Category Archives: General

Eck Robertson, Texas Fiddler, and “Sallie Gooden”

“He had a leather strap around his neck attached to the end pin of the instrument. He spoke of fiddling and occasionally, would raise the instrument to playing position and run his bow across the strings to make a point. His frailty vanished as soon as he laid that bow to the strings: there was the Eck I knew from his recordings! ” Continue reading

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The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover: Little Annie

What got me excited was Don’s “tag” or ending of his banjo break. It’s four beats of pure delight, sort of going off sideways like a plot twist in an Alfred Hitchcock film! Continue reading

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Earl Johnson, a Wild Georgia Fiddler

Earl was a Georgia, short-bow fiddler with a brisk attack, highlighted by upward slides in the melody that pushed his tunes forward impressively. Mississippi Sawyer (a descriptive term for a river snag, long-used by steamboat pilots) was very popular in … Continue reading

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The Origins of Bluegrass Music

I think Bill Monroe might have hired Stringbean more as a comedian to break the ice than for his banjo picking. Either that or because he was a good shortstop! Many early bluegrass bands had at least one member who did the rube comic act . . . a relic from minstrel and medicine show times. Continue reading

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The Fiddling Seventies – Southern California

There was not as much concern about drawing a tine between bluegrass and country and old timey fiddling. In addition to traditional tunes Bobby Fenton would play Bob Wills and country songs. Speedy Smith and Harold Hensley would play really fast bluegrass barnburner style. Bob Rogers would play Kenny Baker tunes. Roscoe White would play everything from swing to Howdy Forrester tunes. IT FELT LIKE FREEDOM. IT WAS NEVER BORING. There were soooo many good fiddlers in one place and at that time I thought that was normal, but now I know it was very rare. Continue reading

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