Monday, January 30, 2006

Old time roots

The north Georgia hills were mighty fertile grounds for old time musicians in the 1920's. Fiddlin' John Carson, Gid Tanner and his Skillet Licker's, A.A. Gray, Seven Foot Dilly (John Dilleshaw) and his Dill Pickles...
That's the Dill Pickles pictured here. You can see why Dilleshaw was known as Seven Foot Dilly, why he's left-handed!

John Dilleshaw, known as Seven Foot Dilly, was no doubt an imposing figure at 6'-7". The combination of bowed bass, tenor banjo, and powerful guitar runs made the Dill Pickles one of the premier strings bands of the 1920's. On March 20, 1930 John Dilleshaw and A.A. Gray met in Atlanta to record several sides for the Okeh label.

Ahaz Augustus (A.A.) Gray was born in 1881 in Carroll County, Georgia. His older brother taught him to play the fiddle when he was seven years old. Like most of the other rural musicians of his day, A.A. Gray was a farmer by day and a fiddler on weekend evenings. Saturday nights usually found the Gray family hosting a musical "get-together" in their home. His wife sang and played the guitar, as did their son Earl and their daughter, Gladys, who also played the organ. A.A. Gray was often a contestant, and frequently a winner, at fiddle contests throughout Georgia and Alabama.

A.A. Gray & Seven Foot Dilly - Streak Of Lean Streak Of Fat

Aside from the assumption that the Aiken County String Band hailed from South Carolina, nothing is known about them. This lone recording was made on September 19, 1927 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Aiken County String Band - High Sheriff


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