Darley Fulks

FRC716 – Darley Fulks – Kentucky Wild Horse

by Jeff Todd Titon

Darley Fulks (1895-1990) was from Campton, in Wolfe County. He told John Harrod he was glad to have been alive when he was, early on, to learn the old tunes; he thought he was probably the last to know some of them. He felt most of the tunes he learned came to Kentucky from Virginia, but the bluesy tunes came from the lower South. Fulks’s grandfather and uncle played the fiddle. He may have learned to read music in Texas or Michigan, where he traveled for work. He learned to play schottisches after a request for one at a Michigan dance; the story may be heard on Rounder 0377. Listening to Darley Fulks’s stories and tunes opens a window on a field larger than dance breakdown fiddling:, the world of the fiddler as consummate old-time entertainer, playing anything anyone requested, whether in shows, at carnivals, on riverboats, at festivals, in restaurants, for weddings, at dances, or at parties. Even in his eighties, his light touch and delicately nuanced notes gave his music an unusual sound that deserves repeated listening. His sense of time was unusual also, as he held certain notes longer than one would expect, perhaps for emphasis, and occasionally added extra notes. Rounder 0377 contains five of his tune settings and informative brochure notes by John Harrod, who recorded him extensively.

Jeff Todd Titon, Old-Time Kentucky Fiddle Tunes, The University Press of Kentucky, 2001, p. 206.

Thanks to Jeff Titon for granting permission to quote this text.

See also: Darley Fulks: Kentucky Wild Horse – Tune Notes by John Harrod