Category Archives: Fiddle

Jimmy Wheeler

Jimmy Wheeler (FRC401)

by Henna R. Armstrong, Getzville NY – 18 Dec. 2007

I was tickled to read on the web page about the trip down to Portsmouth to get Jimmy on tape.  You see, Jimmy Wheeler was my father’s first cousin.  Jimmy’s mother, “Aunt Em,” was a sister to my grandmother, Nell Odell.  I was raised in Portsmouth but we rarely visited the Wheelers, and I don’t remember Jimmy and his sisters at all.  My dad told me about going there one time after I Continue reading

First Recording Session with Jimmy Wheeler

Jimmy Wheeler (FRC401)

by Jeff Goehring

Oct. 5, 1982 – First recording session with Jimmy Wheeler in Portsmouth, Ohio

Arrived approx. 2 p.m. unexpectedly.

Found Jimmy and two of three sisters sitting under awning between house and shop/garage, smoking cigarettes and drinking Old Milwaukee in red and white cans, a welcoming wave.  Jimmy didn’t remember my name though I’m positive he remembered me.  His sisters Dottie and Merle were friendly.  Dot remembered me, Merle didn’t. Continue reading

Fred Cockerham

Fred Cockerham (FRC101)

by Ray Alden

Fred Cockerham, one of the seven children of Elias and Betty Jane Cockerham, was born on November 3, 1905.  He was the only one from the Round Peak community to attempt the difficult life of a professional rural musician.  The way that Fred began playing the fiddle is similar to the way many country musicians began.  Basically, this story can be heard on Continue reading

Review of the Sidna & Fulton Myers CD (FRC504)

Sidna & Fulton Myers (FRC504)

by Kerry Blech, Old Time Herald Magazine

Fiddler James Fulton “Jimmy Natural” Myers was born about 1895 and died in 1979.  According to Blanton Owen, who recorded him in the mid-1970s, he was born near Woodlawn, Virginia, between Galax and Hillsville.  He farmed, worked for the WPA during the Great Depression, and was a mason’s helper.  He learned to play from his father, who played banjo, and from “Old Man” Continue reading

Soldier’s Joy According to Fulton Myers

Sidna & Fulton Myers (FRC504)

by Jody Stecher (Fiddler Magazine)

This installment of Cross-Tuning Workshop (CROSS-TUNING WORKSHOP Part Thirty-Two: ADAE) pairs a well-known fiddle tune with a little-known but fascinating fiddler.  “Soldier’s Joy” is a contender for the world’s most played fiddle tune.  If you wonder why, you’ve heard only the bad versions.  This is a great tune for dancing, always fun to play (on any instrument), and it carries a huge amount of energy which it will release to Continue reading

Review of the Santford Kelly CD

Santford Kelly (FRC503)

by Kerry Blech, Old Time Herald Magazine

I want to be perfectly clear about my feelings about this series, The Field Recorders’ Collective (FRC).  I have bought into the concept totally, from the very moment that Ray Alden told me about his plans several years ago.  There are many recording projects that are worthy and fruitful, but this one is very special, to me at least.  I’ve known Ray for over 30 years.  He’s always Continue reading

Lonnie Seymour

Lonnie Seymour (FRC403) and bonus tracks on Cecil Plum (FRC404)

by Betty Seymour, April 2006

Lonnie was born June 15, 1922.  Lonnie’s grandpa, John Seymour, played the fiddle, so when Lonnie was about five years old, grandpa would put him on the bed with his fiddle and let him play it.  Lonnie watched how Grandpa worked his fingers and bow, that is how he learned to play the fiddle.  He came from a family that loved the fiddle, including his dad, Webster, and Continue reading

Buddy Thomas’ Autobiography

Buddy Thomas (FRC303)

by Mark Wilson

Biography and photos from Rounder CD0032, “Kitty Puss,” produced by Guthrie T. Meade and Mark Wilson.
Used by permission. To order Rounder CD0032, visit www.rounder.com.

We growed up real poor, so poor that even the poor folks said we were poor.  There were ten in our family and we had to raise most everything we ate and work in logwoods and stuff like that.  My dad worked all the time, but he was sick and had to doctor so much, that I don’t see how he could have made it if it hadn’t been for us.  He was a big strong man until he got sick and he Continue reading

Clyde Davenport

Clyde Davenport, Vol. 1 (FRC103),  Clyde Davenport, Vol. 2 (FRC104),
Clyde Davenport DVD (FRC1004)

by Jeff Titon

Kentuckian Clyde Davenport is a master old-time fiddler and banjo player. His large repertory of traditional tunes, many of them rare, makes him an important source musician. At 85, he still plays wonderfully well. For almost twenty years old-time fiddlers and banjo players have made pilgrimages to his home in Monticello, Kentucky, to share in his music. Clyde is amused and Continue reading

Manco Sneed

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Dakota Brewer, the daughter of Manco, for the occasion of the John H. and Sarah Lovin descendants’ reunion on February 17, 2007 at Tsali Manor, Cherokee, NC.

Manco Sneed was born in Graham County Feb.18-1885, the son of John Harrison and Sarah Lovin Sneed, but later moved to Cherokee and lived in the “Sneed Gap” section all of his life where he and my mother Rosebud Beck Sneed raised their family of seven children. He died at age 89. Continue reading

Manco Sneed and the Indians

Byard Ray, Manco Sneed & Mike Rogers (FRC505)

by Blanton Owen

This paper, slightly revised, was originally presented as part of a panel at the American Folklore Society meeting in Los Angeles on 26 October 1979.

It is tempting to take the easy route when studying a region’s folk life by dealing with “items” as if they exist and have existed without much tampering with by human beings. It is easy simply Continue reading

Corbett Stamper

Interviewed 29th September 1982 by Frank Weston

FRC306

I was born James Corbett Stamper in Grayson County, Virginia, in the 9th district 13th December in 1910. My father was Matt Stamper, he played fiddle and picked banjo just about all his life. And my uncle, his eldest brother played fiddle. My father’s father also named Matt he’s buried down here in this cemetery was a fife player in the civil war and he also played organ and piano. Continue reading

Simon St. Pierre

Simon St. Pierre (FRC206)

by Joe Wilson

Simon St. Pierre is a fascinating and elusive figure in Maine fiddling, more heard about than actually heard, a north woods lumberjack skilled in an array of music learned in logging bunkhouses. He came to the French festival in the company of Fred Pike, a stunning guitarist from Maine, and a force of nature almost as elusive as his fiddling partner. They made a huge Continue reading

The Kimble & Wagoner Families

The Kimble and Wagoner Families (FRC106)

by Ray Alden

Many years ago, while at a conference on Old Time Music at Brown University, I heard Alan Jabbour describe the music deriving not from a single pure source but behaving more like river in which many currents mingle and churn together to produce a song or a tune. So too, when I look at the Kimble family tree, I see a meandering stream of personalities and musical abilities flowing into the blood of Taylor Kimble and his children. Continue reading

Dennis McGee and Sady Courville

Dennis McGee and Sady Courville (FRC308)

by Jack Bond, Jean Stewart, Barry Ancelet &Tracy Schwarz

The tunes on this CD from the Field Recorders Collective were recorded in 1972 for release of an LP on Morning Star Records (LP #16001). That LP was released in 1972. Only twelve of the twenty-eight tunes played for the recording session were released on that album. The additional tunes, which have never before been released, are also included on this Field Recorders Collective CD. Continue reading

Dewey Balfa

Dewey Balfa (FRC207) and Balfa Brothers & Nathan Abshire (FRC111)

Dewey Balfa was born in Mamou, Louisiana on March 20, 1927. Balfa was one of nine children in a family of sharecroppers such; when not picking cotton, he learned to play the fiddle from his father, and taking early inspiration from the music of Leo Soileau, Harry Choates and Bob Wills. Playing fiddle and singing with the Balfa Brothers (which included Dewey, Rodney, Continue reading

Ashby Family History

John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Ms. Nancy M. Sessions

Here is my personal Family History, and memories that have been told to me, by my Mother, Mrs. Agnes Adelia Ashby Sessions, as well as her Sister, my Aunt, Mrs. Marie Elizabeth Scott Ashby Small, as well! I have a good, and a long memory! I am only very happy that it serves a wonderful purpose; to give out history about my Dear Uncle John C. Ashby! Continue reading

The Ashby Family and Friends of Fauquier County Virginia

John Ashby John Ashby and the Free State Ramblers (FRC108)

By Sandy Hofferth (original article appeared in the Old Time Herald)

Skip Ashby, a winner at the 2005 Appalachian String Band Music Festival at Clifftop, WV, is the latest in a long line of fiddlers going back several generations and a link in a chain of musicians in the Warrenton area of Fauquier County, VA, that goes back a century and a half. The Free State Ramblers, one of the longest running bands ever, started in the 1930s and are still active Continue reading