Teodar Jackson (1903-1966) was an old-time fiddler with deep roots in Texas. He was born in Gonzales County, where his family had farmed since his grandfather emigrated from Mississippi sometime after 1850. African-Americans numbered roughly a third of the county’s population in the 1880s. Communities like Wesley Chapel, Monthalia and Canoe Creek were small rural sanctuaries where many musicians came of age to the sound of old-time fiddling at dances and country suppers. By the 1940s the family had moved north to the Austin area, settling in the St. John’s community, where Mr. Jackson remained a fiddler known to all as ‘T-olee’ and to family as ‘Papa-T’. Familiar square-dance tunes, blues, and rags made up a large part of his repertoire, but in addition he played a number of set-pieces that hint at something perhaps older, otherwise lost to our ears, until his playing was recorded by Tary Owens in Austin, in 1965. – Dan Foster
Additional Notes: Teodar Jackson – Texas Fiddler by Dan Foster
Tary Owens recorded all but a couple of the tracks on the Teodar Jackson album (FRC728). Click here to read to some fascinating newspaper articles about Mr. Owens, who himself was a Texas blues musician, chronicler of Texas roots music, and friend to blues artists such as Janis Joplin and Mance Lipscomb.