 Flood

Dozens of musicians have been members of The 1937 Flood over the years since it stumbled into existence nearly a half century ago.

“The Flood doesn't rest on its laurels as West Virginia's most eclectic string band,” writer Dave Lavender once noted when he was still writing for The Huntington Herald-Dispatch. “Born in the 1970s when Dave Peyton and Rog Samples began picking with Charlie Bowen, the whole thing kicked into a higher gear when Dave and Charlie met Joe Dobbs in the spring of 1975. Since then, The Flood has played gigs with everyone from the Huntington Symphony Orchestra to Marshall University tailgate parties.”

The repertoire of the band -- which these days features Charlie, along with Doug Chaffin, Sam St. Clair, Vanessa Coffman and Randy Hamilton -- ranges from folk classics of John Prine and Bob Dylan to the blues of Mississippi John Hurt to swing and jazz tunes of the 1930s and '40s and beyond.

"Throw in some Dixieland jazz, some Irish fiddle tunes, a great sense of humor, some pure mountain melodies from the likes of such state treasured songwriters as Hazel Dickens and yes by God … you got the 1937 Flood," added Lavender.

Telling the Stories of Flood Then and Flood Now…

So, The 1937 Flood Watch newsletter — in concert with The Flood’s expansive website (1937flood.com) — is devoted to the band’s latest activities (podcasts, shows, videos, albums, etc.), but also to preserving and sharing its five decades of Floodishness.

Check out The Timeline

If you’d like an overview of the half century history of the band, check our “Timeline” feature:

If You’re New to the Newsletter …

You’re as welcome as you can be. We’re hoping this thing has a long life as a kind of sharing / gathering place for Flood folk. Have fun with it! Browse and search the archives, read some of the earlier posts. Take in some audio and video clips, and then, hey, give us your own thoughts in comments and replies. Look for email alerts about new entries each week, and feel free to share with your friends any of the articles we post here. Here are some tips on how to read, write and share Flood Watch stuff.


When you come in our front door, you are greeted with the latest article at the top of the screen. Click that title or graphic to see the entire article, or scroll the screen for links to other recent articles. Below the top piece is this menu bar that controls that list of additional articles.

  • New, the default setting, lists articles chronologically, newest to oldest.

  • Top lists the articles starting with those that have received the most reaction (likes, comments, shares, etc.) from other readers.

  • Community presents articles that have attracted comments.

  • What is The 1937 Flood Water? is this help file.

  • The magnifying glass icon lets you search the newsletter’s archive. This is a handy tool with which you can search for specific people or topics (e.g., Joe Dobbs, holiday, podcast, time capsule, etc.). The results of your search are then listed in a scrollable / clickable list.


You are welcome and urged to jump in with thoughts you have about anything you see and hear here. There are two ways you can add your words.

  1. Comments. At the bottom of all articles is a text box like the one below in which you can type or paste a comment. This will create a new “thread.”

  1. Reply. If you want to add something to an existing thread, click the “Reply” option below someone else’s comment, then, when prompted, enter your message.

Other stuff

At the bottom of each article are these icons:

  • The number after the heart icon after the heart icon tells you how “likes” that article has received so far from readers. If you click the heart, it will turn red, meaning you’ve added your own “like” to the bunch.

  • The middle icon refers to comments that have been posted so far about the article. Click it and you can add your own.

  • Click The “Share” icon and you can send the article to someone else. A resulting box will give you options to send the piece via email, Facebook or Twitter and/or simply copy the link to paste elsewhere.

Finally, at the top of your screen is this display that has a useful down-arrow on the right-hand side:

Click that down-arrow to pull up this menu:

from which you can click these options:

  • About, to learn about the newsletter (the file you’re reading right now).

  • Archive, to see a list of the articles in the newsletters.

  • Help, to reach Substack’s extensive, searchable help system.

  • My Account, to control your account on Substack.

Subscribe to The 1937 Flood Watch

Newsletter for The 1937 Flood, West Virginia's most eclectic string band.


Born in West Virginia and reared in Kentucky before returning to his homeland in 1971 with his wife Pamela, Charlie is a journalist and freelance writer who ounded The 1937 Flood in the early 1970s with David Peyton.