Monday, September 17, 2007

Old Time Fiddle

If the settlement of North America by Europeans had a soundtrack it would be a fiddle tune. Of all the instruments that come to mind when thinking about American music, the fiddle has held the lead position far longer than any other. The fiddle accompanied the first Europeans that landed on these shores. It provided entertainment at the first settlements and traveled west as the country expanded. I’d venture to say that no other instrument has had the long lasting affect on American music as that of the fiddle.

Many of the early fiddle tunes have been lost to time since most rural tunes were passed on by ear and recording wasn’t developed until the closing years of the 1800s. Fortunately for us, many fine fiddle tunes remained in circulation into the 1920s, long enough to have been recorded once the record companies realized there was a market for such rural music.

Roll back the rug and grab your partner.

Fiddlin' John Carson & His Virginia Reelers - Goin' Down To Cripple Creek.mp3

Oscar Ford & Dewey Grace - Kiss Me Cindy.mp3

Gid Tanner & His Skillet Lickers - Cotton Baggin'.mp3


Blogger kjk said...

ed, sliding up the contemporary scale just a bit, i've been recently introduced to the fiddling of John Ashby (thrived in the 30s - 40s but played and recorded into the 70s)...

old time herald
my space
field recorders' collective

I've ordered the disc from FSC, but it's still in the mail.

Do you have any more history on this fine fiddler?

September 17, 2007 10:59 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

FRC, that is ...

September 17, 2007 11:10 PM  
Blogger Gustavo said...

Great Post!!.

Thanks a lot!


September 18, 2007 1:21 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

What I can't figure out is how you keep all of these artistes filed. There are so many of them. Are they all famous ?

This is a whole new introduction to music and I've been a part of it since the monochord. But I see I'm sitting way at the back of the bus Ed.

Love the fiddle. A great voice instrument. And looked into the hardly blue grass festival coming up in San Fran, it looks wonderful and very far away.

But, the view is still good even from the back of the bus.

all thoughts fly... k.

September 18, 2007 3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any seat on this old blue bus is a good one. Unfortunately, I skitch along hanging onto the back bumper most of the time.

I agree with Ed, the fiddle led American music. Mainly, I think, because it has so many voices. It can be happy or sad, bold or demure, proud or struggling, just like the people who pioneered our country. Where would we be without it?

September 18, 2007 4:31 PM  
Blogger kjk said...

i'd be happy to be huffing and puffing away three miles behind on a tricycle ... using a good pair of binoculars, of course ...

September 18, 2007 7:20 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I have heard little John Ashby besides the FRC recordings. I don't know how I missed the article in OTH, thanks for the pointer.

The Field Recorders Collective is one of my favorite places to buy recordings. I have been meaning to add a link from the Bus for some time now, thanks for the prompt.

This old Bus, like it's driver, doesn't go anywhere very fast these days. We'll wait up for you and that tricycle at the next stop.

September 18, 2007 9:04 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Black Dog,
Having raised three children, I gave up on trying to keep things organised long ago.

I agree with you and our anonymous friend, the fiddle has such an expressive voice. That adaptability is partly responsible for its dominance in early American music.

September 18, 2007 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Dan said...

Beautiful fiddlehead, Ed. Almost looks good enough to eat.

September 20, 2007 6:04 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

That fiddlehead has always reminded me of a cinnamon roll. It's my daughter's fiddle. It's nothing fancy, but it sure sounds pretty.

September 20, 2007 9:11 PM  

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