Rector Hicks was born in 1914 in Calhoun County, West Virginia, a region rich in fiddling traditions that included among its top practitioners Rector’s older cousin Laury Hicks and the legendary Ed Haley. Rector learned from both of these men, but went on to develop a style distinctively his own, at once sturdy and ornate, authoritative and graceful. Rector came to Akron, Ohio in the early 1940s to work for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. He lived in Akron until his death in 1989. These recordings, most made in Rector’s home in Akron during the 1970s and early ‘80s, in which he is accompanied variously by Roy Combs, Gary Hawk, Joe LaRose, and Rector’s wife, Bonnie, include his unique versions of familiar tunes, rarely-heard hymns, waltzes, and marches, some Ed Haley pieces, and two fine self-composed tunes. – Joe LaRose
Additional Notes: Rector Hicks
FRC709 – Rector Hicks – Sugar in the Morning
- White Mountain Rag [Rector Hicks] (1:55) Recorded on Rector’s porch in Akron—hence the
occasional sounds of traffic. Rector played this tune whenever Joe and Kerry visited.
- Cumberland Gap (1:37)
- Sugar in the Morning (1:47) Learned from Ed Haley. Recorded at the Mountain Rose
Coffeehouse series in Kent, Ohio.
- Gathering Flowers for the Master’s Bouquet (1:02) Composed by Marvin Baumgardner in 1947;
recorded by the Stanley Brothers in 1958.
- Policeman [key of D] (1:16) Inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Birdie [key of C] (1:13) A very popular tune in WV, KY and elsewhere, traditional.
- Breaking Up Christmas (1:37) Inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Arkansas Traveler (1:30)
- There’s More Pretty Girls Than One (0:47) We haven’t found a composer credit. The earliest released recording of this song was by Leonard Rutherford and John Foster in 1929. It had been recorded (but not issued) by Jesse James & J.D. (John) Foster in 1927, but it was a huge hit on the radio broadcasts of Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith in the 1930s, and recorded by the Arthur Smith Trio in 1936.
- Sally Goodin [key of G] (2:38)
- Fortune (0:59) Inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Leather Breeches (1:37)
- While the Ages Roll On (1:49) This was popularized by Ralph Stanley]
- Yellow Barber (1:24) Possibly learned from Roy Combs who listened to the Buddy Thomas
“Kitty Puss” LP on Rounder Records.
- Sally Ann (2:11) Probably inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Black Sheep (0:55) Kerry thinks Rector said he learned this from Ed Haley. Rector also played “When the Work’s All Done This Fall.” The tunes seem virtually identical, but where “When the Work’s…” goes to the IV note/chord, the “Black Sheep” melody goes to V (on a I chord), and Rector consistently used more subtle differences, too.
- Looking for the City (2:25)
- Martha Campbell (1:37) Inspired by/learned from Buddy Thomas LP.
- Pretty Rainbow (1:10)
- Turkeyfoot Rag[Rector Hicks] [solo] (0:59)
- Cotton Eyed Joe (1:19)
- Liberty (1:39) The Bob Wills tune in D that he called “Liberty” was recorded (and probably performed in personal appearances and on the radio) on July 14, 1942, though it was not released on a 78 rpm disc until 1947, on Columbia 37926 (backed with “The Kind of Love I Can’t Forget.”
- Goin’ Home (1:36)
- John Brown’s Dream (2:11) Inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Ragpicker Bill (1:21) Learned from Ed Haley.
- Policeman [key of A] (0:41) Inspired by/learned from Tommy Jarrell LP.
- Stackolee (1:43) Learned from Ed Haley.
- Old Joe Clark (1:57)
- Flop Eared Mule (1:08)
- Cackling Hen (1:12)
- Forky Deer (1:50) A nice central West Virginia setting of this venerable tune. Check out similar settings by French Carpenter and Wilson Douglas. The earliest publication of notated melody seems to be from George Knauff’s 1839 folio “Virginia Reels,” of tunes played at that time in East Virginia.
- Nobody’s Darling (0:31)
- Sally Goodin [key of A] (2:29)
- West Fork Gals (0:35)
- Turkey in the Straw (1:19)
- Birdie [key of G] (1:59)
- Cripple Creek (1:43)
- Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (1:15)
- June Apple (2:59)
- I Don’t Love Nobody (1:23)
- While the Ages Roll On [with Bonnie Hicks] (1:08)
- Turkeyfoot Rag [Rector Hicks] (2:09)