78 Transfer Progress Report
They don’t require nearly as much digital manipulation as they did with my LP stylus.
Awhile back Laurel wrote to ask if I had a copy of Bill Monroe’s ”The Old Fiddler”. Now I thought I had a good collection of Bill Monroe, but I wasn’t familiar with that song. I contacted a few friends and not one had a copy. I did an online search and found little information. I finally found some good information in Tom Ewing's "The Bill Monroe Reader" (2000, University of Illinois Press). According to Ewing, the song was written and first released by Hugh Ashley. Monroe had just left Columbia and signed with Decca. His first Decca release ("New Mule Skinner Blues" / "My Little Georgia Rose") was a flop. Looking for a more pop-styled hit, Paul Cohen of Decca convinced Monroe to record Ashley's "The Old Fiddler" the following month (April 8, 1950), with Hank Williams' "Alabama Waltz" on the B side. This record was an instant flop also. Monroe thought he could write a better tune about an old fiddler. Monroe went home and wrote a song about his uncle, Pendleton Vandiver, who was a well known (and by then, old) fiddler. The following month Monroe recorded "Uncle Pen", and Decca finally had the hit they were looking for.
Here are a few of the gems in the first batch of 78s from Walt’s cousin in the mountains, including Bill Monroe’s ”The Old Fiddler”.